WELCOME! Here is my not-terribly-eloquent attempt to grow closer to God via... blogging. Unfortunately for you, I'm not sure what that means either. I guess we'll find out!

I'm 30 years old, married to an IT Guy and a stay-at-home-mom to two spectacularly gorgeous children. While we attend Mass on Sunday mornings, I spend the entirety of the Eucharistic Prayer focused on making sure the baby uses her crayons on the bulletin, not the pew

You can read more about me at Mighty Maggie and more about my Catholic and not-so-Catholic background on the Official About Page. Thanks for visiting!

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06/26/2011

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Life of a Doctor's Wife

I always feel... nervous commenting on this blog, because I am not religious at all. But... I guess I wanted to say I understand that desire to be MOVED... and the fear that that desire is somehow... wrong.

Anyway, I don't have any thoughts beyond that. At least not fully-crystallized thoughts. But I loved reading this and I found myself nodding a lot.

And I love the idea of you sampling churches with the kids. That's lovely.

Sarah in Ottawa

I'm a bit like P - the parish in which Dave and I grew up was my grounding in Catholicism. I loved it - multi-generational, really involved folks - and am so glad that my current parish is somewhat similar. That said, I did see a number of different parishes over the years. My family members had very different parishes (from the local cathedral for my Nonna to tiny rural mission churches), and we travelled a lot so visited parishes all over NA and Europe. It's just so amazing to see the different parishes all celebrating the same liturgy.

I am no fan of the cult of personality, but being touched by the preaching of a newly-ordained, passionate priest strikes me as exactly right. If we weren't to be stirred up and emboldened by preaching, why include it in the mass at all?

I am glad that you are likely to switch. I have a totally unpopular opinion -- that Catholics SHOULD attend their local parishes. We're not called to church shop. It drives me nuts that two of the most dynamic, faith-filled Catholic families I know live in the cachement ares for our parish and attend other ones. Our parish would benefit so much from their presence and involvement! They, too, believe that they were led to live in the area, and yet... End rant.

Lisa

I'm with you on the varied parishes experience. When we lived "in town" we used to have a parish we attended almost exclusively on Sundays, but because of our professions, we were often at the other parishes in town as well. Now that we live "out there" in the country, we have a parish, but we have to switch soon to be members of the parish where our daughter will attend school (there's only one close enough to consider). But we went to vacation bible school at a completely different parish. And Olivia just gets it. Church is Church, and it doesn't matter if it is OUR parish...the liturgy is familiar to her wherever we go.

Salome Ellen

I think certain priests have the gift of being an "icon", a window to God. Some when they preach (like this one), some when they preside at the Eucharist, and some when they are pastoral. I don't think it's wrong to look for a parish/priest where sometimes you get to "see" God.

-R-

The church I went to growing up had 3 priests: the one who was a neuroscience professor, the one who gave fire and brimstone homilies, and the one who was kind of in between the other two. I don't think there's anything wrong with preferring one type of speaker to another. Some people probably feel closer to God when they hear the quieter/nerdier homilies, and some probably get more out of "preachier" homilies.

Kanuck (Lisa)

I don't think it's wrong to be inspired by a good message - the life comes from God via the Word (or Scripture, if "Word" is a N-D/Protestant phrase), and the job of the church leader is to share that food/life (insert Shepherd/flock analogy here). I'd say the point of church attendance is not to participate in ritual (though, as you point out, ritual is important for/speaks to some people), but to learn/be inspired/be challenged/know God better. For different people this happens in different ways, but you're a "words" person - you like to write, read, hear things puzzled out ... why should that be any different when it comes to faith? ITA about the cult of personalities/church hopping, but I don't think it's wrong to find a place where you can be fed, but also serve/participate in community, so long as the focus is on God, not on the particular priest in question.

katie

Phillip has a terrific idea! Going to mass while on vacation was always something that reminded me how big and diverse the catholic faith is.
I also like Salome's comment about a priest being a window to God. I totally get that.

The parish I grew up in had a supremely talented and energetic music director who wanted to get everyone involved (guitars, flute, horns, drums, 30+ choir members of all ages). This music director even directed the school musicals - Godspell, Sound of Music, The Wiz. I never could carry a tune that well, but I always wanted to sing at mass because of him. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our priests over the years were stuffy and more or less old-fashioned. In all honesty, the music was the mass for me.

After we got married we went church shopping - driving across town trying to find a community where we felt at home. It wasn't until 3 year ago we stumbled across our current parish. The pastor is most "on-fire" during his passionate and inspiring homilies, but also takes time out of the routine liturgy to explain little things, making the mass and sacraments meaningful. The church community is SO welcoming and friendly and it just so happens the music director is right on the same page with my childhood music director.
The one hiccup is our parish no longer has a school. Oh, and our pastor left last weekend. He set off on retirement aboard his RV.

Kristina

Oh I have so much to say about this, I don't even know where to start. And I apologize in advance for the length of this comment.

I grew up Catholic, in a parish with three priests. Only one of them ever "spoke" to me. And we were the go-every-week family. And he didn't preach every week, obviously. So the rest of the time? If I'm being totally honest, I got little to nothing out of it. And I didn't like that feeling, but that's how it was.

My husband and I stopped going to church when we got married and just recently joined a United Church of Christ church (not saying one is better than the other, but the current church is definitely more of the “talks with music” variety) . And the pastor there always, every week, without fail, will link the scripture to something that pertains to my real life. And while I understand what you're saying about ritual and communion, I think that God intends for us to really hear his words, y'know? He WANTS us to take it into our hearts and walk with it in our everyday life. If we’re not doing that, then what’s really the point?

When I’m feeling sad and overwhelmed, I tend to not think about communion, but I’ll remember what the pastor said last week about God knowing what was written on all the pages of our lives before we were even born. And it brings me comfort and makes me feel close to God. I can certainly see how ritual and communion can provide just as much comfort, but for me it’s easier to see God’s hand in my life when I’m in fellowship with a pastor, or someone in bible study, or even just talking about God with a friend.

I think that priests or pastors or deacons, or whomever, are there to make us HEAR God and LISTEN and work God’s word into our lives. I don't think there's a thing wrong with you wanting to feel a connection to your priest. It’s an important relationship . I think God intended priests to be able to “dumb down”, if you will, God’s word and help us apply it to our lives.

Well, I need to shut up, huh? I’m not even sure if anything I said made sense. Great post!!

Becky

I'm not Catholic -- grew up Presbyterian and still attend a Presbyterian church -- so perhaps I just don't get it. But if the music, preaching, community don't matter, why are they there? If eucharist and liturgy (mass and communion) are church and that's all you need to be fed, why do the rest of it? Does God really want you to sit through a service and take nothing from the preaching? If the church takes the time and effort to include the preaching it seems to me you should expect to be get something from it, but perhaps I am thinking too much like a Protestant.

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