Living the Faith: Huey & Denise Helmstetter


Huey Helmstetter, 55

Denise Helmstetter, 52


‰ Who are they? Married since 2005, the couple “shares the love” as usher coordinators and as members of the finance committee at St. Augustine Church in New Orleans. Both grew up Catholic in New Orleans with families who had close ties to religious. They have two children and grandchildren. “We are so grateful and honored to assist Father (Quentin) Moody. We tell him, ‘We have your back.’”

‰ What they love about St. Augustine: “As soon as I stepped foot in that church, I could feel the spirit moving right away,” Denise Helmstetter said about her first encounter in 1999. Both recognize the unity of the races who worship there and appreciate worshipping with visitors from around the world. Denise said a nudge from a parishioner got her involved. “I didn’t want to sit idle. I wanted to be faithful, learn and help people, just as people had helped me. I wanted to share my experiences to give people hope.”

‰ How do they help create a welcoming atmosphere? Ushers are the first greeters,” Huey said. “We try to be open-hearted and kind  and not only help usher people into church but help with their problems, no matter what is going on in our lives.” 

‰ What does their faith mean to them? Huey said there were times when he was directionless and mostly running on self-will. When he tired of that lifestyle, he took action and  reconnected with his spiritual life, trusting that faith would carry him in a new direction. “I could see how – no matter what I was going through – by practicing my faith I was getting clear results and answers and direction. I knew there was something bigger than me. … I was always a taker. Now I try to give more and be the best human being I can be.” Denise said her faith is a gift. “It is by my faith that I am living today. I put all my trust in God and thank him even for my bad experiences (including ill health). Through my faith, I’ve come to understand that they were my best experiences because they brought me to where I am today. Your spiritual life is a learning process the rest of your life. When you think you have it, you don’t. God will show you what it’s all about. God wants you to lean on him, not man. … You know your faith when you not only think it but say it in your heart.” 

   – Christine Bordelon


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