As a child, I stood tippy-toed on the edge of the hard wooden pew to smell my Daddy’s breath when he returned from Communion. “Daddy, what did you drink? It smells so good!”
Growing up at St. Bernard, I remember vividly measuring myself against the pew: first, being able to see over it without using the kneeler and then growing taller than it and knowing that someday I would get Jesus, too. I went to school and received every sacrament along the way with the exception of marriage at St. Bernard. I married the love of my life at his church, St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Germantown, where we were members as newlyweds.
Before the birth of the first of four children, we rejoined St. Bernard. My view changed from being that of a child in the pew to raising four children in the parish and its school. The view became much different as a parent than as a child or a young adult. Instead of watching the church, I found myself teaching the ways of God to my children through prayers, presence and example.
After my second child was born, my husband suggested increasing our involvement in parish life. As a young mom working part-time and caring for children under the age of three, I resisted, as this did not sound like an appealing proposition. But I listened to him and became involved.
Little did my husband realize what that push would bring? It changed my life, not over night, but over the course of a decade. I became involved in our stewardship committee and then for nine years coordinated a service learning program called “Step by Step Student Stewardship” for the entire school. My involvement led to a deeper faith life and attending and leading retreats within our parish.
I began listening more intently to the Holy Spirit and created a website called Faithfilledmom.com, which has been published as a daily blog for four years. I became a motivational speaker for God and created and led more than 20 retreats at different parishes in Louisville and Indiana. Now the Holy Spirit has led me to teaching. With a catechist certificate and an admission to Loyola University’s master’s degree program in religious education, I began teaching theology at Holy Cross last fall.
My view from the pew has changed from viewing only from the pew to a life immersed in God’s will, and I have taken my family for the ride of a lifetime. It all started as a child in that pew with my parents. Parents need to know that their influence on their children’s spirituality rests almost entirely on the view they choose to provide or neglect for their children from that pew. My view constantly shifts, changes and becomes deeper as I surrender myself to God’s will, becoming more challenging yet rewarding with every shift. I pray that God continues to use my life as an example for my children and others to see God from more than a pew.
Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp is a member of St. Bernard Church.
If you have a story you would like to submit for, “A View from the Pew”, contact Sal Della Bella at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-585-3291.