I was raised in a Roman Catholic family in Upstate NY the oldest of seven children. Even at an early age the Catholic rituals were all very confusing to me. For the first 10 years of my life all the masses were in Latin, which I didn’t understand at all. Our parish priest emigrated from Ireland and his sermons were all fire and brimstone warning us of the gates of hell that awaited us all if we didn’t follow the straight and narrow. I was molded with a pretty high level of Irish guilt that if you didn’t do certain things you would pay for it dearly.
I was taught Catechism by Nuns who never hesitated to pull out a yardstick to crack you across the knuckles for not falling in line. In elementary school on Wednesday afternoons all the Catholic kids would walk off the campus to the Grange hall next door for our weekly lessons with the Nuns. The rest of the school would go on recess while we were away. It was such a large Catholic community that there were only about 25% of the kids left behind. Can you imagine that happening today?
Some of the rituals I complied with without never totally embraced were no meat on Fridays, weekly confession in a booth to repent for all you sins over the past week (you had to be creative to come up with fresh new sins each week) and saying the full rosary every night before going to bed. I can say a Hail Mary faster than anyone on the planet. On Sunday there were masses every hour on the hour from 7:00 to 12:00 and there was never time for any social connections as you had to head for the parking lot to make room for the next mass.
Building & Grounds is seeking people with the following skills to assist in addressing regular maintenance and keeping St. Matthias in good working order. If you have the time and talent in any of these areas, please reach out to Mike Vandeweghe directly or email Building & Grounds.
Several years ago I felt a calling to be a Stephen Minister, to walk alongside someone who wanted a Christian care-giver. I received the training at my church, but then relocated to Richmond before being assigned to a care receiver.
After my move, I joined Christ the King Lutheran church, and shortly thereafter it formed a Stephen Ministry group. I was welcomed immediately as an already trained minister. My first care-receiver was a beautiful woman with a terminal illness. Due to her illness, she lost her ability to speak… but we found numerous ways to communicate, sharing many precious, intimate moments of faith, a mutual love for reading, and prayers for what lay ahead. I often felt she was teaching me through her patience and unwavering love of God. I was blessed to know this woman, and very deeply strengthened by her example of faith.
Pat Whitmer, Christ the King Lutheran Church
Note: Christ the King’s Stephen Ministry program is shared with our St. Matthias program
We had a wonderful Sunday school year. We had many interesting and fun-filled Sundays. One Sunday Scott Vollmer and John Vance visited us to talk about the prison ministry. We asked if they were scared, what did they eat, who got to come to their weekends. Best of all we made 2 new friends. We talked a lot about our St Matthias Family. We even took pictures and put them on a poster in our room. We did foot washing during Lent. And we had our own communion in the classroom with apple juice and wafers. We went into the church and baptized a baby doll and worked on finding passages in the Bible. We learned the Lord’s Prayer and what it meant. But most importantly we learned to trust God because he is our friend and loves us unconditionally. Hope all the children have a wonderful summer!
Somewhere in Midlothian today, a car broke down, a glass shattered, a house caught on fire, someone died suddenly, someone went for alcoholism rehabilitation, a child was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, a computer's entire data base was lost, someone declared bankruptcy---all in a day somewhere in Midlothian, VA - oh, and probably more than just these things.
When these things happen especially to us - our first impulse is to go into fix it or hide from it mode. We don't want to acknowledge that it ever happened. We try to gloss over the difficulty and stay positive. Always stay positive! Even when the truth of it all is, its not positive. This methodology can lead us, ironically, into destructive and potentially dangerous habits. When we tend towards Pollyanna-ism, what we are doing is placing ourselves in a state of denial or outright delusion. We say, no!, I will not see this as it really is! And, we miss the process: we miss the process of healing. We miss the process of learning. We miss Resurrection. We miss part of the essence of our journey in faith.
Of course, we need to sweep up the glass and get the car running again. But if thats all we do, we will never learn how the car broke down or the glass got broken. Well never see how leaving the stove on and walking away is not a good idea. Well stop drinking for a few weeks or months, but never address our alcoholism.
And, theres something else well avoid like the plague. In ignoring and denying the places in our lives where we are broken, we will also avoid any opportunity to use the experiences of our foibles to help others in their journeys of similar experience. We will miss our opportunities for blessing.
Our blessings are found through our interrelatedness- our connections- our ability to relate to each other. When I share my brokenness with you (not for you to fix me or in a needy sort of way), you can find someone who understands as others will not.
It is in our brokenness, our vulnerability, that we as a people can relate to each other. It is not, nor will it ever be, through how perfectly put together we appear. So, let us not rush to quick fixes and band-aid approaches that deny us true healing and blessing.
The body of Christ was broken for us that we might find healing and wholeness that we might be one forever with God. As Christs disciples, we are called to follow Jesus. We are called to offer our brokenness in the healing of others- and so find blessing as well.
Your Sister in Christ,
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