I mentioned this briefly in my rambling “open doors” post that nobody commented on, but here’s the whole mom’s group story. I’m putting on my serious hat, k? No, it’s not the only one I own.
Last November I went on a retreat with some women from the nondenominational church where I’ve been attending a mom’s group for the past year and a half. Near the end of the retreat, we were all reflecting silently on how we were being called to serve other women in the church.
By “the church,” our leaders meant Bethany in particular. And being the only non-member at the retreat, I figured this exercise didn’t really apply to me and I’d just sit and think over the other sermons (for lack of a better word) we’d had throughout the weekend. But then a voice spoke up inside my head. I can’t remember what it said but I knew it was God asking me to start a group similar to the one I’d been attending at my own parish. I’ve never “heard the call” or had something “put on my heart” before. Before meeting these Bethany women, I’d never even spoken those phrases.
I was tempted to push the thought aside, as, truth be told, I already had a couple of times in the past year. I had my “reasons” — we might move and change parishes in a couple of years (years!); it’s a lot of work; I’m not really a people-person; if my parish wanted such a group, it’d already have one. I was thinking all these things when my friend Yvette turned around and said, “I really think you are supposed to reach out to the moms in your own church.” And I burst into tears. Yep, me. That tells you something, eh?
So I got some advice from a few people on how to go about doing such a thing, and then I e-mailed the Faith Formation Minister at my parish saying that I would like to have a weekly group for SAHMs (that’s stay-at-home-moms for those of you not up on the “Mommy Wars” lingo). I did expect much in response because it just didn’t seem like something that was “done” in most Catholic parishes. (I should have known better. St. Pat’s definitely falls on the liberal end of the spectrum.) Erin was ecstatic. She said she’d been wanting to start a group like this since she began her job a couple of years ago but something else always came up.
We met and discussed our ideas. I could tell she was more interested in making it social over spiritual and I the opposite but you’ve got to start somewhere. Anyway, we decided to hold a couple of interest meetings to see how many moms (actually she suggested it be “parents” but really I know they’ll all be moms) with what age kids were interested and when they’d like to meet. We thought it would be good to start the official meetings the first week of Lent and work through a Lenten reflection booklet the Archdiocese puts out. Well, nobody showed at either meeting despite a few people expressing interest to Erin.
I suggested a few weeks later that we just set a time, publish it in the bulletin and on the calendar and start meeting. If it was just me and the one other woman who showed serious interest, so be it. People would eventually show up. Erin said that was a good idea, but never did anything about it.
The last week she e-mailed Sandi and me to set up a time. The two of us met on Wednesday, and Erin staffed the nursery for our three kids. The idea is to eventually have members of the group staffing the nursery but right now that would leave one of us with the kids and one talking to herself. LOL. Oh, incidentally, we settled on Wednesday, which means we can no longer go to the other group. I’m a little sad about that but even the pastor’s wife there said two might be a bit much!
Sandi and I talked about the basics of our lives, our past experiences with mom’s groups and a little bit about our faith background — She has a brother who was miraculously cured after being bedridden with MS and is now a minister at a start-up nondenominational church. Seriously. She’s excited for her 2nd grader to have his first Communion; worried because her kindergartener says magic is more believable than God; amused that her 3.5 year old gives “Communion” to his stuffed animals. (Hope she doesn’t mind me sharing all that!)
So it was a good first meeting, and next time we’ll probably talk about where to go from here. There are so many young families in our church so I’m not sure why there hasn’t been more interest yet. We’re going to start having a nursery running during 10:30 Mass very soon so maybe I’ll meet some people while volunteering there and get the word out.
Please keep this effort in your prayers and thoughts.