Amanda Woodiel seeks input as she begins work in her parish to strengthen marriages and families.
One evening I was feeling burned out. Between keeping up with the various parish events I help plan and regular family duties as a mom of five kids, I was spent.
“Lord,” I said, “I just want to chuck it all and never plan anything again.”
This, of course, is exactly what would never happen; I sometimes think I’m not happy unless I’m planning something, plus how can you be a mom and not plan? However, planning event after event where the same (few) people come and where you have said all you know to say in as many ways as you know how to say it is enough to make anyone feel empty. I felt like my efforts (leading a moms’ group, managing a Boxes of Joy service project, planning parish parties and events that accord with the liturgical year) were scattershot, pretty fruitless, and not much supported by the parish. I went to bed discouraged, tired, and not sure what to do.
A few days later our pastor asked me to be on the equivalent of the parish council and to chair a committee whose priority is strengthening marriages and families. Oh, the irony. I had just told Our Lord how tired I was of planning things and here were some major goals to execute. But after discussing it with my husband as well as my spiritual director, it became clear that this invitation was the answer to my tired complaint. It would focus my own efforts in the direction the parish is going and would enjoy parish support.
I feel about as equipped as Moses did. Like him, I’m happy to tell God all about my limitations. But my act of faith is to try. Like Moses, along the way I will probably encounter some people unhappy with the direction we are going in, and likely along the way I will mess up. But hopefully, by God’s grace, we will make it to the Promised Land as a parish people.
While there are other committees with separate goals to minister to other populations of people at our parish, the goals given to my team are to:
- Institute extra curriculum in religious education (especially in the Confirmation preparation years) about discerning marriage as a vocation—not regarding it as simply a default option.
- Institute a mentorship program for engaged couples and early marriage couples (I would like to see this extended to those who have been married longer too!)
- Support parents in their role of raising faithful disciples by helping them to navigate technological and cultural challenges.
So here is where I am asking you, catholicmom.com readers, to please post in the comments your ideas. What could your parish do to support your marriage and family? What are your deepest needs? Where do you feel abandoned or alone?
What program have you heard about that seems really awesome or what does your parish do that is helpful?
Do you participate in a mentorship program, and if so, what’s it like?
How can your parish help you raise your kids in this cultural and technological milieu?
Let’s dream big together … and pray hard together. Thank you, sisters, for your help.
Copyright 2022 Amanda Woodiel
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About the Author
Amanda Woodiel is a Catholic convert, a mother to five children ages 11 to 3, a slipshod housekeeper, an enamored wife, and a “good enough” homeschooler who believes that the circumstances of her life -- both good and bad -- are pregnant with grace. She leads a moms' group at her parish that focuses on simple and meaningful ways to live the liturgical year at home. Amanda blogs at In a Place of Grace.