I worked in many parishes, in many different roles for about 10 years. And no matter where I was, be it the youth office, the front office, or the religious education office, I was constantly being approached by parishioners who wanted different things offered at the parish level. Many of them had great ideas, like a Mom’s bible study, more mission trips for teens, or a parish wide rummage sale. I was always open to talking about these ideas and would try to encourage them to talk to the pastor of the parish and to head that new ministry or idea. They always said NO. The reasons were often valid, they are too busy, work is too time-consuming, they did not feel they had a “gift” for leadership. So, they would often tell me that as a parish staff member, I should do it, or at least talk to the pastor about it.
Needless to say, this drove me nuts.
Parish staff are often worn thin with responsibilities, and are not always the best paid people in the world. I vowed that when I became a parishioner, and no longer worked for the Church, I would not offer our parish priest ANY ideas unless I was willing to lead them.
So when I looked into the Mom’s Group at my parish, I was happy to see that one was already in place and all I would need to do is attend with my kids whenever it was convenient for me. What I found was that the group was not very active but did not know why. So what did I do? I started to complain to my husband about it. Why can’t we meet regularly? Why isn’t anyone posting events? How do we get people to want to participate?
I took it to prayer. I really wanted more fellowship, and women from my own parish was the perfect fit. I felt frustrated that no events were being planned. I was basically just complaining to God about it all when I heard a still small voice, not audibly, but in the depth of my heart: “Why don’t YOU do it?”
Then I had a crazy thought: Why don’t I DO IT?!
I reached out to the woman in charge and found out some very important information-1. She was in transition herself, with older kids, and did not feel the same call to lead as she once did. 2. No one else had really offered to help her. She had felt like she had done all that she could at this time in her life, and was ready to let it go, but no one was feeling called to step in. Until me. When I stopped complaining and reached out I found that not only was I supported and encouraged in my hopes for the Mom’s group, but I became GREAT friends with this woman. She not only encouraged me to take over, but was always willing to share her insight, things she felt could work, and things that had been tried in the past. She became a true friend, even having out family over for Thanksgiving this past year. I treasure her friendship deeply. She kindly let me step into the leadership role and let me take the Mom’s Group in slightly different direction. She didn’t feel threatened, or jealous, she was only supportive and loving.
I started planning small events, and sometimes lots of moms and kids came, and sometimes only a few moms and kids came. But it has been wonderful every time. We have a smaller home so I was anxious about holding events at my house, but I found that NO ONE can make it work, not matter the space, like a group of moms. I have forged beautiful friendships through our Mom’s Group, and am working with our Parochial Vicar to create more time for prayer for the moms of our parish. The group is flourishing and I am thankful for that.
I think as mothers, we are gifted in seeing when there is a need. That is a natural part of being a mother. We are nurturers, and are in tune with others in a way that I cannot fully explain. If we see a need at our parish, we have the power to help fill that need. Do you see a need at your parish that you can help fulfill? Do you want a Bible study? Offer to lead one! There are so many options, and many are pretty self-explanatory. Do you think the parish needs more flowers? Offer to help plant some! We need to be willing to put in the work at our parishes in order to see God’s hand at work. We cannot just sit at home and complain about what we wish the parish offered and then be upset when no one steps up. What we CAN do is prayerfully consider how we can help our parishes offer more! Yes, it will take sacrifice, but I think that moms are a unique and wonderful gift to the Church and perfect for this endeavor.
I encourage you to see how you can help at your parish! Maybe it’s washing the altar linens, or becoming a catechist. Only you know how much time and what talents you can offer. But even if that is only 30 minutes a week, I implore you, to invite the Lord into that time to see how HE wants to use your unique gifts and talents for His greater glory.
Copyright 2019 Diana Resendiz. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: 2019 Karen Padilla. All Right Reserved.