In Gratitude for Those Who Carry the Water

It’s been a busy spring. One Thursday morning during the sprint through the sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion, I woke in the wee hours, unable to sleep with all the To-Dos and details swirling in my mind. So I lit a candle and prayed a rosary. I’d love to say that I am so devoted to Our Lady that I knew a half-hour spent in prayer would alleviate all my anxieties and bring me spiritual insight and peace. But in reality, I was merely begging for sleep and hoping on repetition of prayers would deliver it.

The second Luminous Mystery was the miracle of the Wedding at Cana, in which Jesus turns six stone jars full of water into wine for a bridal party that has run out. And it struck me like this: out of His gratuitous grace and mercy, Christ overlooked the apparent poor planning of the celebrating families and provided the best wine of the night in superabundance. He rewards our bumbling progress toward Him with the gift of his life-giving love, rich and red and intoxicating. And I heard Mary’s reassuring words to the servants: “Do whatever He tells you.”

I found peace in that moment, knowing that no matter what happened in the coming weeks, as long as we were listening to Christ, His love would flow forth to fortify His people.

A good friend relates to the Cana story from the perspective of the servants, who are asked to go fill the water jars (which Scripture tells us hold 20 to 30 gallons apiece) and bring them to Jesus. This is back-breaking work, yet they obey and are the primary witnesses to Christ’s first miracle. I am grateful for those who have carried the water for Kathy and me during my first year here—for our teachers and facilitators; for our deacons and priests; and especially, for the Faith Formation Advisory Committee (FFAC), which has encouraged me and shaped my thinking and efforts these past several months.

The FFAC has done tremendous work over the years, quietly carrying the water that has been poured out as wine for our parish. From leading the change to family catechesis to improving attendance and retention, evaluating program materials and curriculum, and examining trends and best practices in sacramental preparation across the archdiocese, the FFAC has transformed how we approach religious education at our parish. As a result, other parishes are coming to us to learn from us.

Indeed, the FFAC has tackled so many challenges in the past several months that committee members agreed the April meeting would be their last. Beginning in May, a new faith formation “core team,” the LIFT Crew, will take over the role of helping to plan and implement next year’s programs. And while many of the FFAC members plan to attend the team’s soon-to-be-scheduled kickoff meeting, most plan to move into other ministries.

So let’s take this opportunity to thank them by name: president Greg Huber, vice president Nicole Worms, secretary Jeannine Barthel, and committee members Nora Dehmer, Julie Ferry, Lois Pegg, and Ben Sartori. May God continue to bless and guide you and your families, your vocations and ministries—and may He reward you richly for carrying the water on behalf of St. Michael Catholic Church.

Blogger’s Note: This article appears in the Sunday, April 26, church bulletin .

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