Message from the Pastor

Living Our Mission: Accompany One Another in Christ

This week’s column is written by Lisa Dittmeier, Executive Assistant to the Pastor


Bulletin Issue: July 16 & 23, 2017

For many years, I worked as a teacher, originally in first grade and then in middle school. In my school district, both grades started off the year in a new building. Children came off the bus and hurried to colorful signs identifying their teacher. I remember the looks on the faces of those innocent children. I could see the uncertainly and apprehension of starting a new year, not knowing most of their fellow classmates.

As I introduced myself and asked their names, their tiny voices whispered a Jeremy or a Melissa. They formed a straight and somewhat silent line as they followed me into their new classroom.

As the morning progressed, we played games, getting to know each other. They learned how to make a positive statement about the person sitting next to them. As their teacher, it was my job to create a family in my classroom. I needed to take 24 young children and teach them mutual respect. Lunchtime came and we all sat together at two tables. Slowly, they began to make friends while sharing snacks. I overheard them talk about games, television and their siblings. By the time the buses arrived at the end of the day, the kids were laughing and chattering with each other. They would go home to tell their parents about their brand new friend and their amazing first day of school.

We all grow up and very often we still find ourselves at the first day of school. Moving to a new town, joining a new group or worshipping at a new parish can still evoke the same emotions felt by my young students as they tried to find their class on that first day of school. How nice it would be for someone to welcome them, to sit with them at coffee and to become a new friend.

It is easy for young children to reach out to others and welcome them into their hearts. As we get older, we find it more difficult to embrace those who are new. Perhaps we feel uncomfortable saying hello or are too preoccupied with the business of our lives.   But, perhaps we just haven’t thought much about what it would mean to someone new to be greeted with a smile and some friendly conversation over a donut.

By the end of June, my students truly became a family. They felt a part of something very special where they shared each day with their friends. They came to school not only to learn about math and reading, but also to learn about working together as a team, listening and sharing and making what did become lifelong friendships. Wouldn’t it be nice to expand our family as adults, opening our hearts to others and embracing the gift of all God’s children?