Envelopes Do Not Make a Christian

Today I got a letter in the mail. It was from church.

Church since moving here has been ANYTHING but natural.

You see, in Michigan we attended mass. Weekly, sometimes more than that but always weekly. I started a mother's group which was kind of funny at a "Student Parish" in college as only two moms showed. Both of them wanted to raise their children. We were all young but the three of us made it work and though there were no bible studies or faith formation among us, we were together, a small community. I lived for those hours locked in the little playroom nursing my babies and talking mom.  I taught CCD, we chased our little ones around the Narthex and I watched as my husband chose to become Catholic being baptized with our second born child.I also knew I could count on them in a pinch, and one showed up the day we lost our third with a rose scented candle. These were the people Jesus sent to walk along side us as faith filled Catholics.

When we moved here, we visited our local "Catholic Center". It was stark in comparison and rather empty. My heart was sad. I wanted life. I wanted kids. There was one family I saw, they had four kids, looked to be about our age and they were friendly. We exchanged niceties after mass but there were few families and it was apparent that the crowded pews that people fought for in our former church were not always full in our new Parish. I wanted to be present and find that same community I felt in our old Parish. We tried yet it never came. We stopped wanting to go to church. It was too hard. We were alone with our kids and knowing no one we felt the eyes staring at us when one, two or three of our kiddos got out of hand.

A few weeks went by, we missed it, we wanted to go to Mass but couldn't find the right place to go so we drove. We drove for miles. We found our Catholic home and though it was HUGE the pews were full. The pastor was great and it was peaceful, even when my kids were less than perfect. As I chased two moms in the Mary Garden one day after mass, it once again felt like home. Since our life has changed in the last few months we have had to change. We found a new parish and though we knew a few people and felt okay going it still wasn't the same.

I tried to make it work. I want to make it work but instead I find myself heading to the Shrine, longing for the right place and wondering where the Catholic Church is headed?

After Felicity's communion experience I was certain going back to mass was not going to work but instead of letting it drive me away, I drove in, attending daily mass. It was peaceful and the words, powerful and I felt perhaps there was a way to make a change.

Then today.

I got a letter in the mail. I suppose it was sent to many people but what it said told me that something is not right and what the Roman Catholic Church is choosing to do is turning people away. The letter said that we should be attending church more and our attendance would be tracked. Were they kidding?  Then on the CCD forms I was filling out today in BOLD LETTERS it said it again.

I will admit it, I didn't go to church this weekend but it didn't stop me from calling my mom to see what the homily was about. At her church, a beautiful, always filled place, it was about living so others know you are a Christian. It said nothing about envelopes nor about bulletins from other Parishes you attend but just asked for your presence in living the life Jesus wants us to live and leading by example.

I'll start making sure I carry my envelope (which admittedly I often forget) and I will try to go and change the face of mass but no matter what I do, that envelope doesn't make me a Catholic or a Christian, it just makes me accounted for and I would rather be accountable for who I am to others than a documented number in a community.


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