Pastoral Council

What is a parish pastoral council? Often referred to as just a “parish council”, it is a group of parishioners assembled by a pastor to provide input from members of the parish on how they stand on various issues affecting the parish. It provides help to the pastor in fostering pastoral activities by investigating situations and ideas, reflecting on them, and proposing potential solutions and improvements. A council’s role is advisory to the pastor and does not have a decision-making role.     

Through prayerful discernment, Fr. John recently established the Ascension Parish Pastoral Council made up of twelve parishioners to aid the parish in strengthening and carrying out the parish priorities of Liturgy, Faith Formation, Evangelization, and Outreach.  

The council was installed at the 9:30am Mass on January 16th, and held their first meeting the next day. While the Council is still in the process of getting organized, there are already a number of topics that are making their way to the Council for reflection and discussion. The Council will meet every two months, and minutes of meetings will be published on the parish website. Parishioners are encouraged to contact members of the Council with ideas, concerns, and suggestions and for further insight.  

Members of the newly-formed Parish Pastoral Council are [Seated L to R]:  Claudia Stokes, Florence Heidel, Catherine Key, Cathy McDougall, Marsha Raynor, Joy Turingan [Standing L to R]:  Andy Lee, Tony Taylor, Ron Sturm, Fr. John, Quan Nguyen, Tom Stauffacher, Rob Naberhaus [inset photo]

Introducing the 12 Members of Ascension’s parish pastoral council

Florence Heidel  Born and raised in Hong Kong, Florence was baptized as a teenager, and her spiritual director was one of six priests who translated the Bible into Chinese. She and her late husband Jim have three children and four grandchildren. All of her children graduated from Ascension School where she was a home room mom, member of the Ascension School Board, Confirmation Preparation Assistant and booth captain at the Ascension Fall Festivals. Florence is a sacristan, eucharistic minister, lector, and involved in Family Promise. Professionally Florence has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Computer Science and Math, and she is a scientist at L3Harris where she has spent the majority of her career. She will support the liturgy and faith formation priorities.

Catherine Key Parish Finance Committee Representative  Catherine was born in Chicago and has a BA from Northwestern University and an MA from DePaul University.  She is a Certified Public Accountant and has practiced public accounting in Melbourne since 1986. A member of the parish for 35 years, she has volunteered in junior high youth ministry and religious education, as well as serving currently as a eucharistic minister and in the parish ministry to the sick. Catherine will provide support to parish efforts in faith formation and evangelization.

Andy Lee Chairperson  Originally from Miami, Andy attended UCF (BS) and Carnegie Mellon (PhD) to study electrical engineering. He has been married to his college-sweetheart, Joy, for 38 years, and father to two adult sons and a proud Godfather. Most of his technical career has been as an engineer and scientist locally for L3Harris. He has been a parishioner for 30 years, involved in youth ministry, eucharistic adoration, marriage preparation, Daily Bread, Small Christian Community, and lector. Previously he volunteered leading a Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop, Odyssey of the Mind coach, and was a school volunteer. He is planning to support the liturgy and outreach priorities.

Cathy Rossi McDougall  Cathy was raised in St. Louis, MO and is 1 of 5 children. She is a practicing physician, having an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, master’s from Florida State in immunology, and medical degree from the University of Florida.   She is married 25 years to another physician, Jeff, and proud mom to three daughters who are all in college now, having attended Ascension School and MCC. Cathy is active in Girl Scouts, Odyssey of the mind, and Ascension Gala. She has been an active member of the parish for 25 years, participating in ACT Heals, a Catholic/Christian group bringing Christ healing to healthcare, eucharistic adoration, prayer groups, retreats, overseas mission trips, and is a new sacristan. Cathy plans to support the liturgy and faith formation priorities.

Rob Naberhaus  Rob is a Melbourne-native, having been born at Holmes Regional, and who attended Our Lady of Lourdes School and Melbourne Central Catholic before attending the University of Florida for undergraduate and law school.  He has been married to his wife Michelle for 21 years and has 5 children who all attend(ed) Ascension School.  He is a shareholder with Dean Mead, a business law firm, specializing in wills, trusts and estate law for the last 22 years.  He serves on the ACS school board, and with his wife has been a part of the marriage ministry.  He plans to support the faith formation priority.

