Blogger’s Note: For those few of you who still follow this blog and don’t attend St. Michael Catholic Church, the article below was published at our pastor’s request as a self-introduction to the community in last weekend’s parish bulletin.
As of this week, I have been your new faith formation director for one month. The transition feels fresher than that, and I feel just as green, in many ways, as on the first day in the office. As I’ve said more than once, it’s like I’m a first-time parent again: like I have been entrusted with something precious and fragile and sent home with lots of advice and no clear idea of what to expect next.
Okay, it’s not as bad as all that. My wife Jodi and I have been parishioners here for 11 years now; two of our children (Trevor and Lily) have been born and baptized here, and our older kids (Brendan, Gabe, and Emma) have been altar servers and active in the youth group and other activities. Jodi and I were youth leaders at our previous parish—St. Michael’s in Remus, Michigan—and have been LIFT catechists, liturgical ministers, Natural Family Planning and God’s Plan For a Joy-Filled Marriage witnesses, and CRHP witnesses here. I also served on the Faith Formation Advisory Committee during the transition to LIFT, so I understand what we’re trying to accomplish and know how hard Carol and Kathy have worked over the years to build our core program.
Nevertheless, this is a big shift for me. I was baptized in the Faith but not raised in it, and I became a husband and father before I became a confirmed and practicing Catholic. Until last month, I had spent my entire professional career in journalism and communications. Jodi and I have talked for several years about the possibility of me working for the Church someday, but never imagined the call would come this soon. And it is a call. This past Monday’s reading from the prophet Hosea described the Lord leading His people to a desert place and speaking to their heart—and professionally, this past year was desolate and lonely, until former colleagues, friends, and family all began to urge me to pray and to think about what I was being called to do.
I prayed. I did my best to listen. And I’m here…now what?
We visited some of our former youth group “kids” in Michigan earlier this month, one of whom was recently featured in the Diocese of Grand Rapids magazine for her beautiful pro-life witness. In the article, Natalie jokes about how much she could accomplish if God would just give her a clear to-do list. Instead she—and we—are called into a relationship and an ongoing conversation with God, in which we get to know Him day by day, enabling us to better hear, understand, and respond to His desires for us.
That’s where I find myself now. We have a beautiful parish and community, faith-filled priests, strong core programs, devout and dedicated catechists, and a rookie faith-formation director who is on the job, but still praying and listening. We have a firm foundation and so much potential—and I look forward to hearing from and working with you as we continue to become a people living for Christ.