Cabot native Reagan French felt drawn to contribute to her parish early in her childhood. The lifelong member of St. Jude Church in Jacksonville owed that drive, in part, to the ready example of service that was provided during her formative years.
“Growing up, my grandma, Diane Cullen, was actually the secretary of the church and so I always understood the importance of service,” the 20-year-old said. “I spent a lot of time at the church when I was younger. I saw the things that went on, and I wanted to be a part of it to show my significance in the Church and so I could have an impact.”
French’s list of ministries includes being an altar server from second grade through her freshman year at UA-Pulaski Technical College, where she’s studying nursing. She’s also an usher and helps with various parish events and fundraisers.
One of the most ambitious activities she’s taken on — along with longtime friend Brayden Gielser — is teaching religious education.
“We teach fifth graders, but we’re involved with everybody, junior high all the way to high school with our junior CYM,” she said. “Teaching kids, they ask you questions that you might not even know yourself.”
Another perk of working with youth is it gives her a chance to pass along the importance of service to the next generation and inspire them to get involved in the Church.
“Youth need to see there’s not a certain age you need to get involved,” she said. “There’s this mindset of, ‘Oh, well, that stuff is for older people in the Church.’ But, it’s not; it’s important for the youth to see that you can start being involved as early as second grade. There’s never a way of being involved that isn’t important.”
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