A New Vision for Catholic Ministry

In the bustling halls of parish life, amidst the myriad responsibilities and unceasing demands, there exists a profound call to nurture and support the intricate tapestry of human relationships. 

This call reverberates through the Marriage and Family Life office in the Diocese of Lansing, where dedicated individuals labor to cultivate healing, understanding and resilience within the Catholic community.

Richard Budd and Jenny Ingles have become the architects of this vital ministry. Their journey, marked by perseverance and unwavering commitment, offers a beacon of hope in a world often besieged by trials and tribulations.

“Once you start to crack open an egg on one ministry, you realize there’s so much more that’s connected to it,” Richard says. “So you start to help couples with fertility issues and then all of a sudden it’s miscarriage stuff. It’s abortion stuff. It’s pornography stuff, believe it or not.”

The inception of their work, as they recount, stemmed from a deep conviction that the family unit, fortified by faith and fellowship, holds the key to addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting modern society. Through a prism of compassion and empathy, they have embarked on a transformative odyssey, breathing life into initiatives aimed at embracing the joys and sorrows of family life.

And all of it has been built from scratch, with the help of DSA funding.

“My first day I said, ‘OK, what have you got for me?’” Richard remembers. “And they’re like, ‘That’s for you to figure out.’ I had an empty desk and an empty computer and that’s how it all started.”

As he embarked on this daunting journey, the contours of his mission remained nebulous, obscured by the fog of uncertainty and doubt. Yet, fortified by faith and guided by an unwavering commitment to serve, Richard embarked on a voyage of discovery — a voyage that would redefine the landscape of parish ministry.

In those nascent days, the office stood as a testament to hope — a beacon of light amidst the darkness of despair. With each passing day, Richard’s vision took shape, crystallizing into a mosaic of compassion and empathy, woven together by threads of faith and fellowship.

Jenny joined seven years ago.

“I started off as natural family planning coordinator, part-time,” she says. “And then in 2018, I moved full-time into the Fertility and Life Ministries because there was just a lot of work that needed to be done in those areas.”

Through their tireless efforts, Richard and Jenny helped the Marriage and Family Life office emerge as a cornerstone of community life — a sanctuary of solace and healing, where broken hearts find refuge and weary souls find respite. 

The team’s Miscarriage Ministry emerged through recognition of the profound grief and silent anguish experienced by couples grappling with loss. With the support of the DSA, they expanded their ministry in this area, weaving a web of support that spans across regions and generations.

The team’s next initiative, SafeHaven Sunday, quickly unfolded in the months that followed. In a world ensnared by the allure of instant gratification and fleeting pleasures, the Life Ministries team has sought to reclaim the sanctity of family life, offering parents the tools to shield their children from the corrosive influence of pornography. Through education, advocacy and compassionate outreach, they are helping build a future where homes resonate with purity and love.

Now their vision extends beyond the confines of individual households, embracing the entirety of parish life. In their pursuit of excellence, they envisaged a network of first responders, equipped with empathy and understanding, ready to embrace individuals and families in times of crisis. 

Their story, a testament to the enduring power of faith and fellowship, serves as a clarion call to all those who dare to dream of a better tomorrow. In the crucible of adversity, they discovered the transformative potential of love — the love that binds families, sustains communities and transcends the boundaries of time and space.