Hello everyone! I need to stop saying “hello everyone”. It’s a repetitive way of starting these things. Next time I’ll say it in Japanese. Just watch.
Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about community today or the lack thereof. I’ve never been one for having a huge social group (read: is a total introvert and hates meeting new people) BUT it is nice to have a few friends. And I do have a few friends. I have three that I see on a somewhat regular basis and no matter how long it’s been we can always pick up where we left off.
However, I have been trying to find some Catholic community in my church because I thought it would be good for me and my family to be able to commiserate with some local people. Unfortunately, this part of NJ seems to be a little lacking in the homeschooling, Latin mass attending, liturgical year observing families of many children. It’s a shame really. So most of the masses I have been to and many of the parishes seem to be filled with an older crowd. Our church, as much as we love it, doesn’t have a lot of ministries available so although I would like to be more involved its been hard to figure out what would be a good fit.
Also, I wanted some Catholic lady friends. Women who would come to my house or invite me to theirs and we could sit around and say the rosary while our babies played together.
I’ve been praying and asking and stamping my foot and planning a move to Texas to be with my Edel friends but I really should have known better. I feel like sometimes God is standing on the sidelines, waiting for us to put ourselves into the proper position to receive what he wants to give. And that’s exactly what happened.
For the feast of the Assumption of Mary our church threw a little ice cream social to celebrate after the last mass of the day. My husband, who would normally be very leery of taking the kids out so close to their bedtime, was adamant that we should attend so away we went. And it was a lot of fun!
I met a lovely woman and her family. She was around my age, (check) she had children, (check) she went to church regularly (check), she’s a stay at home mom (check), and she was considering homeschooling (quadruple check!)!!! We had a wonderful time chatting and comparing notes on our kids and we’ll be seeing her again this weekend. Apparently, we had never met before because they attend a later mass than we do. Just Catholic ships, passing in the night.
I would never have met her if my husband hadn’t insisted on going to 7:30 mass (seriously, what was he thinking) and feeding our children chocolate and sugar before bed. Talking to my new friend and other people at the social also showed me that there is a need in our church. We need a space for families and young people to meet and grow in the faith without fear of rejection or judgement. It’s something I have to pray on more but I may have found my ministry. (I don’t think the Lord takes my introvert nature into account when he plans these things.)
These days being Catholic or Christian is countercultural. We are seeing a level of venom and animosity towards the faith that I have never seen in my lifetime. In this area especially, it’s difficult to be Catholic or conservative in any way without being called a litany of names. I’m sure you can guess what those names are. Our churches should be our sanctuaries, the place we go to be with our Beloved and to be reminded of our promises and our faith. The closer we get to grace, the farther we get from the world. The church should be our home and we should all work together to make it homey.
So next time your at church, smile at one of your fellow Catholics. Stay for the coffee and donuts, read the bulletin, and join in the celebration and say a prayer for anyone out there who feels alone in their faith. I’ll see you at church.