Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

7/3/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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

The Secret Of My Heart (And Maybe Yours Too) Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Living deep in the recesses of my heart, there's a secret I've been keeping. I confess I've been way too proud to admit my secret for years. Too proud because admitting it out loud seems scary. Too proud because I fear how I will be perceived. Too proud because I don't ... continue reading


Live Authentically Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Matthew 23. NASHVILLE, TN - It's funny how life leads me to interpret things that I read differently at different times. I can read something once and glean from it something entirely different than I did a year ago reading the exact same thing. Today I read Matthew 23 ... continue reading


Hello Gorgeous Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Once upon a time I enjoyed shopping, like really enjoyed it. Perhaps because I grew up an hour from the nearest 'real' mall so it wasn't too often I would go within a year. My younger years were in a time before online shopping so that wasn't even an option. In middle ... continue reading


The Power of Making People Feel Welcome Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

One of the greatest things you can do for someone is to make them feel welcome. NASHVILLE, TN - A map dot. That's where I grew up. A tiny map dot in the great state of Ohio. Approximate population: 2,500. My hometown of St. Henry, OH is so small it's technically not ... continue reading


Mary My Mother - Be At my Side Watch

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

The great value of retreats is that the guidance and insight gained during those intense times of prayer and silence never stop giving. Every time I re-read my notes from past retreats I gain additional direction and encouragement. Let me share an example of what I ... continue reading


Never Stop Seeking Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

"Seek. The finding is not our job. Just seek and you will find." ~Father Kevin McGoldrick NASHVILLE, TN - Let your heart be led by the seeking. You don't have to know the outcome, you don't have to see the whole pathway, all you have to do is take the first step. It's ... continue reading


Happy New Year Resolutions! Watch

Image of

By Shelly A. Schneider

Did you make them? Have you already fallen off that proverbial wagon? I bet you at least gave the resolution thing some thought, especially after all that candy, turkey, mashed potatoes, ham, more mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc. In 2016, my resolutions are more ... continue reading


What To Do With Your Hearts, Works, Joys and Sorrows Each Day Watch

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

What a treasure trove of wisdom and spiritual insight our Church has accumulated over the centuries! The problem is that there are so many jewels, we forget what and where they are. CANASTOTA, NY - How fortunate I was to stumble upon this gem - this Advice to ... continue reading


Love Has Come Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (Jn 1:1) "And the Word became flesh..." (Jn 1:14) "...God is love." (1 Jn 4:8)What do these versus have in common, and what do they have to do with the Matt Maher song Love Has Come? ... continue reading


The Look Watch

Image of

By Shelly A. Schneider

My husband, Jim, and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I hope if you're married that you're still able to look at your husband or wife with love. I hope that time has not diminished, but enhanced, the love you feel for your spouse. And I hope you ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • 10 important things to consider during Lent
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • St. Scholastica: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 2:12-18
12 'But now -- declares Yahweh- come back to me with all your heart, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1 'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 5:20--6:2
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 10th, 2016 Image

St. Scholastica
February 10: St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, ... Read More