Young adult couples balance the demands of marriage and working in church ministry

Breanna and Patrick Farmer also feel blessed with a strong faith life and commitment to their Catholic roots. The newlyweds married last June at Sacred Heart Parish in Red Bluff, but acknowledge that their faith deepened and came alive when they started dating.

“It made my faith grow stronger because I had someone who wanted to go to church and pray together,” Breanna says, indicating “there wasn’t even a second thought about getting married at Sacred Heart.”

Breanna, 25, works at the parish full time as an office assistant, and both Breanna and Patrick grew up in Red Bluff, graduating from Sacred Heart School and Mercy High School. They never dated as teens, but when they reconnected at California State University, Chico, two years ago, their story began. He was about to graduate and she was a junior.

“I have a degree in health education,” Breanna explains, “but I love working for the church and I didn’t want to stop.” She talks about the parish like “home,” and her discernment helped her to see how much she enjoys feeling connected to the people. “I truly love it, knowing that I’m helping the parish.”

Patrick sees Breanna’s love for her work and supports her fully. “When you work for the church, you don’t worry about what you’re getting paid or the hours,” he offers, content that the rewards have far outweighed the challenges.

Breanna also heads the liturgy committee, handles scheduling of liturgical ministers, helps with donations and sings in the choir with her mom.

The couple credits their parents for being strong role models. “Our parents have really helped us,” Breanna says, remembering how her mother persisted in getting her to Mass on Sundays when she was a teenager, even when she might have preferred to sleep in. Patrick’s mom works in Catholic education.

“But you, yourself, have to want it,” Breanna emphasizes, hinting at a “calling” or whisper from the Holy Spirit. While away at Chico, experiencing a low point, she felt compelled to go to church. “It was a turning point,” she says, sharing how she left feeling great and had never felt that way before.

Patrick works as a project manager for a Chico-based construction company and remembers a lull in his faith life during college. “I didn’t go to church much and I wasn’t thinking about faith,” he admits. 

“When Bre and I started dating, I knew I wanted to be more involved,” Patrick says, fully aware of the importance of his faith. “That was the number one thing that made the difference for me – marrying Bre.”

“It makes a huge difference in a relationship when your partner shares your values and beliefs,” Breanna adds. “I didn’t realize this before, but when we were dating,” she pauses and continues, “It’s amazing.”

Catholic Herald Issue