Community for us has always meant finding a faith community. Before we move to a new city or new neighbourhood, we always look on Google maps for the closest Catholic church?” When we moved to Victoria, we were excited to discover that there was a church less than a kilometer away that offered a student Mass plus daily Mass on campus. We walked or biked to church a few times and joined the other students after Mass for a social time.
We Didn’t Fit In
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 make friends 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.
Joining Mom’s Group
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. We shared our struggles with the monotony of motherhood, exchanged meal planning ideas, and commiserated about the difficulty of taking children to Mass.
Slowly, those friendships at Mass and mom’s group turned into friendships outside of church as we planned playdates and outings together. My daughters were invited to other kids’ birthday parties and invited them back to their birthday parties. And through these friends, my community grew as I met other like-minded Catholic women thanks to the women in my mom’s group.
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.”
You might also want to read Creating Community Part 1 and Part 2.
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