You would have to be living under a rock to not know that today is an important one in the history of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI, in an act of great humility, is retiring from his role as leader of our Church. I think he timed it to go along with our L.I.G.H.T. theme for the month as we will be discussing what it means to be Church. Ha ha! J The two topics surely go hand in hand, and as a result we will be able to discuss many of the implications of today’s news when we meet next week.
A funny story in relation to that news is (perhaps) a great compliment to Father Friedrichs!
This morning, as we watched the pope greet each of the cardinals who came to Rome for the conclave, I told my youngest (Ellie) who was eating her waffle, that the Pope is retiring. Well, much to my surprise, she nearly burst into tears. Her urgent plea to me was, “Will he do church again?” Puzzled, I asked if she was talking about the Pope saying Mass? She said yes and that she wanted to see him again. That she had to say goodbye. That’s when I realized that her church is not a global one, but a very small brick building in the middle of Apponaug. I was then able to assure her that Father Friedrichs was not the Pope (Not that he wouldn’t do a fine job at it!) and that he wasn’t going anywhere. (As if I’d let him!)
Her tensed shoulders settled down and we had a nice talk about who the Pope is and what will happen next in Rome. So, over a meal of simple Eggo Waffles sprinkled with chocolate chips – it wasn’t only Ellie who learned a few things. I too had some lessons that were very appropriate to the day. First, I assume my children know more than they do, and I need to remember to take the time to share with them the news of our Church, as I do the other news of the day. Because ultimately for Ellie, it is her parents who are her primary catechists and we need to remember to keep the conversation about our faith alive in every way so that she and her siblings will grow up with a strong faith foundation.
The other thing I learned is that “Church” matters to kids, even more than we might realize. Ellie would just as soon run past Father than say hello when she arrives at L.I.G.H.T. each month. After all, it’s not him, but rather Mrs. Gouveia in the kitchen who will allow her a sneak preview of dinner! But when she thought she would never see him again, the devastation was apparent. She counts on coming to St Catherine’s. She revels in in the Children’s liturgy. She adores her catechists, the other families at church, and (obviously) her pastor. She senses the importance of the Eucharist and anxiously awaits her turn to join us at the table. Church is important, our pastor is important, our church community is important. Do we show that to our kids by what we say? And more importantly, do we show that to them by what we do?
Just something to think about!
Enjoy the day everyone! I’ll look forward to seeing you next week as we gather for L.I.G.H.T.!
Have a great weekend!