Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gratituesday--Church Family

Fr. Ken and My Little Guy
When Mike and I were dating we lived on opposite sides of the city. We are both Catholic, so it was easy for us to know what faith we wanted to be married in and raise our children to believe in. He had grown up going to the same church his Dad and Grandpa had grown up going to. The priest that was at that church for many of his formative years had a big impact on him and he wanted us to have him preside at our wedding. However, Fr. Don had gone on to be the rector of St. Francis Seminary and no longer had a church that we could belong to. I had grown up in the country and had not really found a church to belong to in the city. Together we were able to look for a church to be our own.
There was one really beautiful church with wonderful music that I hoped we could become a part of. We attended together for a while and even joined so that we could be married there. The longer we were a part of that church, the less at home we felt. The politics of that particular church did not match up with our views, the people were often less than welcoming and overall we just felt a bit of snobbery happening all around us. The straw that broke the camel's back had to be the new member welcome potluck. There were about 8 families, the priest didn't stop in to say anything, the food was horrible...I knew then we couldn't stay...bad potluck=bad church in my book. Real believers can cook. Okay, some probably can't, but really a church should be able to host a meal and be welcoming. And there were other issues, but really this is a post of gratefulness. Just wanted you to enjoy the journey that makes us so grateful now!
We went to many different churches, but found out that Fr. Don had started helping out some weekends at a church near our home (at that point it was Mike's house, now we all live here). It was close enough that we even were able to bike there in good weather. The church itself is not pretty. Really, everyone talks about how not pretty it is. The carpet is orange and there is a lot of it. The people are wonderful and are the real beauty in this church. They have Life Teen masses and the music is amazing. We went to a reception after church one Sunday...and the food was good! Even better, people talked to us and introduced us to other people. And then they actually were excited about what we had to offer the parish. And they were nice and down to earth and the church was focused on the local community and reaching out to those in need. Service was talked about, faith was focused on and people were at the heart of everything. The priest not only like accordions, but played as well. Fr. Ken provided much food for thought every weekend and humor at all times. And the food was good! Seriously, we were hooked, we joined, little guy was baptized there and all has been wonderful. It is great to have a faith community to call home.
And now we have to say good bye to the priest that did so much to foster that environment and to make us feel at home. Fr. Ken is going to be heading to another church and we are going to be getting a new priest, Fr. Tom. On Saturday there was a special mass and reception as a farewell to Fr. Ken. There were lots and lots and lots of tears shed throughout the service. He has been at this church for 12 years (we've been there 2) and his impact has been far reaching. Everyone is sad to see him go and we will all miss him terribly. I know he will be loved at his new church and I'm sure we will all come to enjoy having Fr. Tom with us. Fr. Ken's greatest blessing to our church has been how he cultivates service and community. His impact will go on even as he has a new home now. Mike and I are so grateful that he made us feel so welcome and so encouraged and so appreciated in this rather large church. We are grateful that we have a faith family that is so important to us and that we can be an active part of!

Mike enjoying playing at the farewell reception!

The cake pictured below is a nod to Mike as well. At a fundraising dinner Fr. Ken agreed to play his accordion for the first time in front of the parish. He was very nervous and emotional as he said he wouldn't play until it was time for him to leave the parish...and now that time had come. Mike agreed to back him up and do a little playing as well. Fr. Ken got in position in the middle of the stage and they planted Mike behind the curtain with a microphone. Mike began playing The Clarinet Polka and Fr. Ken mimed it with his accordion. Everyone went nuts and was cheering...then Fr. lifted up his hands and the music kept on going! The crowd laughed like crazy. The gag went over really, really well and took a few of the nerves out! Fr. Ken then played a song and Mike helped him out. Mike continued to do a few more while Fr. Ken danced with some of the attendees and the night was a success. This cake is from his reception...made for a great photo. Look, no hands!

We will miss you Fr. Ken! Thank you for everything.

This post is also at Heavenly Homemakers Gratituesday. See more things we are grateful for here.



  1. Very nice! I am so happy that your family has found a place to call home and that you feel so welcome. Amen to the good food references! A church should know how to cook!

  2. I'm sure there are those out there who are not able to cook and are still faith filled. I just think that food is a way that we show hospitality and that it should be good. At the farewell reception the dessert tables were huge and still totally full when we left. They must have refilled it 4-5 times and there were still desserts that were never put out. This church can cook!

    More important, they can welcome and they can worship, but the chocolate doesn't hurt either!