Community for us has always meant finding a faith community. Even before we moved out here, we asked, “Where is the closest Catholic church?” We were excited to discover that it was less than a kilometer away and offered a student Mass plus daily Mass on campus. We walked or biked to church a few times last summer and joined the other students after Mass for a social time.
However, as the year progressed, I began to feel that we weren’t in the right place. We were the only married students and the only students with kids. While Sunshine loved playing with the other students, I found it hard to connect because my daily life as a student mom was so different than theirs. It also felt rather obvious whose kids were not sitting quietly during Mass. As the second semester began, I started suggesting we find a more family-friendly Mass. My husband’s work schedule soon made it hard for us to attend the student Mass, and we began attending other Masses around the city.
When I saw a mom’s group listed in the Sunday bulletin of one church we attended, I almost whooped. Here was a place we could belong! I could hardly wait for Wednesday morning to go meet the other moms. And when we showed up, it was even better than I expected. A group of grandmas watched the children while the moms went upstairs for fellowship. The moms welcomed me warmly and I felt an instant connection with them.
That first week, I just sat there, soaking up the feeling of being with other Catholic moms who faced the same questions and struggles that I did. As the weeks went on, Sunshine began talking about “my friends” and ran to give the grandmas a hug as soon as we arrived and I found myself making the kind of close friends I’d had in northern Alberta.
The other day, as my husband and I drove out of the city for a family gathering of Catholic homeschoolers, he asked me how often I’d met the hosts before. Only twice, I said, but “you know how you meet some people and you feel like you’ve been friends forever? Like you have so many things in common you could talk for the next week without running out of things to say? That’s the kind of friends I’ve found through mom’s group.”