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John & Patty Woodhouse

John & Patty Woodhouse

Continuing our series of conversations with the St. Stephen family, we talked with John and Patty Woodhouse about their St. Stephen stories and thoughts on the Renew + Restore + Rejoice campaign.

Picture a sunny Spring day in 2001. John and his wife, Patty, had recently returned to Grand Rapids from Royal Oak, Michigan. A new home, and… a new baby! Yet, there was one welcome, familiar site: St. Stephen parish. The youngest of seven children, John and his siblings were all baptized at St. Stephen. To him, returning to St. Stephen in 2001 felt like "coming home."


John and Patty are excited about the opportunity for a more quiet, peaceful sanctuary, especially before mass. Patty shared, “Without a narthex or gathering area, it’s chattier in the sanctuary before mass. While I love the sense of community, I also enjoy quiet time before mass begins.” John also emphasized the need to prepare St. Stephen for a new generation of families, “I notice a lot more families with young kids. We need to keep these families engaged —they are the new era of St. Stephen.”


Patty summed up their excitement neatly: “It’s good to respect the past, and look forward to the future.” John is excited about the new exterior renovations., “Now, the front door will be prominent. You won’t wonder which door to walk in,” he joked.