The Teterycz family has been closely connected with St. Teresa of Avila parish since the 1940’s. Ann and Sylvester, in-laws of Peggy Teterycz, were deeply involved in multiple church and school activities. In the parish they found a strong sense of community that they embraced while raising three children Barbara, Tom and Jim. When Sylvester was buried from St. Teresa’s in 1964, the church community surrounded Ann and her young children as they worked through their grief. Later they would surround Jim in prayer as he fought in Vietnam.
Back at home, years later, Jim shared stories of his war experiences with Peggy and his mother. Jim could remember many times, when leading the platoon, that he ‘felt’ the need to not take another step. Upon inspection landmines were found. Other times, bullets rushed and splashed by Jim in the river as the platoon crossed at the exact hour our parish was in prayer begging protection for their sons.
The Teterycz family
The benevolence of the Catholic community found in St. Teresa’s extended across the world. Jim wrote home to asked if any action could be taken to help the orphans. Ann was supported by this caring parish and was able to organize the Ladies Sodality sending toys, blankets and treats. It shows that the parish may be small, but the hearts of parishioners are generous and giving.
Jim Tetretyz told his children that from his parents and through his Catholic education and participation at St. Teresa’s, he was formed with the values of accountability, integrity, humility, passion, loyalty and leadership that he carried into his adult life as a husband and father, in business, in his personal life and in the community.
I am very grateful to St. Teresa’s for helping form the character of the man I would marry. Jim and I met at St. Teresa’s in 1975 during a Lenten young adult discussion group. The parish has been a catalyst for many new chapters of my life. Our son John Paul was born and baptized in 1979 marking more St. Teresa’s milestones.
Ann Tetertyz died in 1995 and her services were held at the parish. The ability of the parish to offer support to those in mourning is a living example of love and mercy. Jim died in 2012. I’ve found St. Teresa’s to be a Godly blessing in the transition from married life to widowhood. The love, understanding and support of the people have been a comforting to mind and spirit.
As the years passed, many changes have taken place at St. Teresa’s and in the neighborhood. What has not changed in the parish is the sense of authentic Christian compassion. In 1972, young adults of the parish participated and taught in the Garden in the City program to help residents create city gardens and grow their own food. Today, we have Loaves and Fishes dinners inviting the hungry to a lovely weekly meal together. The Food Pantry programs provide groceries and support services to meet ongoing needs. Time has not changed the ministries of compassion.
The clergy serving St. Teresa’s through the years have led by example and the spirit is alive today – Fr. Frank worked digging wells in Haiti. Programs like the Women’s Spirituality group and other events offer opportunities to explore, learn and deepen one’s faith. The parish offers services to support life’s material and spiritual needs.
I feel a sense of living ministry here; acquaintances becoming friends, bonding in faith, with ministries of good works pouring forth. As Jim always said,
“Do your best, carry on!” May the community of St. Teresa of Avila continue to grow in our faith journey.