Now I had decided to go back the Church we decided to go to St Patrick parish in Weston WV. And Tammy is going with me for her own reasons. The first Sunday we got our wires crossed about the Mass times and arrived with no one around. Second week I made a call to find out the Mass time here we go it has been a long time. I was a little nervous but I also had a bit of an attitude. I didn’t care what the people thought I was coming here for God and Him alone. Tammy came with me as we entered the Church I could tell she was nervous. Our first impression was one of reverence I knew I was in Gods house. We sat near the back trying to follow along and not stand out to bad. Even not knowing much about the Mass I could sense the true Worship of God these people were gathered for.
After Mass there was a GIFT Growing in Faith Together program we were invited to. The following I borrowed from our Parish newsletter when we moved back to NH.
“Before Jim and Tammy Arsenault moved back to their home state of New Hampshire, Jim was asked to share his opinion of the GIFT intergenerational religious education program at St. Patrick Church.
The first time Jim and Tammy attended Mass at St. Pat’s and the first GIFT event coincided—November 10, 2007. The couple became parishioners and were active in the church for the past three years. They rejoined their families in New Hampshire in late September.
Here’s is Jim’s essay on GIFT:
This program is so appropriately named because it is a gift to us and our Church as a wealth of knowledge and because our faith itself is a gift from God.
Growing in Faith Together as catechesis points back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 158 which says, “The grace of faith opens the eyes of your heart to a lively understanding of the contents of revelation.”
Our purpose as members of God’s family is to become Saints. That’s a constant conversion process of growth. The Mass and the Sacraments give us the grace that we need to have strength enough to desire to understand God more deeply.
My personal faith journey stared with Fr. McSweeney and Sr. Eileen Marie Sinnott and grew into the members of the RCIA, the members of the parish, and the members of the entire church, more than 1.1-billion people.
This family that I feel myself closer to and more a part of is God’s family. My desire is to grow in the knowledge of faith, knowledge of all the revealed truths that God has given us through the Church. In so doing, I might be able to take that out and share it with people who are seeking Him and have no one to lead them. That is what we ALL should desire. We should love our fellow man and want to help them on their journey toward God. So when we grow in faith together, faith and reason have to work together . they cannot be opposed to each other. The GIFT program which the parish is offering to all its members is helping us come together in community and unity and to learn from one another. Never think that a good deed can be too small or that a single word can be unimportant. It may be the word that will lift someone to the next level they need to reach.
Take full advantage of the GIFT program for yourself as well as to help others.
Tammy and I first came to St. Pat’s on the first GIFT night. I was invited by Sister Eileen Marie. I came back to the Church after being away 33 years. My wife returned to full communion with the Church after being baptized as an infant but never being raise in the church.
Through the GIFT program and other sources, I have been deepening my faith since to the point that now I feel that I need to share my knowledge through GIFT, RCIA, and other opportunities God puts in my hands. I will never, until I am in heaven, be at a point to where I know enough about God. The more open I allow myself to be open with Jesus, the more graces he allows me to have. As John Pau II says, “Fear not, because that is what keeps us becoming closer to God.” Fear of the unknown there is nothing to fear with God if you truly desire to love him with your whole mind, heart, and strength. So, go to GIFT!
I have helped facilitate GIFT, been a speaker at GIFT, and been a part of the RCIA Team, become a certified instructor for the Journey through Scripture Series from the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology where I’ve learned that the Bible isn’t some random books put together but the story of the Family of God, the history of salvation.
In New Hampshire, I intend to do my Journey through Scripture in the new parish–Genesis to Jesus, the Bible and the Virgin Mary, the Bible and the Sacraments, and the Bible and the Mass. My new house is within walking distance of the Church, which was Tammy and my priority to go to daily Mass. We want to get into some of the many activities existing in the new parish and find something I can fit into. I want to be a part of the Body of Christ. I will like sleeping in my with Jesus less than one-quarter of a mile from my house. That is very comforting to me.
I like to say I’m going home, but my home is also here. I tend to agree with Mother Teresa who said, “My home is wherever the tabernacle is.” I need to take spiritual responsibility for my family and do what I can for them in that respect. I will always be with St. Pat’s in spirit.”
That completes 1 more piece of the puzzle of my Journey, Hope you enjoyed it !!