The Catholics

By From the Heart | Catholic Education

Nov 07

The Catholics descended upon my household again.

Actually, I call them my Leaf Angels, but my neighbors call them “The Catholics” and threaten to convert to our church… though they haven’t quite yet.

With my wife in a nursing home due to radiation injury from a brain tumor, I am continually amazed by the support network I need, and receive, from my faith community… my larger faith community.

The Catholics are from St. Francis Xavier School. They have been coming for a few years now. They have raked leaves from our massive silver maples, mowed the fall lawn, cleaned up my poorly kept gardens, and even washed windows. They are such help! One year I had hand surgery; last year it was hernia surgery (is this TMI?). In both cases I really needed the help physically, still it was very humbling for me to let go of my desire to be self-sufficient.

This year was different. My need stems more from being overwhelmed. As my wife’s status slowly declines, I need to make her my priority over housekeeping and yard work. And this year, on the day of the descent of The Catholics, Mandy, sister-in-law and another Angel, had asked my wife to co-host a niece’s baby shower at the nursing home. What a gift! Mandy knew she would be doing the work, but she wanted to involve my wife as much as possible. And I needed to be there to host as I could.

So here were The Catholics, giving up their Saturday, while I left them working in my yard. I felt bad and worked out at least a small bit of time to help them help me. I finally got out there, and offered a meager bit of time. A lead Catholic said, “No this is for you. We have plenty of help.”

The phrase “this is for you” really touched my heart.

I wanted to graciously accept their help, so I went back in, took a few surreptitious photos for this post, and pondered their gift. I mulled over how they were making real the Reign of God right in my front yard. Regardless of their theologies, ideologies, or backgrounds, they came together in a working community and reached out, not only to my wife and me, but as a witness to my neighbors, all those who saw them working together, and those who see the “Saints in Service” sign in my front yard as I write this post. Maybe I should add “The Catholics in Community”.

Since that Saturday, I have pondered more about making real the Reign of God. Faced with so many societal and church challenges, could that be the solution to shaping our environments? Rather than spending time festering on opinions and polarizations, maybe I can simply ask myself, how can I, like The Catholics, DO more to make real the Reign of God?

What would God’s dream be for the Reign Jesus announced? What is God asking of me in terms of immigration, life issues, ecology, healing, and justice… and even church issues like parish planning? My priority is shifting from having to know the right answers to trying to do the loving thing. All because of The Catholics.

How can I thank them? My guess is that they don’t need my thanks… that making real the Reign of God is enough thanks for them. They are, after all, The Catholics.

 Photos were created with Photofunia. While some of the effects are simply ‘fun’, it is another graphics program to become familiar with to add to your repertoire as a digital storyteller. It is good to have a number of tools at hands for 'that right moment' as you create your posts.

Tim Welch is the Consultant for Educational Technology at Catholic Education Ministries, Diocese of Saint Cloud, MN. With more that 35 years of experience at the parish and diocesan levels, he is continually searching for ways of journeying with others to implement proven technologies that can serve ministry (especially catechesis).

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(5) comments

Deb Forstner November 7, 2018

This is so beautiful, Tim. The Servant Song by David Haas comes to mind. So glad you have had the grace to allow these wonderful Catholics to be your servants. Your writing about it is a service to us all.

Geralyn Nathe-Evans November 8, 2018

What a beautiful reflection that invites me to a glimpse of what the kingdom is here and now. You and Jeanne continue to inspire and amaze me. Thank you for this beautiful gift, you are both such blessings to myself and the kingdom!

KStolpman November 9, 2018

Your commentary beautifully recognizes and honors the blessings “the Catholics” passed on to you. So often we don’t know how we’re being blessed. Thank you for sharing something so delightfully wonderful.

Paula Foley November 9, 2018

Great article. Inspiring!!!

Bill Miller January 19, 2019

Tim, this is a wonderful reflection. You are an artful storyteller, with the added gift of being able to tell great “Faith Stories”. You have given me yet another opportunity to reflect upon how God is at work in all of our lives…every day. Thank You!

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