I’m a Catechist for the Right of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). I lead the RCIA for Children class at my old home Parish. We provide catechesis (religious Ed) for the children of Catholic converts who are entering the church during the Easter Vigil. One of the things I find the most challenging about leading this group is that the children are of various ages (8-17) and have such diverse religious backgrounds. Some are just learning about Jesus for the first time; while others already have an intimate relationship with Him through their Protestant background.
We have recently been studying God’s Ten Commandments. Children, much like adults, don’t care for rules. Teaching others about God’s commandments is challenging because as a society we don’t like being told what to do; not even from God and especially not from His Church. I understand why children feel this way as they have yet to form their consciences. I admit to becoming a bit more frustrated with adults, who like me, struggle with pride and often neglect God’s laws. Continue reading
During the Christmas Vigil Mass, St. Brendan gifted one copy of The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, by Matthew Kelly to each household. It was a pleasant surprise and reminded me once again how awesome my home parish is!
Matthew Kelly studied parishioner’s church engagement and summarizes the following in his book:
- 4% of registered parishioners contribute 80% of the volunteer hours in a parish. 6.8% of the registered parishioners donate 80% of the financial contributions. There is an 84% overlap between these two groups.
- The aforementioned stats mean that 7% of Catholics are accomplishing more than 80% of what the Catholic Church is doing in America today. The Catholic Church is already the largest charitable organization in the world; imagine how engaging just another 1% of Catholics could change the world. Wow, chew on that for a bit.
- Highly engaged Catholics (the 7% who are accomplishing 80% of the Church’s work in America) are aptly named Dynamic Catholics and have four things in common. The four signs of a Dynamic Catholic are:
- Prayer: Daily prayer routine.
- Study: Students of Jesus who spend on average 14 minutes daily learning about Christ, His teachings and His Church.
- Generosity: Generous with their time, talent, & money. Generous with love in their daily lives.
- Evangelization: Invite others to grow spiritually by sharing your love of God with others.
The reading (Gospel Mk 1:14-20) from last Sunday’s Mass really got me thinking. In this Gospel story from Mark, Jesus is asking Simon and Andrew to drop their plans and follow Him. Now, Simon and Andrew had a pretty good plan for their lives; they were fishermen. Fishing was their vocation, family business and livelihood. Christ says, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The Gospel reveals: Then they abandoned their nets and followed Him. Additionally, James and John drop their plans to follow Christ shortly thereafter. Not only was Jesus asking them to modify their vision, but He was ultimately asking them to do something that required a new skill set. He was taking these men out of their comfort zones. These guys had their entire lives figured out; they had big plans which they abandoned for Jesus’s plan. As a person who can struggle with God’s will or plan for my life; I find this truly AMAZING.
About 18 months ago, my husband Eric and I realized that we needed to sell our home and move closer to my stepsons. They are getting older and their schedules are busier. Their mother is single mom with an additional toddler whose father is absent. Additionally, my stepsons have experienced chronic health needs which require regular physician visits. It was getting harder for us to manage this dynamic from across town; we needed to move closer to the custodial parent. We sold our home and moved into a rental 5 miles from the kids in their school district.
We had GREAT plans for this move. It would allow us to see the kids more. They could spend more time in our home. We envisioned our home being a quiet get-away from the chaos of their home. We would meet for ice-cream or a quick movie on the weekend. The kids could come over and watch football with their dad. Eric and I would know about (and attend) school functions because we would be just up the road. The boys would come to see our home as their home and not just a place they visit every other weekend. Yep, that was OUR PLAN. It was a good plan, surely God would approve. Continue reading