I spent two days in St. Paul last week, training to become a
VIRTUS facilitator. VIRTUS is the archdiocese-approved program for helping
church employees and volunteers keep our children and youth safe from abuse. A
number of the presenters spoke of feeling called
to protect kids—and I immediately felt out of place, not because I don’t want
to keep kids safe, but because by primary motivation for signing up to become a
facilitator was, “Somebody’s gotta do it.”
|Given March 11, 2015|
But over the course of the training the leaders encouraged
us to think more deeply about our motives, and I learned something about myself.
I told the gentleman next to me, “Our church is like a second home to me and my
family—we’re there all the time!—and if there’s anything I can do to make it
safer, so that my family and other families can feel at home there, I want to
Maybe there was a deeper call there after all.
Two weeks ago I announced that we were putting together a
new team of people to help shape our faith formation programs going forward. So
far, Kathy and I have received 20 responses about joining the LIFT Crew—15 yes and 5 maybe—from current and past teachers, FFAC members, small-group
facilitators, and more. Only one person I’ve spoken to has said no, and even
she shared an hour’s worth of great ideas from more than a decade of teaching
kids in our parish.
Think about that for a moment: We have people in this
community who have been sharing their faith with children for ten, twenty, even
thirty years! We have a committee of dedicated parishioners who work behind the
scenes to create, promote, and improve LIFT with little public recognition of
their time, effort, and results. We have people who are committed to praying
specifically for the success of our programs and the conversion of souls. We
have teens who, without knowing or asking what it might entail, have said, “Mr.
Thorp, I saw that you are looking for people to help with LIFT—sign me up!”
We are surrounded by people who love the Lord and want to
live out His call to make disciples. That’s a beautiful thing.
And it works: these people are setting a high bar that others
respond to with more prayer, more service, more love. Last Wednesday I went to
the archdiocese for training, then hustled back to St. Michael to prepare for
LIFT and Confirmation classes. Kathy and both priests were gone, two
Confirmation teachers were out, and another was running late. Two out of three
videos were malfunctioning, and the mic in the gathering space wouldn’t plug
in. I joked that my goal for the evening was to survive.
At the end of the night, one of our catechists handed me a
picture. It was a pencil drawing of a “spiritual bouquet” from her Confirmation
class, with each flower labeled with an act of sacrifice and love her teens had
pledged to perform for me and my family in the coming weeks. Prayers, chaplets,
and rosaries. Holy Hours in the Adoration chapel. Pain and suffering. Offered
up for my family and for me. What else can I do but reciprocate?
Christ calls us to love, and we respond. Love begets love
begets love. It’s a beautiful thing.
Blogger's Note: This article appears in the Sunday, March 22, church bulletin .
Labels: church, column, community, faith, family, prayer, vocation, work