Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 12, 2007
Mom's pestering turned me into a regular churchgoer
The road to being a grown-up Catholic can be a rocky one
Me and My Church
By KIM HALDANE
When I was a young girl, church attendance was never optional. My mother would wake us all up at 8 a.m. and say "Time to get up, its time for Church."
I remember passionately arguing with her and pleading my case that maybe this week "I didn't need salvation" or I tried using the age-old "My friend Jenny's parents let her decide when she wants to go to church."
To which my mother would answer "Kim, we are going to church, when you are a grown up you can decide when to go to Church, but until then we go to Church as a family."
I didn't really get that at the time. I thought my mother was just an evil-doer out to make my adolescence horrible, first, by waking me up before noon on a weekend and, second, by not adhering to the adolescent rule of governed fairness that states "If my friend doesn't have to do something, why do I?"
Now that I am "grown up," I see why my mother was so strict about us attending church (and no it is not because she is an evil-doer or because she didn't adhere to my self-created and self-serving laws) but it was because she wanted us to all have a faith foundation from which we could draw on as adults.
This year I have moved six times to four different cities and each time I always found a little bit of "my family" at the local church.
Sure, at some churches they kneel when I was brought up to stand or they don't hold hands when praying the Our Father but all in all, going to Church felt like I was going home - it felt like I was with family.
To some extent, I guess, I am with my family when I am at Church. It took me a long time to realize this but Church is very much like a family.
Churches all have the crazy "uncles," the busy-bodied "aunts," the all-knowing "dads," the kind "grannies," the handy-man "grandpas," the compassionate "moms" and the "cousins" who you only see at Christmas - all these people make up the Church community.
Through university, when I wasn't living with my parents anymore, my mother used to call me every Sunday and ask "Kim, how was church today?" Sometimes I would lie and tell her about the "lovely" homily the "new" priest gave.
She would always catch me though when she asked "Oh, tell me about the homily and this new priest."
Other times, I would tell her "Mom, I am an adult, I don't need church and last night I stayed out far too late for you to be phoning before noon." When she found out I hadn't been to Church she would quickly look up a Mass that would accommodate my late-rising.
Her constant encouragement and sometimes downright pestering did in the end work. The fact that she never made Church attendance optional - even as she had promised in my adolescence - has helped me become a "grown-up" in the Church.
You see in my mother's eyes. I wasn't a "grown up" until I could handle the responsibilities of a Christian adult. Now on Sundays I find myself longing for my mother to call and ask me about the homily. I actually now know the priest's name and I recently signed my husband and myself up for Sunday envelopes.
Does this mean I am a "grown-up" Catholic now? I don't really know - but I think a few more steps down this path should lead me to the place where they hand out the badges saying "Grown-up RC!" Right?
(Kim Haldane was raised in St. Albert and attended St. Joseph's College at the University of Alberta. She currently attends Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Burnaby, B.C.)
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