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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life on the Fringe of Faith

I dedicate this blog entry to "Nanan" who is doing her job as "Da Godmutha".

San Roque Church
I have written before about our journey of faith with Finbar and the trials and tribulations that we have faced trying to find a church community that could, or rather would, accomodate a child that could not sit still or be quiet for 20 seconds.  This issue has marked my life so much at this point that I have resolved to form a foundation some day with the specific mission to support churches in including special needs children into their programs.  Sure, sometimes they try. But the road to, well you know, that "H" place, etc, etc. 

As previously written, I have been a bit PO'd with the Catholic church since Finbar's diagnosis.   Along the spectrum of church bodies, the Catholic church is the most rigid in my experience, in terms of its adherance to a strict way of practicing faith, and its incapacity to accomodate anything that does not fall within its very tight norm.  While I have found that many non-denominational and Protestant churches offer extensive children's programs and a wealth of fresh minded volunteers, few of the Catholic churches in town offer childcare during Mass.   Moreover, I have not heard of any that assist with helping special needs children attend services and make the sacraments.  Finally, most of the people serving in the Catholic church tend to be quite elderly.  While big hearted, they are not exactly equipped to deal with a special needs child in "Little Church".

So why do I write about this again?  Well, much to my surprise, something, actually TWO things,  I never deemed possible a year ago happened today on this "25th Sunday in Ordinary Time" (can anyone explain to me what this means exactly?).

Firstly, Finbar sat through much of a Catholic service and held it together without completely embarrassing us. And to boot, he even seemed to enjoy it, and dare I say, seemed pleased with himself that he was in "real church". 

Secondly, after this 1 hour service, he proceeded to attend First Communion class for another hour or more and did so without a single complaint or argument.

Hallelujah.  Miracles do happen. Long live the Pope :)

And now I must go to confession...

PS: Finbar and I made the made the front cover of the church bulletin this week.   Did I mention that miracles happen?


Kerry said...

Hey, Goobs. :) Glad to hear you had a good Mass experience. If you are interested in why the Catholic Church is so "rigid" with its Mass norms, give me a call. It's too much to put in a blog comment, but there is a reason for it. I would encourage you to read and research the "whys" you have about the Mass. There ARE answers.

As for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Church has many seasons in its liturgical year. My kids learned a song that goes "purple and green and red and white, are the colors of the year... purple's for preparation, white is for celebration, green is for the growing time, red is for Pentecost." Right now, we are in the "growing time." :) It's the 25th week of it. Pretty soon we will be in Advent, so the green vestments go away, and out come the purple. It's a time of preparation, like lent, and we are encouraged to pray more and make sacrifices during this season in preparation for Christmas. Many people (myself included!) forget that advent is a time or prayer and fasting, much like lent.

I am so happy to hear that things are going well with Finbar. For what it is worth, our parish does no child care or "Children's Mass." My pastor feels very strongly that children should be in Mass, as a part of the community. If he gets loud or antsy, you simply move to the narthex. While I do not have children with autism, those first couple of years were met with many trips down the aisle to the narthex, but we loved trying to stay in Mass together as much as possible. Our pastor feels it helps children become comfortable with the Mass, versus going from puppets and theater shows to the less "flashy" (for lack of a better word) Mass.

Anyway, I will continue to pray for al of you on this journey, especially Declan. :) Keep the faith, and keep trying. This is your cross. Embrace it! Call me anytime you want to discuss further, and keep reading!!!

Hugs... oh and sorry this is so long! :-s

finbarsmom said...

Thanks goobs, knew i could count on you to pick up on this entry. and thanks for the explanations. In 15 years of catholic schooling don't know if I ever was taught that LOL.Pray for Bill as he is asked to con template"conversion"
:0 And yes i will call you sometime between now and next year :)

Kerry said...

I will pray for Bill. This is amazing! I am so excited for you guys!!!! If he's an intellectual, there are PLENTY of books I can recommend that talk about the faith from an intellectual standpoint. Once you accept it on an intellectual level (at least for me), the obedience and spirituality are easier.

I have learned so much homeschooling the kids. It helps that we have an incredible parish as well. Our pastor is always buying books and CDs to give away to parishioners from Catholic Lighthouse Media. He really knows how to teach and evangelize!

I hope you do call! I will stop my day to talk to you! Just remember, there are answers, you just have to know where to look for them. It may be hard keeping Finbar in Mass, and you may have to leave a lot, but stick with it. That is your cross, so embrace it. Following Christ is never easy. We just need to use the tools He has left us (like frequently receiving the sacraments) to keep us going. Offer up your frustrations and tears for the sanctity of your children. Thank GOD (literally!) for redemptive suffering. That is something unique to the Catholic faith. We know and believe that God can take the suffering we experience in this world and use it for good. We just have to remember to give it to him as an offering. Remember, you pain is the offering that will produce much fruit in your children. Another great thing about God is there is no time and space, so you can retroactively offer suffering. :) Isn't God awesome?

Look forward to talking. I miss you!