Prescott community finds healing through service

Sacred Heart parishioners, pictured here raising the walls of a house being built as part of Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity, have found healing through service.
Sacred Heart parishioners, pictured here raising the walls of a house being built as part of Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity, have found healing through service.

Sacred Heart parishioners in Prescott remain steadfast in service to Christ and others as they heal from tragedy and loss.

The community is reeling from a stroke their pastor, Claretian Father Daryl Olds, suffered June 19 and the loss of 19 Prescott-based firefighters 11 days later.

According to Gene Murphy, parish business manager, Fr. Olds is making steady progress.

“We are a people of faith and we believe in miracles,” he said. “Fr. Daryl is on fire for what it means to be a Catholic, and Fr. Darrin has done a phenomenal job picking up the torch.”

Fr. Darrin Merlino, who was previously assigned to the parish, is the temporary administrator.

The torch he now holds keeps the parish focused on prayer and outreach through their continued work with Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity.

It was Fr. Olds who declared a “Year of Faith” challenge to go outside the walls of the church, and be the living Christ in the community.

Part of the response from parishioners was forming a partnership with PAHH to build affordable housing for low-income working individuals.

“It’s a great bridge of our faith, serving God and serving neighbor, and it’s breathing life back into the community,” Murphy said.

Collaboration for the project gained momentum through the efforts of Missie D’Aunoy, former director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship.

D’Aunoy, who died March 3, worked with Habitat for Humanity for nine years as a major gifts officer, chief development officer and chief operations officer.

D’Aunoy was often heard saying how she fell in love with the idea of people working together to achieve home ownership.

One of the homes parishioners are currently involved with will be home to a single mother with four children.

“Through their example, Fr. Daryl and Missie have motivated us to be proactive spiritually and to make a difference,” Murphy said. “The impact they have made with their lives is the footprint for what they’ve done for others.”

D’Aunoy relished knowing the children in a Habitat house would have a safe place to live, and value and appreciate their home and community.

Her work for the diocese fed her passion to empower and help others.

“Missie was a model for serving with joy no matter what the task,” said Carrie Aranda, director of parish engagement in the diocesan Office of Stewardship.

“Her legacy lives on through the many people she inspired to serve through her own enthusiasm.”