December 4, 2023

Faces of Fraternalism: Michelle Tressel, Marquette 811, Dubuque, Iowa

“Michelle’s time has no boundaries,” said her sister, Sharon Roling, principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt, Iowa. “If there is a request or need, Michelle will spend whatever time it takes to make sure the need is fulfilled. Michelle is not about recognition, but to the St. Jude parishioners (and the Cedar Rapids Catholic community) her example of Christian living is inspirational.”

Michelle is the pastoral associate at St. Jude Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids. When the parish’s pastor died unexpectedly, she led the parish until a new pastor was installed.

“During that time, she made visitation and funeral arrangements for her deceased pastor, guided the parish festival committee in its preparation for the three-day fundraiser, and arranged for visiting priests to celebrate parish Masses, funerals, and liturgies,” said Sharon “It would be easy to say that St. Jude parishioners did not see a major shift in parish life as they grieved and mourned the death of their beloved pastor.”

Michelle welcomes immigrants and helps arrange their Catholics sacraments, education, and housing.

“She welcomes everyone!” said Sharon.

Michelle Tressel, left, is the pastorial associate at St. Jude Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A lifelong member of Catholic Order of Foresters, she is part of Marquette 811 in Dubuque.

The August 2020 derecho that affected the Midwest caused extreme damage in Cedar Rapids, where the estimated peak wind gust of the storm system occurred (140 mph).

“Michelle was at the forefront for her parish, helping in any capacity she could,” said Sharon. “She even arranged for semi-trucks to help with food distribution.”

One of Michelle’s responsibilities as a pastoral associate is to visit the hospitalized and homebound, and when the coronavirus pandemic shut down the country in 2020, Michelle found alternate ways to build and maintain relationships.

Article by Connor McEleney