Dear Bishop Olson,
Our Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth is in great need of a ministry and/or community of single mothers. I understand that there are many mom groups in the diocese, however, the struggles of a single working mother are different than those that are married and not the sole breadwinner of the home. I am a single mother of two young children, six and seven. We attend St. Patrick's Cathedral regularly. I am active in my faith. My children are enrolled in religious formation at St. Patrick's Cathedral and I strive to grow in my Catholic faith and thus, try to provide an example for my children to follow.
The Pope recently addressed a single mother this week saying, "I know it's not easy to be a single mother. I know that people can sometimes look askance at you, “You’re a brave woman because you're capable of bringing these two daughters into the world. ... You respected the life you were carrying inside you and God is going to reward you for that and he does reward for you for that. Don't be ashamed. ... I congratulate you." If Pope Francis can recognize that the struggle is real for single mothers such as myself, then why are we as single mothers so underrepresented in our Church in the U.S. and in our diocese?
In August of 2014, I attended the Midwest Catholic Family Conference and I found I was the only single mother there. While I could relate to many of the topics discussed, there was nothing specifically catered towards single mothers, and the dynamics of a family unit were not typical of my own, making me feel lonely and misplaced. When the church speaks of family, we are often left out and seeing this first hand at the conference, reaffirmed it. Why is this so? I yearn for a group of other mothers like myself, to come together in whatever spiritual journey we currently find ourselves living and share our faith with fellowship in mind. The goal of this ministry would be to foster the Catholic faith in ourselves and, in essence, our children. We single mothers do not fall into the typical category of young adult or mom groups.
It is my vision, goal and desire to create a ministry for single mothers to be guided in their faith, share their financial, emotional, and spiritual struggles; where childcare is not an issue and the time to meet does not interfere with our working hours. I know I cannot be the only single mother yearning for something more, but not finding it.
I have done my research, and in all of Texas, I found only one similar group such as the one I propose. (http://www.stmaustin.org/catholic-single-parents) To me this is a travesty. We are not feeding the mothers who need spiritual guidance, social fellowship in a faith-based environment and thus, could potentially be losing part of our flock. These mothers and myself, need a community/ministry where we can do just that. I have been discerning this call to start a group like this and I know there are other single mothers who need community. It is my hope and prayer that you take this into consideration, and provide me an opportunity to meet with you personally to further discuss this, as I too discern my own role in leading this group.
In addition, if you have the time, I suggest reading these articles I found interesting that touch on this very topic I speak of. I hope that you take the time to read them.
“Church can be an incredibly lonely place. It was why I stopped going for a time. It’s why some Sundays I can barely drag myself there just to sit in the pew alone. Surrounded by families. And married couples. So many families and couples.”
Thank you for your time and I am in prayer to hear directly from you soon.
Dear Bishop Olson,
With our current technology we can get just about anything instantaneously. Social media allows us to connect to people all over the world. The Internet provides pages upon pages of information at our fingertips. Yet, sometimes so much information and "connecting" to others through social media can be too much. Are we letting it take a hold of our lives? If we are, what true purpose does it hold? Are we allowing it to take away from actually living our lives? What about living our lives through God's will? Take a minute to think about that… It's a question I've asked myself and the answer wasn't what I hoped. While social media allows us to connect, true connections should be made in person.
With so much technology to distract us, we are forgetting to make those connections with others, but more importantly, with God. We need to remember in making those connections and creating quality time with those people, we are also connecting with God, because we are making those relationships a priority. We must foster those important relationships in our lives in order to connect with God. After all, God uses each and EVERY one of us as His instruments to do His will. If I am "connecting" with others through social media, but not connecting with those in my actual life, thus neglecting important people such as family, am I doing God's will? Of course not... especially if you have a spouse and/or children. Is this the example you want to impress upon them? Definitely not. If you find yourself "connecting" so much you are forgetting to put them as a priority, what is that you are trying to achieve?
There is an underlying problem and it's not social media. The problem stems from within. Anything done in excess is done to cover, hide, or deny a void in our lives. It may be social media, food, drugs, alcohol, TV, shopping, a relationship, etc. Whatever it is that's taking hold of your life, take a moment to pray, reflect and let it go. God has given you free will and the ability to take a hold of your life and actually live it. Make those REAL connections in life, put away the phone when interacting with others and make it a real priority to connect with those that are important in your lives, starting with God. In making that connection, everything else will fall into place. Let's remember to connect with our loved ones and give them true quality time. Have you made a connection today? Tell us about it.
This post was written by Rita Vigil, Editor for Wholly Feminine's Blog
Visit the leadership team page for her biography.