Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back to Church

Church was a big part of growing up for me and from what I understand, it was for my kids as well. I'm Roman Catholic. About 12 years ago I left the Parish I was involved in and joined a Parish nearby. During the years at the first church I was heavily involved in their RCIC program. ( I directed the Program) Sacrament preparation for kids "behind" on their sacraments. I had my breaking point one afternoon and evening over the Pastor's refusal to Baptize three young girls over paperwork.  The Bishop  intervened because of their social worker. The politics and dare I say it.. B.S. in the office and the knives in the backs of good people.. Well I had my breaking point. I went to a neighboring parish where it was about the same AND I was different. After I lost my parents, in 1998, For reasons I'm not sure of; I stopped going to church. I believed, but I didn't go to church anymore.
Sabby is 6 and Katie wants her Baptized and to go to Religious Education and Church.
While I was glad she was getting Sabby "into church" I smiled last weekend and told her I was still not feeling well enough to go to Mass.  She went alone with Sabby - who just wanted to know when Mass would be over and WHAT IS MASS anyway? This whole thing came up because Sabby's best friend said that if you don't believe in Jesus you'll go to hell.. Well, Gran's mouth got in the middle of things and so Katie decided it was time. Despite our reputation, and the way things are in other parts of the country, my West Coast Catholic upbringing was far from rigid. 
AND by the way... Catholics KNOW how to party... And I was taught NO ONE could say who was in hell. ONLY God Judges and he judges with love ... yikes I hope so...I got sweetly into Sabby's face to tell her that her friend is WRONG.

I digress. 
I got a call from Ricky last week asking me to go to mass with him and Katie and sabby and how important it would be for Sabby's sake... Whhaat? Ricky use to go to mass with me every day back in the day (but I think he was in it for the donut I'd buy him afterward)  Over the years, he'd stopped going as many young people do. I agreed and learned this Sunday 3 things...1) He remembers and ?believes? what I taught him as a child; 2)God is alive in his life since he'd been at quite a party the night before and still made it to the 9:00 am Mass; 3) When I asked him about Christmas Morning mass (now that we're going to mass for Sabby), he flashed that grin of his and said.. Mom.. I thought THIS would count as Christmas.. So it wasn't really all about Sabby..

I liked the church, the priest seems nice; Rick said if he could make it to the 9:00 am Mass after that party, he could go anytime (we'll see); Katie's committed; (Sabby... we'll see); so it appears that this branch of the Flocken clan are going back to church. St. Thomas in Avondale beware; Sabby's joining up! Gran... well I'll be going but NOT getting involved with any Religious Ed Programs or anything else.

Merry Christmas Everyone. I hope your hurts are healed or forgotten for a while; your hearts are filled with love and family. If you celebrate Hanukkah, I wish you the same. I wish you all a 2009 filled with love laughter, joy and Hope!

Thanks for Taking the time to read my blog today.


Michelle said...

Funny story... my niece just got in trouble for a similar story to that of your Granddaughters. My niece Brianna's teacher sent a not home saying she was in trouble because she told a little girl that "she was going to hell". When asked about it, she told my sister-in-law that a little girl at school said that she didn't believe in God. So my niece simply told her what she knows to be true... what she's learning now that she's been going to church. Well my sister-in-law was supposed to sign it and send it back, noting that was step one on behavior for Brianna. She completely forgot to, so the following day the teacher sent a step two notice (once she gets to 4 she gets suspended) that stated "Brianna told a little girl to go to hell"... which clearly wasn't what she said at all. My sister in law was furious and ended up going to talk to the teacher. She explained that Brianna was stating a belief and she didn't mean an harm by what she said. She wasn't trying to be mean. And that taking out the fact that my sister-in-law forgot to sign the paper on Brianna wasn't right. She made the teacher rip up the second notice and she signed the first one.

It's so hard these days. We teach our kids one thing but then have to explain that not everyone feels the same and that they can't just force their beliefs onto other people.

I used to be very involved in my church growing up. (I taught Confirmation classes for the youth group) Up until I was about 19... and then they totally lost me too. I started separating myself from them. When I was 20, Jr and I wanted to get married in the Catholic church. Jr is Christian but knew I wanted a Catholic wedding. They made us jump through too many obstacles and pay way too much money. I didn't mind all the classes but they made us feel so alienated because we were so young and I had Diego. Jr tried to stick it out for my sake but then I finally got so fed up with all the restrictions they were putting on my wedding. We weren't even allowed to say our own vows! So instead we decided to have a small outdoor ceremony and it was the BEST decision I ever made.

I haven't been back in about 5 years and I sometimes think I would like to. Especially since Diego and Alayna don't really understand any of it.

Tell me how you like it... only been to St. Thomas Aquinas like once.

Merry Christmas Betty!

Betty Flocken said...

I'll let you know Michelle! My mom used to tell me it's the faith, not the people. Sometimes the people can make it hard though. You might want to try a different parish than the one you and Jr tried getting married in the first time..
I'll keep you posted!
Merry Christmas!!!

Brenda said...

Good luck Betty in your new parish, and do whatever you feel comfortable with. I feel very much the same way you were taught in that no one but God should judge us and that he does so in a way that is beyond our comprehension or understanding. Merry Christmas!

Rudee said...

I'm hoping to make it to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. We'll see if the weather holds and my beeper stays quiet.

Merry Christmas to you and your family Betty. I wish you better health and a Happy New Year!

Jim said...

I hope everyone out there has a Merry Christmas. I really like your site and thank YOU for reading my blog.

Sandy said...

And a Merry Christmas to all of you.

I haven't stepped foot in the Catholic church since I was 10. Wow, that's been a long time.

I enjoyed your post.

Just remember I did go to a Unitarian church about 10 years ago for Christmas eve service. I loved it and always wanted to go back.

ChrisJ said...

Believe me, as a pastor's wife, I know exactly how you feel about politics etc. After 49 years I can only say that I survived, happily by remembering:
1. NOBODY's better than anyone else.

2. I have to keep MY heart right with the Lord and not worry about anyone else's heart.

Have a truly blessed Christmas anyway. God is good all the time -- even though people aren't.

mig bardsley said...

Happy Christmas der Betty. I hope you have a good one.