Dear L.I.G.H.T. Friends –
Looking ahead to this weekend, we have our last L.I.G.H.T. Mass of the season. (This is the one that was postponed as a result of the February Blizzard!) You are all invited to join the PreSacrament kids and their families at 9:30am on Sunday as we celebrate Pentecost, remembering how we are all called to follow Christ. To help with the spirit of the day, our PS kids will be participating in a special presentation during the Prayers of the Faithful.
This upcoming Mass is a good opportunity for me bring up our first ‘Minus’ from our year-end evaluations:
“The addition of all the mandatory masses for kids
is hard for families’ schedules.”
I’ll preface the rationale that is to follow by saying that I definitely sympathize. As the mom of three very busy kids, I couldn’t agree more that scheduling is always a challenge. That being said, I’d like to make a few points regarding this topic.
First, this year we did in fact begin to have L.I.G.H.T. families play a role at certain Masses during the year as a way to serve our parish community, and we welcome and encourage your participation. That being said, if the scheduled Mass does not work for your family’s schedule, you are more than welcome to attend any of the other three Masses that we offer during the weekend.
Serving our parish family is only one of the reasons that we instituted this part of the L.I.G.H.T. program. Another is to help us move toward the Diocesan standard of mandatory program hours. This is not optional, so we must continue to strive to fulfill this requirement.
The Diocese of Providence asks that we have 24 instructional hours per year and then 6 additional hours that help to enrich the faith life of our students and encourage them to take part in different practices of the Catholic Faith. By adding this Mass requirement and the additional ‘retreat’ opportunities that go along with some of the Masses for kids in their non-sacramental years, we are able to attain this standard.
Finally, this is a great opportunity for me to remind us all of the eternal benefits of attending mass each week. J (which by the way is not just mandatory for the L.I.G.H.T. program, but comes straight from the Top!)
On the one hand,
On the other hand,
Many of us are already on the right track as we consistently strive to make the church a bigger part of our family lives. I see us all growing in this area and I challenge you to challenge yourselves to continue to do more and more in this regard.
And if we need even more of a reason, I’ll end this note with these encouraging statistics from Duke University about the benefits of ‘Active Church Participation.’
Active (“regular”) church participation will…
o increase the average life expectancy of your children by 8 years
o significantly reduce your child's use and risk from Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs
o dramatically lower their risk of suicide
o help them rebound from depression 70% faster
o dramatically reduce their risk for committing a crime
o improve their attitude at school and increase their school participation
o reduce their risk for rebelliousness
o reduce the likelihood that they would binge drink in college
o improve their odds for a "very happy" life
o provide them with a life-long moral compass
o provide children with a caring extended family
o get them to wear their seat belts more often
o and will also statistically improve the odds that they will lead an active church life in their adults years
Don’t know about you, but that’s what I want for my kids! So I’m in!! :)
Have a great day everyone!
In the L.I.G.H.T.,
Dear L.I.G.H.T. Friends –
I promised you that our upcoming E-thoughts would focus on the feedback that we received during our end of the year evaluation process and it makes sense we should kick this process off on a high note. So, the first comment that I’ll share falls under the ‘Plus’ column on our form (though this actually was something that was shared with me verbally).
I was told:
“I don’t know what it was, but this year seemed so much better than years past!”
I have to say that I (and many others on the Design Team) agree wholeheartedly with this statement. It is hard to put a finger on exactly what is different – but this WAS a great L.I.G.H.T. year. Maybe it was the topic; maybe it was the consistent format from month to month; maybe it was the different ways that we used media to capture the attention of our families (more on that later this summer); maybe we’re just getting better at it; maybe it was my fabulous new assistant; or maybe we have simply grown into a place of comfort with the process of Family Faith Formation. Whatever the reason – I am grateful that this is an opinion that seems to be shared among a large group of us - as evidenced by our evaluation process.
When we began this journey to transform our traditional Religious Education Program into this new model back in 2006, Father Friedrichs was told by a colleague of his with a similar program, that it takes five years for the fruits of your labor to truly come to fruition with family faith formation. And you guessed it, this was year five.
It’s been an interesting journey, filled with many highs and lows along the way. Personally, I have so enjoyed being on this road with each and every one of you. To be honest, there have been times when I have felt weary about the process for one reason or another over the years. I am pleased to say however, that at every single one of those times, one of you (and almost always, a different one of you), approached me to share a very tangible way that you were deeply affected by what happened at that month’s Gathering. For each doubt of mine that surfaced, I do believe that the Holy Spirit moved one of you forward to renew my faith in the program and to keep it going and to keep it growing into something that serves our whole parish community in such an important way.
You are all an integral part of the L.I.G.H.T. process, whether you realize it or not. This is a shared faith journey – the goal of which is for our children, as well as for all of us, to come to a better understanding of our faith and to be able to incorporate what we believe into our lives so that we are truly living a life with Jesus at the center.
So thanks to the L.I.G.H.T. family member who shared this comment with me. And thanks to all of you for sharing the journey.
I hope you all have a most wonderful weekend and in particular, I hope that my fellow Mother’s enjoy a beautiful, restful, happy Mother’s Day!