I wasn’t sure what the first post on my blog would be, but CatholicMom.com has helped me with that for sure! I am going to be reading and responding to the Questions for Discussion from Forming Intentional Disciples, by Sherry Weddell (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012). I have invited some other women in my parish to join me and if they visit, hello!
Lawn Chair Catechism: Week 1 Introduction
Questions for Discussion
In your own faith:
How would you describe your lived relationship with God to this point in your life?
The lived relationship with God is through my children and in my marriage. I was only just fully received into the Catholic faith Easter of last year. It’s been quite a long road as within the span of a year, I made my first confession (at 34 years old!) received the sacrament of marriage, my children were baptized, enrolled in Catholic school (from public) and my son made his very first confession and just received First Communion. My husband is an atheist. He goes to mass every week with me and our children. My husband pushes for them to go to Catholic school, married me in the church, kneels in the pew and says grace before every meal with us. He supports my decision to raise our family in the Catholic Church and I love him for that. It wasn’t easy when I first talked with him about it and I still have the bent salad tongs to prove it (I was making pasta and a point that required my banging the tongs on the edge of the pasta pot. But I keep them, as a reminder.) I pray to God, I talk to Him, He talks to me – not so much in the way one would have coffee and chat, but I think it’s more of a paying attention and stepping back to look at every situation that presents itself as a gift from the Holy Spirit so how should I respond? I keep every present that God has given me close to me; friends, people, jobs, callings, all of it.
What does the word “discipleship” mean to you?
The first thing that comes to mind with the term “discipleship” to me is being a follower of Jesus Christ…maybe that’s because I’ve been helping my 8 year old with his finals and that was a key word he had to know. I think it’s pretty succinct though. I absolutely think that there is a need to help lay Catholics become more fervent followers of Jesus Christ. As a new Catholic, I feel like I was steeped in such beauty and faith during the process of RCIA but then the mute button was pushed or I was left in a completely white room, alone and having to fill it with what I could find about my faith (books, blogs, TV shows, radio, you name it, but not much from the homilies at mass).
As I mentioned, my husband is an atheist, but is very supportive, so he’ll come with me to church, but it’s difficult to talk about or bubble over (as I would if you let me) about my relationship with Jesus Christ because I don’t want to push him off of his journey. yes, I believe he is on his own journey to Jesus Christ. Everything I’ve read says I should show him my faith through my actions so, he sees me pray with the children, meet with our priest, cantor in our parish, kneel before the altar, show patience where I usually wouldn’t, gossip less, swear less and be more understanding and accepting of those things I have absolutely NO control over. We talk about church sure, but I feel like I have to be very careful so I am not perceived as “preachy”. I would hate to undo anything that the Holy Spirit is doing because I wasn’t patient.
I feel like living as a disciple – or a follower of Jesus Christ, is the example that we need to bring others to the faith and I am certainly trying – striving to do that every minute of every day.
Do you perceive a need in the Church today to help lay Catholics become more fervent followers of Jesus Christ?
The parish I am in has wonderful priests, one that I was particularly close to is moving to another parish and I felt a need to start something to keep the fire going, hence this blog. This priest was young, honest, relatable and my husband loved him. That’s how I knew this priest was special. So I thought that I could start a fresh movement of women to talk about their faith in daily life and begin, renew or even develop a relationship with Jesus Christ, because my prayer closet is a little lonely at times.
The parish I am in is where priests come to rest a bit. It seems all of the “on fire” priests get sent to other places that need them, which is great. I am thrilled that these hard working priests are being recognized for their talents and gifts believe me. However, coming from an affluent, sleepy parish certainly does not mean that we don’t have evangelical needs either. I am also keenly tuned into having a hand in that evangelization. If you want something done…?
There are young families that need or would like some direction and instruction, support to bring and keep the faith alive. I am certainly no expert, I do know that if I feel this way, I can’t be the only one.
For example, I was at mass this weekend and the homily was supposed to be about the Most Holy Trinity and the Deacon speaking mentioned that he spent six weeks working on it. I had NO idea what he was talking about. He mentioned the Santa Clause with Tim Allen, a snow globe and the Eucharist. The parishioners looked completely confused and my husband checked out…admittedly so did I. Oh the guilt! How are we supposed to get out there and evangelize when we have no idea how to apply the Gospel to our lives, currently as it’s being lived in the public square? But, one bad week doesn’t make a bad parish or clergy – I’m in it for the long haul for sure.
In your parish:
How would you describe your parish’s current efforts at discipleship? A hotbed of discipleship? A weekly gathering of spiritual sleep-walkers? Or perhaps something in between?
We have groups that are discipleship-centric (if that’s a word) but there is never (or from what I have seen in my 2 years there) a face to the group that is excited, or willing to talk about the group to invite others in and share their faith. The RCIA group is wonderful, but what happens after? There isn’t a transition from the weekly gatherings and teachings after you’ve been confirmed into the faith. I feel like you have to go at it on your own and this could be why people don’t fill the pews or get lost in the shuffle. I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle!
I feel like we have a split in our parish. There are cradle Catholics who have been doing it for years and love Catholicism – great. I feel there are young families who are doing their best to meander their way through what is being spoken about at mass with little to no application, key take aways or excitement. These families and people are so busy that they don’t know where to go or what to do to apply the faith in their lives. We need something new, someone to scream “Wake up!” We are the oldest religion but that doesn’t mean we’re dinosaurs covered in dust. We’re called to be evangelizers. Called to be the best version of ourselves and that’s a constant process, one that shouldn’t sleep in the pews but look to glean from our leaders in our parish, our Pope and Jesus Christ.
Do I love my parish? Yes, absolutely. It’s my home. That’s why I think more can be done to revitalize it. We have wonderful people and families there – but I think nap time is over.