I was a practicing Catholic for the first seventeen years of my life and attended St. Andrew School with my 3 brothers and 2 sisters. As I got older, life became more complicated and I just drifted away from the church. Five years ago, God called me back and I went to the only church I knew, St. Andrew. I had so many thoughts, insecurities, and I was always afraid that I would not be welcome back to the church since I had been gone for so many years. Curiosity got the best of me and I did come back to see if I was making the right decision and guess what? “The doors opened wide at the thought of my coming!”
I started attending mass weekly and making new friends. I attended a Christ Renews His Parish Weekend and strengthened my relationship with Jesus and also made some lifelong friends. God called me not only to come back to church but to become church. The friends I made at Christ Renews involved me in the parish Hospitality Committee whose primary responsibility is serving meals for special events around the parish and welcoming new people. I loved that since I had been so welcomed myself. I’m involved the Ladies Sodality helping out around the church by assisting with cleaning the church on Fridays and watering the flowers so that everyone can enjoy the beautiful altar at St. Andrew. I also help with the annual rummage and plant sale the proceeds of which are used to beautify the church.
My husband John, who was not catholic, started attending mass with me weekly. He liked the Church so much that he went through the RCIA program and became Catholic two years ago. And now we are on the RCIA Team working with those people interested in joining the Church. He also attended a Christ Renews weekend and we work together to clean our beautiful church as a means of worship to the Lord. St. Andrew has become such an important part of our life that John and I renewed our vows in 2012 in the Catholic Church.
In the hymn, Here I Am Lord, God asks “Whom shall I send?” And the answer in the hymn is “Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me.”
God led me back to the Catholic Faith after a long absence. I decided I didn’t just want to come to church, but I wanted to be church to others. I wanted to volunteer my time to make this church a wonderful place to worship and to be a welcoming place for our community.
The Lord Called Samuel a third time. He said, “Here I am. You called me?” 1 Samuel 3:8
Is God calling you to come back to church and/or to volunteer your time and your talents for St. Andrew? The Hospitality Committee, Ladies Sodality, RCIA and many of the other ministries may be calling you to become church for others. Will you answer, “It is I, Lord?”
Phyllis Jean Strathmann has been a member of St. Andrew’s parish for the past five years. She is a member of the Ladies Sodality, the Hospitality Committee and the RCIA Team. Jean is married to her wonderful husband, John, and they have 3 grown daughters and 4 grandchildren.