Quan Huy Nguyen  Quan immigrated to the US from Vietnam as a refugee.  He received A.S., B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering in New York State and has been employed at Northrop Grumman Corporation for about 20 years. Married to his wife Yen, for 20 years, they have two teenage sons. His family relocated to Melbourne from Long Island, NY in 2017 and they have been parishioners at Ascension for 2 years, where he has been involved in the Vietnamese Ministry and in running the audio/visual screens at the 11:30 mass. Quan’s focus will be to support the evangelization and liturgy priorities.

Marsha Raynor • Vice Chairperson  Marsha was raised in Huntington, Long Island, NY and graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University as a commercial & instructor pilot with a BS in Aeronautical Science, AS in Aeronautical Studies, and AS in Aviation Management.  She has been married to Ken for 34 years, and is blessed with 3 children (one son and two daughters). They have been active members of Ascension parish since moving to Melbourne 30 years ago, and she was an active parent volunteer at Ascension School as a home room mom, Girl Scout Leader, and Bingo Scheduler. She has been an 8th grade Religious Ed teacher, and a regular adorer in our Adoration Chapel.  She is passionate about the Christ Renews His Parish retreat program having served as a Spiritual Director, currently serving on the Continuation Committee, and facilitating portions of the CRHP formation process. Marsha will support the evangelization and faith formation committees.

Tom Stauffacher • Assistant Secretary  Tom has been married to Kathy for 53 years and has two adult children and two grandchildren. He has a BS degree from the University of Montana and an MS from Florida Tech. He is a retired Army Colonel and combat veteran with the 101st Airborne Division, and is presently on the faculty of the College of Business at Florida Tech.  Tom has been an ordained deacon since 2004, with outside the walls ministries including Thrift Shop, Daily Bread, Florida Tech Catholic Campus Ministries.

Claudia Stokes • Ascension Catholic School Principal  A lifelong Catholic, Claudia grew up in Miami and has a BS in Elementary Ed from Barry University, an MS in Elementary Ed from Florida International University, a Certificate in Leadership from the University of Central Florida, and is currently pursuing an Ed. D. at Florida Southern College.  She is married to Deacon Jim Stokes, and they have one son, a graduate of MCC and a current college student. Claudia has been in education since 1990, and a principal in the Diocese of Orlando since 2011.  She was a DRE in Miami for years, and the Director of Lifelong Faith Formation at St John the Evangelist in Viera. She has been a lector, eucharistic minister, and CRHP Team Member, and plans to support the faith formation priority. 

Ron Sturm Originally from Ormond Beach, FL, Ron attended The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. and St. Leo University, where he earned his degree in social work, and then completed his master’s in social work at Washington University in Saint Louis. Married for 15 years to his wife Christine, they have 3 boys who currently attend Ascension School.    Ron is currently the Education Coordinator for Junior Achievement of the Space Coast, offering financial literacy and entrepreneurship-based curriculum to all Schools in Brevard County. He is also the Central Florida Representative for an Indiana-based Independent Craft Brewery, Sun King. He enjoys coaching youth sports and leading the Ascension Cub Scout Pack, and will support the outreach and faith formation priorities.

Tony Taylor  Tony is originally from S. Florida, and moved to Melbourne 10 years ago. He is married to Liz, and they have one daughter.  He is a retired U.S. military officer and pilot, and currently employed within the aviation industry. Tony has been an Ascension parishioner for 8 years and has served the parish in several capacities, including: Christ Renews His Parish (Spiritual Director, Assistant Director, Lay Director); Eucharistic Minister, Daily Bread, Thrift Store, Adoration Chapel, ALPHA and founder/member of the Incarcerated Youth Ministry. Tony enjoys daily reading of the Holy Bible, a multitude of outdoor sports, and sharing the Word with others.  He is planning to support the evangelization and outreach priorities.

Joy Turingan • Secretary  Joy and her husband of 34 years, Ralph, immigrated from the Philippines to the US to pursue their respective graduate degrees in Aquaculture and Marine Biology. They have two adult daughters and two grandsons.  She was a Science teacher at Eau Gallie High School for 13 years, then in 2014, transitioned to work-from-home as a Biology/Environmental Science instructor at Florida Virtual School. She has been an active parishioner since 1996. Currently, she is a lector, a eucharistic minister, minister for the sick and homebound, has served as Spiritual Director for CRHP, a Fully Engaged facilitator, Household Leaders for Couples for Christ, SCC facilitator and an active member of the Philippine ministry. In 2016 her husband began formation for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese, with Joy at his side. She plans on supporting the liturgy and evangelization priorities.