I feel connected to our church in a way that I have not felt in years. It is amazing what a dynamic, energetic, confident, capable Priest can do to bring life and energy and exuberance to a group of people who gather together in shared faith.
With any change, it is impossible to make everyone happy. My commitment to our church was tested two years ago when the Sister who was the Director of Religious Education was let go and a new DRE was brought on whose every decision brought me frustration. Each email I received from her was like rubbing sandpaper on an open wound. I pulled back from my involvement with our church but I did not let go. Eventually the tide turned and we were given a new Priest this summer and with him came sweeping changes to religious education, now called Faith Formation, and he took it upon himself to be the sole “director” of the program.
It has been a breath of fresh air (for me). I have returned to teaching, stepping in for the 6th grade teacher who left because the changes did not match her desired way to teach. I know you cannot make everyone happy and my heart hurts for those who do not like these changes, because I do know how hard it is to go to a church and hear the word of God when around you so many things are being decided that you do not agree with.
This weekend was the start of Advent and I signed our family up to participate in the Advent Wreath Workshop. This workshop has been held before in years past but we never went. Silly us. It was beautiful. We brought lots of greens and the foam wreath, wires and some decorations were provided. It was not so much a “workshop” as a gathering of families preparing to celebrate. Grace and Lilah ran down to the beach while Greg and I worked and gathered some shells and seaglass. Perfect decorations for our wreath.
After the workshop we attended our first group absolution, which is like a mass reconciliation. The church was filled. Lights were low. Music played softly. There are some times when you can actually feel lighter and happier and blessed from being in church and this was clearly one of those times. The 4:30 mass followed and we walked out of church three hours after we walked in, fully ready to begin the Advent season.