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  • Writer's pictureJill

Christmas-ing with Friends!

Lots of fun and laughter with our friends. Here's the inside scoop.

It's a rather personal story, but here goes.

Robert and I have been practicing Catholics all our lives. We attended Catholic grade school (where we met in the first grade), Catholic high schools, and Catholic colleges. We remain practicing Catholics to this day, but to be honest, it's not always a comfortable space to be in.

We are an inclusive, progressive, family - and we hope we have raised our daughters that way. However, the Church doesn't always feel like that, and I have often railed against the positions it takes that exclude, or marginalize persons or groups.

We have felt grateful to be Jesuit educated where Catholicism translates into social justice concerns, and the belief that we should be "men and women for others."

So, when our parish of 30 years was assigned a new conservative pastor, and things began to feel uncomfortable, we were at a crossroads. We couldn't in good conscience continue worshipping in a place that did not feel welcoming to all. But where to go? We felt like we had lost our spiritual community.We didn't want to give up belonging to a Catholic community, but we didn't have much hope that we would find a parish near us to call home.

We despaired for several months, and couldn't bring ourselves to attend Mass.

Then, one Sunday, about a year ago, I told Robert, "We're driving down the boulevard about 6 miles to another parish that we're going to try. We might just have to drive a ways to find a home."

When we walked into Church that Sunday, you won't believe what we saw.

In two pews, clustered together, like a flock huddling together, were a 1/2 dozen or more parishioners from our previous parish! They too, had felt the sense of disenfranchisement that we had. And they too had decided that they needed to find a new place to call home.

When I saw them, I cried. This could be our new home! The hope of being able to worship in community again seemed possible. And, luckily, the new parish is a great fit for us. Inclusive, and warm. And since that day, more parishioners have migrated down the boulevard to join us. We can almost fill 3 pews when we're all there at one time!

So that's who was invited to our first Christmas party. Our new family. We were so thankful to be able to celebrate with them.



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