In response to a question asked by one of our RCIA Candidates we first asked our some of our moms to answer the question: what does it look like to thread our faith through each facet of our lives? What does it look like to parent catholic and to work as a catholic and to not allow ourselves to put other things in front of God? Now we turn to the dads to give their insight. These are their answers.
Recently I was asked how do you balance your faith, with parenting, work, and with life in general. In order to answer this question I had to determine my priorities in life. Balancing my faith, with everything else in my life is a constant process of adjusting and reevaluating my priorities. I make sure to keep my faith life at the top of the list. My faith helps guide me in my day to day decision making.
Before I begin, let me share a little background on my faith life. I was raised Catholic and I valued my Catholic faith. I attended Catholic grade schools and high school (Moeller). When I went to college (BGSU) I was not as active in my faith as I should have been. After college I married my wife, Karen, we started a family together. During this time in my life we were attending Mass on most Sundays, but I was not very involved in the parish. When the parish priests asked for volunteers, I would volunteer my wife. Before 2012, my involvement in parish activities was focused more on coaching my children’s sports teams at SMOY. I would say that my faith was not the priority, but I knew that I was obligated to attend Mass, and I wanted my children to be raised in the faith.
The Turning Point:
In 2011, I was 39 years old, I had three young children, a wife, a mortgage, two car payments, tuition fees, financial responsibilities…. It was during this time that I went from enjoying life to struggling to just get by. My faith life was definitely lacking, and I was feeling a level of depression that I had never experienced before. Men in the parish invited me to join Father’s Team, which I did attend. By the way, they meet Friday mornings at 6:03 AM. I was invited to join the Knights of Columbus, which I did in 2012. I am an officer in the KofC. In October 2012, I attended the Mens Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) weekend retreat at St. Margaret of York parish. I entered the weekend retreat with little expectations. I remember sitting in this classroom with men that I really did not know and then listening to men on the Giving Team share their witnesses (faith journey) with the Receiving Team. The Giving Team shared powerful and challenging stories about their lives. Some of these men had experienced significant loss in their lives, but they also shared with the men on the Receiving team how their faith and their faith community (parish) helped them get through some of those challenges and difficult periods. As I sat in that room on a Saturday morning, I realized what I was missing. I needed a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ. It was time for me to take ownership of my faith. As Father John Ricardo (Sacred Heart Radio) has referenced, “I was sacramentalized, but I had not been evangelized” until this moment. The weekend transformed me. From that point forward, I began to delve deeper into my faith. I continued on to be part of the CRHP (now Welcome) Giving Team #25. In 2014, my wife and I were approached by members of the parish to lead the CRHP ministry (renamed Welcome CRHP 2.0). Just as men shared their faith with me, I was called to share my faith with others. I continue to share my faith with family, friends, and people that God puts before me on a daily basis.
I realize that not everyone will have the same transformational weekend experience that I was blessed to have. I am so thankful, and I was so fortunate to have a Holy Spirit moment presented to me by other great men of faith at SMOY at a time in my life when I was ready to open my mind and heart to Christ. During this process, I have learned that Christ is always reaching out to us. Christ is seeking us and wants us to turn to him. We all have our own faith journey, and we each need to determine where God and our faith fits into our lives. My faith journey allowed me to suffer in 2011 only to experience a renewal in my faith and a desire to deepen my relationship with Christ and evangelize the faith in 2012. Sometimes it is when we feel broken that we finally let Christ in. I have learned that I must continue to strengthen my relationship with Christ through prayer, Reconciliation, adoration, the Eucharist, fellowship, etc.
How do I balance my faith with parenting, work, and life in general? Living my faith is a priority. I surround myself with wonderful people of faith, and I take time to share my faith with others when opportunities present themselves. My experience in CRHP has given me confidence to evangelize like I never had before. I share my faith with my family. As part of this letter, I asked my three teenage children (Sarah, Megan, and Logan) how my faith has impacted them. They said that they have learned the importance of attending Mass, praying, community service, and living out our faith from the example that my wife Karen and I have demonstrated. 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to know that my children follow the Lord.” Through CRHP I also began to read the Bible. At work I do not shy away from my faith. If someone asks me about my faith or seeks a prayer request, I am happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability and offer up prayers as requested. My renewed experience in the faith has also shown me that it is also very important to share fellowship with one’s parish community. It is through fellowship that community bonds are formed and strengthened.
Guest Post Written By: John Burke
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” St. John Paul II
Part 5 will be posted on May 27, 2020