Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

7/3/2014 (3 weeks ago)

Blessings In Brelinskyville (brelinskyville.blogspot.com)

Ministering To Those On The Outside

At long last, Monsignor and his faithful altar servant strode back in my direction. Positioned several feet behind the last row, I prayed the sprinkled blessings would reach little Pio and me. Then, to my amazement, Father not only hit my target, but he brushed passed and pushed open the heavy, wooden doors behind me which led to the community room. While most priests might have contained their ministry to inside of the sanctuary space, he recognized there were sheep beyond the confines and, like the Good Shepherd, he sought them out.

Matthew 19:14
Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'

Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'

Highlights

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Blessings In Brelinskyville (brelinskyville.blogspot.com)

7/3/2014 (3 weeks ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: brelinsky, ministry, Pentecost, reaching those outside, Body of Christ


ZEBULON, NC - With a ten month old at hip, I'd taken up my usual place at the rear of the sanctuary so as to distance my noise-maker from the attentive audience. It was Pentecost Sunday, the Church's birthday, and Monsignor was traversing the aisles between pews. A pine branch in place of the aspergillum, he was dotting his parishioners with holy water blessings.

He seemed to take an extra long time, weaving through the maze of pews, all the while dipping and flicking that broken, wet branch. Just when I thought he'd direct his path towards me, he turned again done another row. Of course, paying attention to the details and taking extra care in sacred matters wasn't surprising, this was Monsignor Williams after all. And while not exactly as dismissive of time as St. Pio of Pietrecina (who was known to celebrate three hour long Masses), he wasn't in the habit of curtailing the Lord's Holy Sacrifice in order to satisfy forty-five minute man-made quotas either.

See our exquisite rosaries here.


At long last, Monsignor and his faithful altar servant strode back in my direction. Positioned several feet behind the last row, I prayed the sprinkled blessings would reach little Pio and me. Then, to my amazement, Father not only hit my target, but he brushed passed and pushed open the heavy, wooden doors behind me which led to the community room. While most priests might have contained their ministry to inside of the sanctuary space, he recognized there were sheep beyond the confines and, like the Good Shepherd, he sought them out.

Keeping in mind this pastor, who (only weeks away from "retirement") struggles with the physical challenges of an aging body, I was struck by this living testimony of the gospel. Typically, those of us resigned to the far corners of the building (i.e. basements, corridors and cry rooms) have to take up our cross and, like the land-locked crowds facing Jesus' boat, be satisfied with the grace that come through speakers and TV screens.

Watching Monsignor meet his parishioners where they were, I thought about the importance of stepping outside of our comfort zones, of being Jesus's hands and feet beyond the beaten paths of our ordinary, comfortable travels.

A few friends of mine have children with special needs and they routinely face the challenges of not only meeting their daily needs, but of dealing with the misunderstandings and harsh criticisms of bystanders. Understandably, I admit my own irritation when I encounter some wild child running amok in the superstore while a parent stares mindlessly at a smart phone or the unconsoled wailing of a toddler (who isn't being removed) during the Mass readings. And it is true that parents do need to discipline appropriately and occasionally remove disruptions. But with that being said, those parents and children are no less in need and perhaps might be more so in need of Christ's presence.

One particular Sunday, I heard a bit of a ruckus as Mass was being offered. Shifting my gaze sideways to the other side of the sanctuary rear, I watched a weary mother trying in earnest to juggle two little girls by herself. I could read the frustration on her face as she fed the more rambunctious of the petite darlings Cheerios and pushed a sippy cup her way. As the littlest one twirled, I saw the mama take to the kneeler and close her eyes. I imagine she was praying for peace or perhaps, like I have so many times, laying out her sorrows and begging for her sacrifice to be enough.

At some point in the Mass exodus she disappeared and so I never had the chance to introduce myself. But I overheard a conversation of which her children were the topic. The noise had not gone unheard and fellow parishioners were voicing their displeasure.

Sadly, they weren't privy to the lone mother's struggle that morning. They hadn't seen her solo-parenting arrival nor watched her face contort in vexation as she longed to soak in the Word, but was instead focused on keeping her girls' winces to a dull roar.

Jesus said, Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, ...


Laying aside the cry room debate and the Mass isn't a picnic argument, I think the problem is that we so often want to stay inside the parameters of our self-designated space. We can so easily discount those who are on the 'outside.'

About eight years ago we belonged to this wonderful, tiny parish of mostly retired couples. As the parents of six with another on the way, we stood out (I mean really because we barely managed to cram into a pew). No doubt our family may have brought some before absent disruptions, but rather than eye our brood with suspicion we were adopted and assimilated. Our children breathed some youthful life in to the church and we learned to be better parents under the tutelage of our more mature peer.

The grandmothers of St. Catherine's were quick to grasp a small, wandering hand or invite a fidgeting Brelinsky to sit beside them. They remembered well the difficulties of parenting their own and so easily slipped on our 'shoes.' And our children sensed the camaraderie, they recognized that mom and dad were not flying solo, but that we were all members of the Body.

