Thursday, April 4, 2013

A new season in my parish life...

I know that I've mentioned in the past that I've been contemplating discontinuing my participation as one of the catechists for the Children's Liturgy of the Word program at my parish. Last year, I had a couple of challenging weeks with the kids that I thought was the death knell. I think it was the lengthy Palm Sunday edition that broke the camel's back.

But then over the summer (the program is on hiatus during July and August) I didn't do anything about it. When fall rolled around again, the Director of Religious Ed. assumed that I'd be participating again and was relying on my help. We were down to only myself and two other women participating. So I stayed on.

And ultimately, I was really glad that I did. I had some really great weeks with the kids over the fall and winter and the DRE always told me how much she appreciated that she could always count on me. Henry even remembered some of the lessons and repeated little facts I'd told them about at Children's Liturgy when we were doing his nightly prayers. I felt needed and effective.

*gold star*

But as winter waned on, my feeling of being "burned out" returned with a vengeance. This program attracts children of all ages, and it's always a challenge to wrangle kids with such different needs and ability to pay attention. You've got raucous 3 and 4 year olds who can barely sit still, combined with bored and saucy 8 year olds. The past two sessions that I've done in particular I've left feeling rather upset and discouraged. There are a few older boys that come that simply refuse to listen when I ask them (repeatedly) to please not be rude, and I left feeling like, "why am I doing this?" I'm a *volunteer*. If I'm miserable, that just seems like a poor use of my time.

I'm a gentle and reserved person, and I started to wonder if my personality just wasn't right for the position anymore. Another factor is that Anne is no longer napping during the 10 am Mass and I want to bring her with me every week. When I'm doing Children's Liturgy, since Mike usually doesn't come with us, I can't bring Anne. If Henry and I go to Mass without her, she cries. Not only that, but Henry feels that he's "a big boy now" and doesn't want to go to Children's Liturgy anymore. He wants to remain in the pew and read his Missal, which means he'd have to stay by himself when I'm teaching.

After the last session that I did, just before Easter, I felt like that was it. All signs were pointing to me begging off after the current year is over, which will be in June. I didn't email the DRE right away, though. I mean, sometimes you feel differently given some time, space and prayer. Things don't always have to be *easy*, certainly, and I didn't want to give up too quickly.

I let a few weeks pass. I didn't have any other dates scheduled for the moment (we took a brief hiatus for Palm Sunday and Easter this year, thankfully), and I reveled in the freedom of just attending Mass without fretting about Children's Liturgy. I prayed about it a little.

Last week I received an email from the DRE asking me to sign up for some April dates. I did, and I'm on for this coming Sunday, but I also seized the opportunity to let her know that I wouldn't be doing the program anymore after our year is up in June. I relayed the Anne reason, which doesn't fully explain the reasons why I'm stopping, but it's certainly a large part of it. She of course understands.. And I feel RELIEVED.

It was the right decision. I'd still like to participate in the parish in some way, I'll just have to figure out how. But my primary responsibility is to take my kids to Mass, and that has to come first.

Since I only have maybe 3-4 sessions left, I'm going to try and make the best of them. This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday, and so after the readings, I decided that we've going to do something different and pray a chaplet of Divine Mercy. There are a bunch of free plastic rosary beads in the entrances to the church, so I'm going to collect those to pass out. I'm hoping that it's not going to be a complete disaster, but I'll give it my all. Doing the same thing every week leads to boredom certainly, so I want to do something different with them. We'll see how it goes, sigh.

I'll report in. :)

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