DRACUT — It’s been a year since Mike and Laura Cote died, and St. Francis Parish has continued to honor their memory.
In life, the married couple from Methuen dedicated much of their time to the Dracut church. Mike, a computer programmer, served on several committees. Laura, a registered nurse, joined her husband and a group of volunteers to organize a three-day Advent retreat back in December 2017. Both were deeply involved in the Divine Mercy Cenacle, a group that meets regularly for study and prayer.
Mike, 49, and Laura, 47, were killed by dangerous rip currents off Seabrook Beach on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20, 2018, respectively. Mike was pronounced dead shortly after being pulled from the water by emergency crews that Sunday, while Laura the following morning.
Last weekend, parishioners honored the late couple during the blessing by Bishop Robert. F. Hennessey of a new Parish Information Center, in memory of the Cotes. Rev. Seán Maher, pastor of St. Francis Parish, said parishioners and community members donated money for the materials and the center was built by parishioner Allan Jussaume and designed by his son, Robert. A few of the couple’s relatives visited the church on Aug. 11 to see the center. A plaque on it reads: “In Memory of MICHAEL & LAURA COTE From Friends of Laurel Woods 2018.”
The couple would have celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary this year.
Maher said losing the Cotes devastated St. Francis parishioners.
“Mike and Laura were passionate about bringing people to God, people coming to know God,” Maher said on Monday. “At the parish information center, if we have new parishioners who turn up, they can get information on what activities the parish has and what goes on here.”
The church last month also held a golf tournament fundraiser from which part of the proceeds would benefit St. Francis’ adult faith formation programs, one of the Cotes’ passions.
“Some at St. Francis may not have known them well,” read a description of the event on Facebook. “For those who were blessed enough to know them, words could not adequately describe the goodness they embodied, the kindness that came naturally to both of them, the deep faith in the Lord they shared with others, the ways in which they wanted to evangelize and make the world a better place.”
Maher on Monday shared a quote from Laura that was featured in a church video about the Divine Mercy Cenacle. The video was shown at her and Mike’s funeral Mass.
“Being part of the Divine Mercy Cenacle has opened my heart and my mind to understand and recognize my faults and my sins, and help me to be merciful, patient and compassionate with other people around me, and I feel like God has helped me to become a little more humble and learn about the humility that we need in order to receive His mercy, His love, and help us to grow and someday become a saint,” Laura was quoted as saying.