Like Monsignor, the members of that parish didn't restrict Jesus' reach. They took the time to meet us, know us and minister to us. They could have stayed planted in their 'designated' pews and kept close company with established friends, rather than widen their circle and include us. My family would have suffered for it because while God would draw us far from that location (due to a necessary move) less than two years later the graces we received continue to this day.

I wish I had had the chance to encourage that frazzled mother, to offer her a compliment and a warm smile. To show her that Jesus does indeed want the little children around His table. I wish more people took the time to connect with the parents of special needs kids. To recall their inherit dignity and extend compassion and mercy their way.

In this age of pseudo-social kinship, we are failing all too often to make legitimate connections. We need to press open the doors and meet people where they are. Get to know one another, identify with our common ground and minister to one another's needs, so that some day no one will be left outside.

Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of eight living children, with six more heavenly ones who intercede. Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat, ducks, roosters and a flock of hens (in addition to all those wonderful kids). Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes simply for the the glory of God. You can read more of her musings and inspirations on her blog 'Blessings In Brelinskyville' (www.http://brelinskyville.blogspot.com/).

July is Sow a Seed month

---

Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of eight living children, with six more heavenly ones who intercede. Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat, ducks, roosters and a flock of hens (in addition to all those wonderful kids). Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes simply for the the glory of God. You can read more of her musings and inspirations on her blog.



Comments


More Blog

Hope Didn't Die With The Baby!

Image of A boy! We counted his tiny fingers and toes and marveled.

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

My son's life, while brief, impacted the world. On this day nineteen years ago, he not only opened my womb, he stretched wide my heart. He taught me how to love, to abandon myself for the sake of another. His life unraveled my plans and caused me to loosen my ... continue reading


Lord Keep Making Me Watch

Image of The title of a wonderful song by the 'Sidewalk Prophets'

By Jackie Stammen

Killing me. This song is killing me. When I hear a song and it strikes a chord with me, I WEAR IT OUT. Right now, 'Keep Making Me' by the Sidewalk Prophets has been on repeat in my car for days. The reason is because it's my truth. This is why it's resonating deep in ... continue reading


Is the Lord the Constant Refuge in the Midst of your Daily Life?

Image of Let prayer be your anchor to the Lord.

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

Prayer changes and adapts to the circumstances of our life. We will pray differently after we have worked hard all day and are tired as opposed to when we are just waking up in the morning. The rhythms of our life will also alter how we relate to the Lord. Learning how ... continue reading


Do You Believe You Are A Beloved Child Of The Father?

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

You are a beloved child of the Father. Do you believe it? NASHVILLE, TN - I recently wrote Wonderfully Made as a reminder of how beautifully and wonderfully made we really are. It's true. Jesus tells us so in the Bible.  Often hard to believe, but it is the ... continue reading


Do You Desire Things to go Your Way or God's Way?

Image of Free yourself by always putting God first.

By Jackie Stammen

We place too much emphasis on every last expectation we have of other people to do and act as we expect. To live within our guidelines, our parameters, and our vision of what is ideal. Moreover, we go so far as to demand perfection from other people as we pursue ... continue reading


Free e-Book 'Pondering Tidbits of Truth'

Image of Pondering Tidbits of Truth [Kindle Edition]

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

I have been blessed with the awesome job of being the blog editor for Catholic Online. This with all of my other 'work' has kept me from blogging recently. (At least that is my excuse.) I do have a very special message for Catholic Online Readers... LOS ANGELES, CA - I ... continue reading


Imagination is One of the Means by Which We Enter Into Relationship with God.

Image of Through prayer our imaginations can be healed and elevated by the work of the Holy Spirit

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

The imagination is powerful. It can either be a friend that helps us to imagine and explore the possibilities of a fruitful life, or it can be devastating enemy that keeps us ensnared in a tangled web of illusions, fears, and anxieties. ELIZABETH CITY, NC ... continue reading


Do you believe the Word of God?

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Why is it so difficult to believe the truth about ourselves? Why do we spend so much time beating ourselves down and telling ourselves exactly why we think we are not good enough instead of building ourselves in His Truth? NASHVILLE, TN - Why is it so easy to ... continue reading


Ordination: Answering the Lord's Call

Image of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver.

By Michael Clark

Each Spring the Catholic dioceses and Archdioceses across the nation have the distinct pleasure to celebrate the men who have answered the call of the Lord as priests. No matter how any priests I have talked to over the years, I don't think I will every truly ... continue reading


Learning to Hear God's Voice

Image of The Lord speaks to us in the working of our interior dialogue and our experience.

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

One temptation for beginners at meditation is to constantly worry about if something is coming from God or from their own imagination. We are familiar with the extraordinary visions and locutions of the Bible, and we tend to think that God either speaks in an ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 13:1-11
1 Yahweh said this to me, 'Go and buy a linen ... Read More

Psalm, Deuteronomy 32:18-19, 20, 21
18 (You forget the Rock who fathered you, the God who ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:31-35
31 He put another parable before them, 'The kingdom ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2014 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter