By Stacy LaMorte
Do you remember back in high school or college when your parents told you that the more involved you were at school, the more fulfilling your overall experience would be? The adage “You get out of it what you put into it” is true even in our faith lives.
We can’t expect to have a fulfilling spiritual and church experience if we show up on Saturday or Sunday and never get to know anyone, never get involved, leave as soon as Communion is over and don’t participate in singing or the responses.
We also can’t expect our children to participate fully in the Mass if we aren’t! As we know, they do what we do, not what we say to do. It is our responsibility as parents to model the behavior we hope to see in our children.
If you are not already involved in your church parish, look for your parish’s ministry fair – a campaign that introduces different organizations in the parish inviting parishioners to get involved.
I didn’t realize how important that was until I moved to California and didn’t know anyone at my church. I looked around, and every face was new to me. About the same time, I noticed a parish wide sign up for all the different parish offerings.
I was a teacher, and they were looking for Catechism teachers. I signed up and instantly found my own little community within my church. It made me happy to see the children and their parents at Mass on Sundays. I also got to know the other teachers and their families.
Since then, I have always volunteered in some way in my parish. It may be as little as once a month, but find a way to get involved in your parish. If you are not a “people person,” you can help with the parish food bank or cleaning the church.
If you are not physically able to do things like that, see if you can volunteer in the parish center with light office duties.
Modeling these behaviors for your children and even getting them involved, if you can, will show them that the church is not just a building to which we go every week but the people inside the building. It will help instill a life-long love of service.