Serving others has always been the focus of my life. Whether it’s taking care of my family, waiting tables as a single mother or volunteering in jail outreach programs, it’s where I have felt right at home.

Angie Parker is Mission and Care Counselor for Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes.

In 2011, I came across the opportunity to serve others in an even more meaningful way. I had reunited with my high school sweetheart after more than three decades and moved to Phoenix to start our life together as husband and wife. With my children grown, I was looking for a way to fill my time.

I happened upon an ad for a position at Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes. As a lifelong Catholic—one of nine children in a devout family—I was intrigued. After all, my experience in life was always serving others. This role offered me the opportunity to do so while living out my faith each day, and I knew in my heart it was where I was meant to be.

Six years later, this has proven to be true—and then some. As a Mission and Care counselor, I travel around Arizona and meet with families and individuals to help them prearrange their final funeral and burial plans. Over the years, I’ve found that each situation is unique. I never know what I’m going to encounter when I walk in someone’s front door.

Sometimes an individual is terminally ill and getting his affairs in order during a profoundly difficult time. On most occasions, though, I’m helping couples of all ages plan ahead for the inevitable. Whatever the case may be, I’ve learned that I need to listen to each one of them with an open heart so I can help them do what’s right for themselves and their families. Before each visit, I pray that Mother Mary will accompany me and that the Holy Spirit will lead the way.

I truly believe that preplanning is one of the most selfless acts of love someone can do for those they will leave behind. I know God put me where I was supposed to be when he led me to Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to serve others in the Lord.