Parish life grounds us in the love of God

Simply stewardship
Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org

by Lesle Knop

We have a routine on Sunday mornings. He wakes first and takes the dog out. I make coffee. He eats breakfast while I get dressed. 

While driving in our truck from our home in the country to our parish in town for early morning Mass, everything is the same. 

Last week, however, bouncing along, my husband broke our contented silence saying, “I love going to Mass. I love going to Mass — with you.”

I love going to Mass with him, too, and not because I know what it is like to go to Mass alone. 

I remember when my husband was a “Christeaster” — a Christmas and Easter Christian. That was before he converted to Catholicism not long after we were married, moved to the country and put down roots in parish life. 

When young people ask, “Why do I give to the church?” I want to respond, “Why not?” In the short time we have to live on this earth, it is a blessing that my husband and I have come to know many friends from our parish, and they have come to know us. 

We are the church. We are the people of faith seeking communion with God. Christ commanded us to love God and to love our neighbor. By going to church, we live this commandment, spiritually and physically.

Within the simple beauty of our humble parish church, we are reminded of the saints and their examples of extraordinary goodness. The homilies given by our pastor from the ambo every Sunday often help us to deal with mundane problems. 

During Mass, we are connected to the past, to the present and to the future. We pray for the souls of our departed loved ones, pray for each other, are contrite in our confessions, seek forgiveness and celebrate the promises given to us by Jesus Christ.

With babies crying behind us, musicians sharing their talents from the choir loft, the liturgies before us, the saints above us, we are surrounded by life. Each weekly parish bulletin provides examples of good works being done by the people of our parish, at our parish school and in our archdiocese.

This year, the Archbishop’s Call to Share, our annual appeal that benefits more than 43 different ministries, bears the theme: “Never Alone, Always Loved.” Giving to the appeal is an opportunity to do something “beautiful for God” that will help saints and sinners alike.

I am convinced that God loves each of us. There is something very special in the relationship between faith in God and the religious practices that bring us joy.

I understand why my husband said he loves going to Mass with me. Mass reminds us of how much we are loved. Every Mass brings us closer to God.

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