Last Sunday, our children had a choice between celebrating Elephant Appreciation Day at a local zoo (which is somewhat of a tradition for us ever since the year we did our Montessori-inspired unit on elephants), enjoying free family fun at a local community day (which promised a magician show, a reptile show and more!), or attending our church collaborative's barbeque and croquet event (which, we forewarned our crew other children might not attend.)
Boy, were we surprised when our three children chose the latter.
|Why go see entertainment when you can be entertainment? Nina wanted an audience for hula hoop tricks. Older parishioners happily obliged her, and before we knew it, the Stanger Kids Circus was gracing the church lawn.|
Happily surprised, in fact!
For, if there is one thing that I think is often missing in Catholic parish communities it is just that - community!
Too often, Catholics (myself included) complain that our parishes do not offer enough of a sense of community. We wish that we had the "church family" that other Christians seem to enjoy. Yet, such a sense of tight-knit relationships eludes us. Not only do we fail to find "family" in our parish communities, but we also have a hard time just making friends.
As folks run in and out of Mass and check off other "required" faith experiences, it's hard to make connections.
But, it does not need to be that way, does it?
And not everyone is running, right?
Not at all.
|Simple, "old" pastimes on the church lawn can bring "new" fun.|
Some folks already are slowing down and making time for one another. And if more of us join them, community can and will happen. Catholic parishes, I believe, can become like fellow Christian "church families" -- communities where people of faith truly know, care about and interact with each other outside of weekly services.
As the old saying goes, if you aren't a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem. So, I was thrilled when my children chose to forgo events in our wider community last Sunday in order to prioritize a parish event.
Our family was one of only two families with children there, but we still had such a good time chatting, playing and laughing alongside an inter-generational gathering of church folks. I hope more families choose to do the same at our next collaborative social.
How does you you find friendship and "family" within your church community?