Becky Miller has only belonged to St. Patrick Parish for a year or so, but already she's left what promises to be a lasting impact on the Victor parish.
Miller, 19, recently designed the parish's new logo, which incorporates three of St. Patrick's core values in a design featuring a type of Celtic knot called a triquetra. Miller designed the logo several months ago after St. Patrick's Stewardship Committee put out a call asking all artistically inclined parishioners to come up with potential logos for the parish. Six parishioners responded to the call and entered a handful of designs into the contest, and when the contest ended, the members of the Stewardship Committee chose one of the two designs Miller had entered.
Miller said it was the encouragement of her family that prompted her to enter the contest after they heard it announced from the pulpit one weekend in church.
"My dad looked at me and said, 'That's something you could do, and you could do really well at it,'" she recalled.
Convincing the teen to enter the contest was an easy task because Miller has been passionate about art since she was a young child, she said. She loved drawing, but as she got older she began to wonder if she would be able to turn her passion into a financially successful career. She explored various careers in the art world before turning her attention to graphic design.
"It spoke to me in a way. It really clicked, so I pursued it," said Miller, who currently is a sophomore studying digital media arts at Canisius College.
Miller said she was excited when she learned about St. Patrick's logo design contest because it provided her with an opportunity to combine her passion for graphic design with her passion for her Catholic faith. A lifelong Catholic, Miller grew up in a family that never missed Mass on Sundays or holy days, and she has continued to prioritize her faith even when she's away at school.
"That's why I ended up choosing a Catholic college, because I don't want to fall out of touch with my faith," Miller said. "It's always been a part of my life, so I would hate to abandon it. It's just continued to grow stronger and stronger."
Miller's family had been attending a different parish in the area up until about a year ago, when they began looking for a church that could better accommodate the family's unique needs. One of Miller's three sisters is autistic, and certain types of music and church environments are more conducive to allowing the entire family to worship together, Miller explained. The Millers visited several churches before visiting St. Patrick one weekend.
"We moved here and it felt like home," Miller said. "There's a sense of unity at St. Patrick that I haven't really felt in any parish that I've gone to. I walked in and it was amazing, because everyone greeted you with a handshake and a smile, and some even told you their names. It felt like a community of people that loved each other while united in their faith."
Miller drew on that sense of unity when she designed her logo for St. Patrick. One of the two shapes featured in her logo is a circle, which is a symbol of unity because it never ends, she explained. The other shape is the triquetra, which was her father's suggestion and is made up of three interlocking arcs.
"That became the basis of the logo," she said. "It's a sign of the Holy Spirit and there are three parts to it. There are also three parts of the parish mission. It just made sense to incorporate the theme of three in the logo. Different parts of the logo all represent something."
St. Patrick Parish's mission is "To love God with all that we are, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to learn and teach how to keep Jesus' commandments." The parish also has identified three key values, and Miller incorporated these values into the logo she designed as well. One of the triquetra's three sections contains the letter W, which stands for the value the parish places on being welcoming. Another section contains an A, which stands for authentic faith, and the third section features an E, which stands for the parish's focus on engaging others to build a community of faith.
Miller entered this logo as well as another entry she designed, but didn't really expect to win. She was sitting in a computer class at school when she opened an e-mail from her pastor, Father Edison Tayag, and learned her design had been chosen as St. Patrick's new logo.
"I was shocked but happy," Miller said, noting that she immediately shared the news with her mother via text message. "I remember sitting in class, and I turned to my friend next to me and said, 'Do you think God is telling me I'm going to be successful in this career?' It was mind-blowing, truly."