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Sunday, September 24, 2006

SOS - Sunday Only Speak - Updated!

***Updated at the bottom*** Just came home from church and I'm excited to share something with you.

A couple that I recognize, although don't know well, was sitting about 5 rows ahead of me. I believe we took a program together at the church many years ago. They seem to be from Scandanavian descent by their accents and appearance.

What I recall at the time is the woman being distraught that her older teens did not attend mass anymore. She cried about it in one of our sessions.

Well here I am, about ten years later in the same boat as she. My children rarely attend mass with me anymore either. I'm not one to force them, although sometimes I wish I was. Even if I tried, I doubt I would be successful and would only distract from their faith rather than enhance it.

I know how she felt.

Sometimes I meet her husband when I am on my lunchtime run. He must work someone near where I work and takes a walk at lunch on the same trails. I always nod and smile and say hello, but I'm not sure if he recognizes me as being from the church.

You know when you see someone out of that setting, you know you know them but can't remember how. I don't stop to talk, because I am with my running partner. After what I witnessed at mass today, I've decided that the next time I see him I will stop.***

We have a Sunday Children's Liturgy program, which is where the children are taken out of the mass for the readings and homily to a separate room and the gospel adapted for their understanding is read and discussed and an activity is done reinforcing that gospel message.

I know intimately how it works as I taught the program for a number of years and got great fulfilment out of it. As I moved on to do other volunteer things, I gave up that ministry, as my children were getting older anyways, although they did help me with it for some time as they matured.

One of my favourite parts of mass is when the kids are called to the front to follow the cross to their place of worship. Likewise when they come back after the homily, they are brought up to the front and are excited to share with Father what artwork they have created. Then they promptly head back to where their own family is in the congregation, equally excited to show their craft and in whispered tones share what they did with their parents.

Today I noticed 2 beautiful blond haired boys running to the pew where this couple sat, greeting them and their blond haired sister, all excited and smiles. The smiles that I saw from their grandmother and grandfather as they greeted and fussed over them brought tears to my eyes.

I immediately thought that somehow they had convinced their child to allow them to bring their grandchildren to mass. How joyous they were to be able to now share their faith with their grandchildren, after so many years of attending mass on their own.

I then noticed a strikingly blond and Scandanavian woman sitting at the end of the pew that I didn't recognize. The children were sitting amongst the grandparents and this woman was just sitting a few seats down from them. I wondered if they were connected.

Sure enough, after mass, I saw her outside with the kids and speaking a foreign language. Perhaps they are visiting from another country. Perhaps they speak their mother tongue in the family even though they live in Canada. I certainly have never seen that woman at mass before.

How appropriate that today's gospel Mark 9:30-37 included:

Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me."

Also in Matthew 18:5 and Luke 9:48

*** Update ~ Guess what? I met him on my lunchtime run today! Those are his 3 grandchildren, they live in the area, and his daughter is expecting her fourth child in February! He was so sweet when I stopped to talk to him and tell him I saw him with his grandchildren in church. Was that God winking or what? ;-)



8 comments:

Wystful1 said...

What a beautiful story you've shared with us. That was so very touching and wonderful.

I hadda stop by and leave you a comment about your kitty parade you directed me to view. Alllllll very sweet, adorable and goregous kitties! And the dog ---skunk? Oh my!!! LOL

Happy day to you.

Irish Church Lady :) said...

Thanks Wystful1. We both have cats named Winston but different colours so I wanted you to see my Winston.

Check out my new avatar below right. It's getting cooler so I thought I should get out of my summer attire plus the pool is now closed!

Happy Sunday!

Ilona said...

Thanks for inviting me to read this very encouraging story of yours today. I 've had some of children drift and -after some agonizing prayer over the years, seen them come back 'round. I think what we sow into their lives blossoms later than we'd wish, but does blossom. We only wish them the comfort and strength we ourselves have found in our faith.

And we would spare them their sufferings in life, but- that is not given us, is it?

It was my own grandparent that had a strong influence on my own faith. I hope I can be that kind of grandma to my own grandkids now!

Irish Church Lady :) said...

Ilona - I'm glad you came by. You are so right!

Gattina said...

Never force children to go to church because you do. They would get an "overdose" of religion and do exactly what you want to avoid. I think when we give our children a good christian education and teach them everything they should know without forcing them, then they are able to do their choices when they are old enough. And a true christian is better then a hypocrite who just goes to church to show people their new outfits or hats !

Rebecca said...

I really enjoyed reading your post today....
Good thoughts on the circle of time allowing us another chance to begin to influence our family in the things that are of value to us!

Gracie said...

Our pastor had a good message too, today, about realizing how blessed and "rich" we are. We tend to take so much for granted that we forget how truly blessed we are..

Your story was heart-warming and beautiful. As a child, my family didn't go to church, yet every summer when we went to visit my grandparents, we went to church faithfully with them. They were always so proud to have us there with them.

I'm back from my break (kind of).
I hate the fact that life gets so busy. It's busy with productive things, though I often feel like the hamster on the wheel... Getting enough sleep is a big issue for me. I'm working on it.

It's loverly to see you again!
Hope you have a wonderful day!!

The Naked Nerd said...

I think a lot of teenagers and young adults question their faith at on point or another.