I've already mentioned that we moved to try and get out of debt and drastically lower our house payments. I didn't mention that I did NOT want to leave our beloved parish family at SEAS. I scoured the Internet looking for houses that we could afford in the SEAS parish boundaries. The only houses we could find with our VERY modest budget were either super tiny or in very bad shape. Our realtor began to show us repos and foreclosures. I noticed you could do a search online by bank owned properties. Our current house popped up and I thought it was too good to be true...then I looked at the address...not in my preferred boundaries. I just knew there had to be something wrong with it, so I scheduled an appointment to prove to myself that I was doing the right thing trying to stay near SEAS. Although the house had been abandoned and neglected, the bones and structure were excellent...and the square footage was abundant. We were happy to find a home that offered almost everything we needed...I told myself we could still stay at SEAS and just drive. Something inside me(probably the Holy Spirit) told me that we needed to bloom where we transplanted and Don telling me driving back and forth would be difficult. I knew that Jesus was present in every tabernacle, yet I was still very attached to SEAS. To Don's great relief, we returned to the parish I grew up in, got married in, spent the first several years of our marriage in, and had our first 3 children baptized at. Although, it was good to be back home, I spent that summer mourning our move because I missed SEAS so much.
I started to go with my Mom to adoration every Sunday night and prayed for an accepting heart. I began to notice that several people came and went out of the chapel and often when they entered, they kept low to the ground and left backwards, never turning their backs to Jesus. They knew they were on holy ground. "Is this normal?", I whispered to Mom. She nodded silently. I saw the genuine love and great reverence they had for Him. I started noticing that the church was often packed with many people. Our parish priest, Father Jerome, is very involved with his parishioners and he genuinely cares for each person. Although our parish is very poor, He works hard to make St. Pat's a safe and beautiful oasis of holiness.
When I took my children to Catchesis of the Good Shepherd at the school, the teachers seemed to really love the children. I overheard a conversation between 2 teachers talking about how they were going to miss the kids over the summer break...really??? Yes. One of them even wiped away tears as she spoke. There are teachers with Master's degrees who sacrifice raises out of love for the students and the parish. I have seen the teachers between classes hug the children as they pass through the halls, give high-fives, tossle their hair, give them encouraging words, and sometimes just a big ol' grin.
Because it's a smaller parish, Noah and Jonah get to serve Mass more often. Don has just blossomed!! I've never seen him so happy and wanting to be involved. Hannah has made some very sweet friends. There always seems to be something to do, from parish potlucks and beautiful Hispanic celebrations to parish work days and youth activities. And...I have discovered a few things to do as well;)
This is a good place. A holy place. A place I never knew I would love.
Don and the kids are involved more than I ever dreamed possible. I feel that we are blooming. Praise be always to God.