The Sunday side of the street

shadow_iStock_joelblitThe entrance procession to Our Lady of Mercy Church begins long before the servers start up the aisle. Take our family, for instance—we walk, or sometimes run, down Sunnyside Avenue, where our feet must by now have worn their own groove into the sidewalk, in the footsteps of thousands of families who have walked to Sunday Mass here for the last 100 years. Our procession includes a family footrace on a certain half block, decreed by our son years ago. At least we’re in good biblical company: Didn’t Peter and John race each other to the empty tomb?

We climb the steps into church, where Charles tells us his son is finally back in the country after serving in Afghanistan for several years. Whew. And here’s Carol, who grew up in the days before girl servers, who once told me how much it means to her to see our daughter serve so confidently. Continue reading

You don’t need all the answers, part two

mom and daughter(continued from last week)

Use what you don’t know. St. Augustine said, “God is not what you imagine or understand. If you think you understand, you have failed.” This mystery of God’s movement can help parents and children continue to seek God’s will for us. When Brigid, mother of four, lost her job, she explained to her four children, “Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all on the ‘God plan.’ ” Bringing faith into family life doesn’t mean providing all the answers. Rather, it means admitting that you turn over the struggle, pain, and uncertainty of life to God.

Allow the privilege of church attendance.  While we often speak of church attendance as an obligation, a study from Mississippi State University shows that children whose parents regularly take them to church benefit behaviorally, emotionally, and cognitively. Continue reading