A Pew Sitter’s Testimony

    Tom was a dedicated, comfortable pew sitter. He had been active in his younger days, but through college, marriage, raising children, and work he became comfortable sitting in the pew for one hour per week at Sunday Mass. Sharon, his wife, had become active in the children’s Religious Education. That was good for her, but Tom was comfortable as a pew sitter.

    One day, Sr. Mary Lou, the DRE at the parish called Tom to consider becoming part of a new adult education team she was starting in the parish. She was targeting people who were regularly at church and had been active in the past, but were now comfortable sitting in the pew. (It turns out Sharon had nominated Tom to Sr. Mary Lou.) Tom was in a quandary: how do you say "no" to sister? So he tried it.

    He didn’t know at the time where this would lead. Tom became the head of that team and helped create a very successful adult education program in the parish. Later, he became part of and led several committees and commissions, a Eucharistic Minister and Lector, an officer on the Parish Pastoral Council, and eventually served on a major Archdiocese-wide initiative team. Working on "church work" became part of his life to the point where now, as he considers retirement from his regular job, he is preparing to seek employment in a parish.

    Sharon and Sr. Mary Lou recognized talents in Tom that he did not see. The invitation opened many opportunities that he did not see. As he went through this growth experience, he adopted a prayer as his guide: "Lord, you called me. I listened. Where do I go now?" There was always an answer.

    Tom and Sharon’s lives changed. The two shortages in life ā€“ not enough time or money resolved themselves. Time always seemed to work out. Some activities were stopped, but were not missed. As parish involvement increased and their faith deepened, they increased their financial contributions. The life situations where finances became a challenge always seemed to work out as the funds would come from unexpected sources, or small lifestyle changes produced a surplus.

    Tom’s life changed, but in ways he did not expect. Tom became a happier person. He was recognized both in the neighborhood and in the workplace as a trusted, content man. He gained many friends and no enemies.
    For Tom, the best part was the people he met, the parish family he got to know, and the realization that if you let God lead you, you will find the way to go. He shares this with others so that their unknown gifts won’t be left sitting in the pew.

    ā€” A St. Isidore Parishioner’s Story


    Changing Lives Together is parish-based. All parishes are participating. Learn more about the initiative in your parish. Contact Your Parish…