I am sure that this isn’t news, but Catholics today have a less than favorable view from the majority of society. Our beliefs and our values are the polar opposite of what many believe today and this has in turn had a ripple effect on our faith. This should be no surprise to anyone who attends Mass on a regular basis that congregations are shrinking in many areas, and the majority of those attending tend to be more in the middle to senior generation of believers. For parents of young Catholics, this is an even bigger issue as many of our children today are subjected to multiple influences that parents cannot control, making the job of raising children with Catholic values even harder. Having raised two young men together with my wife, I understand the challenges posed to parents today and it is not easy. At times it can be very discouraging to see churches close, Catholic schools consolidated, and see the genocide of Christians that is occurring in the Middle East on a daily basis. I wanted to share a recent experience that gives me hope and I found quite inspiring from a personal perspective.
I travel extensively for work. I work in Healthcare IT and while I love what I do, it does keep me on the road too often. The past few weeks I have been traveling to and from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and working out of a town called Decatur, Tx. This past week I did a little research and found that a local church was scheduled to pray the Rosary one night during the week, and I felt this would be a great opportunity to pray the Rosary as part of a community which I don’t get to do as often as I would like. I arrived at the church about 10 minutes early armed with my rosary in hand and sat in the church with one other gentlemen patiently awaiting the prayer to begin. With about 5 minutes to go another gentlemen came in and sat down in the back so I was beginning to think this was it, when the doors burst open and the church started to fill with teenagers. Each one grabbed a rosary and sat down in the pews to pray. More kept coming and by the time the facilitator walked in I would estimate that half the church was filled with teenagers ready to pray the Rosary. Now having been part of the RCIA program, I realize many of these kids were probably required to be there, but the inspiring part for me in addition to the number was the zeal and the passion displayed during the prayer. These kids needed a little help to get started, but each mystery and decade was read by one of the teenagers and they all participated paying close attention to words being spoken by the one leading the prayer. As I watched the group, I did not see the expected horsing around and disinterest in what was happening – it was quite the opposite. This give me tremendous hope that in a society that has many values that go against what we believe as Catholics that there are young people out there who embrace the faith at such an early age. I pray that they continue their journey as young Catholics with the same zeal and passion I saw in the church that evening. The one point that stuck in my mind as I walked out to my car was that God seems to find a way when we may not see it. It’s so easy to be discouraged, but God is hope and what I witnessed in that church in a small town in Texas was a true and living faith that has helped me and hopefully others to remember who our faith is all about and that He is very much alive in our world today.