Ana Juarez, parishioner of St. Christopher, Moreno Valley, has restored statues of St. Christopher and Our Lady of Fatima at the parish. She plans to restore two more statues, St. Joseph and St. Francis of Assisi.
What do you do if your parish has some statues that definitely look like they have seen better days? Well, if you’re St. Christopher parishioner Ana Juarez, you roll up your sleeves, get out your paintbrushes and get to work.
Juarez worked on the statues at the Moreno Valley parish over a period of several weeks, fixing the parts that had chipped with plaster and then painting them with beautiful colors. While she said she enjoys being creative as a hobby (doing things like painting, drawing, knitting and crocheting), she had no formal training in this kind of repair work. However, she felt called to take on the project to give back to God and to her parish.
“I felt like the little drummer boy; I don’t have money that I can offer, but I can give myself and my hands to tell God, thank you for everything you have done for us,” said Juarez, who also volunteers at the parish library, teaches second-year catechism and participates in the group Acción Católica.
Despite some recent difficulties in her family over the past few years, including serious sickness to herself and her daughter-in-law, the loss of her mother to COVID, her husband (who is currently in diaconate formation) losing his job and even a period of homelessness before friends took them in, Juarez remains faithful to God and grateful for her blessings. “I just want to make sure that I please God. That’s my main thing,” she said.
“Although I have nothing financial or a house, God has blessed me a lot and I don’t stop praising him. My husband and I have understood that God’s timing is perfect and when He decides He will get us a house,” she said.
Juarez emphasizes that she would like praise to go to God rather than to herself. “All of this is not about me, but it’s for the glory of God. God guides my hands. He’s the one who chooses us. We don’t choose Him, He chooses us,” she said.
She encourages everyone to take a look at what they can do to serve, according to their gifts. “If you know how to do a garden, do a beautiful garden for God. If it’s sweeping, then sweep. These things don’t take too long to help, maybe an hour. Do something for the Church ... do those things to please God, he’s the only one that matters,” she said.
“Our Church needs a lot of help. In our group, Acción Católica, they encourage, if you know how to pray, then just pray for somebody else. If that’s the only thing you know how to do. There’s a lot of different ways that people can help others,” she said.
Once Juarez is completed with the project, she will have restored statues of St. Christopher, Our Lady of Fatima, St. Joseph and St. Francis of Assisi.