Several years ago, our youngest son asked if we could give a friend of his, I’ll name “Joe”, a ride to school on the first day of senior high. I happily agreed to share the excitement of this new adventure and off we headed to pick up Joe. As Joe jumped into the van you could sense his excitement. “Excited for your freshman year?” I asked. “ I’m so excited to get a new start”, Joe replied. “New start? “, I replied. “Yes, Mama Evans, I get to have new teachers and I’m hoping they will see me as a new kid and not know me as the little brother of_______.” You see he continued on to explain, my sisters and brothers have not always made good choices and I’m trying really hard to learn from them. I want to get good grades, and be something when I grow up. I just want a chance for them to see I’m a good kid.
My heart sank. How could a young teen feel so diminished and so excited to be seen as the gift they are in the world all at once? How could the words and actions of others have created this sense of judgment in a young person? How could I help support and build up this young person?
As another school year begins and we prepare to welcome children, youth and families to Faith Formation, I am reminded of the lesson Joe taught me many years ago. Everyone wants to be good, to be something, to have others believe in them and be respected.
I was blessed over the years to witness this young person develop into a respectful young man. He had the resilience to strive to be better than others thought of him.
Another school year has begun and as fall approaches we return to a rhythm of learning. We are all on a life long journey of faith. We all have the opportunities to welcome and encourage one another in many ways to support the “Joe’s” of our community. Many of us may have some “Joe” in us.
St. Francis de Sales writes, “Be who you are, and be that well.” We are called to reflect Christ’s light into the world and from the very core of our breath.
As we begin this fall, we have many opportunities to share Christ’s light in the world. Each Wednesday this fall we will be offering a community meal prior to Faith Formation classes. This meal is an opportunity for all of us to share our stories, come to know one another, give witness to and recognize Christ within each other and share a meal. It provides us an opportunity as we share a meal and our lives, to be the Body Of Christ for and with one another. We invite all to come to this free will offering meal on Wednesdays this fall at St. Peter’s Dining Room. The menu and dates are posted on the bulletin boards as well as our parish web site. Volunteers are always welcome.
We all have an opportunity this fall to have a new start to the school year. This fall, consider how you will engage in the Body of Christ we are building in our parishes of St. Peter and St. Paul-all are welcome!