This week I’ve been in St. Louis getting ready for Aquinas Institute’s baccalaureate and commencement on Friday the 12th. We’ve got a couple MAPS-CGS students who are finishing their degree with us and it is time to celebrate them. They’ve been an extraordinary group. They met only one time face-to-face before Covid struck, and then completed almost all of their courses online and via Zoom until they finally were able to gather again for their last course earlier this semester. And now they are graduating already! But what this group has witnessed to me is the power of hanging in there with each other through tough times. They have been so faithful to each other—cheering each other on through sickness and overwhelm and discouragement and disappointment after disappointment. They’ve “been true” to each other.
They were among those I was thinking about when doing this recent interview with TL Putnam in Outside the Walls and we got to discussing the fourth chapter of Let’s Talk about Truth on “being true.” It was a super fun interview. TL asks great questions. And, frankly, TL is a great example of “being true” himself as he and his wife just welcomed their 9th child and for the past year have been dealing with water pipe breaks limiting use of both their lone bathroom and kitchen. Graceful dealing with plumbing issues isn’t often considered when filling out canonization paperwork, but speaking as a married person myself, it should be considered evidence of the highest forms of holiness.
Another reminder about “being true” came into my inbox this week from Kimberly Baker, one of the lead planners of this summer’s Women in the Church Conference taking place at St. John’s Collegeville (where I spent the fall semester). Dr. Baker and team have put together the most amazing line of speakers/artists who are working hard to remain true to the Church while also working for meaningful change around the role of women, racism, etc… I’m longing to go back to St. John’s (especially now that the lake isn’t frozen over) and trying to figure out if I can swing it. You should definitely consider it, too.
Finally, a gem sent to me by a friend at the USCCB—Marc DelMonico—who for several years now has helped direct certification and accreditation efforts for lay ecclesial ministers. Marc’s been a big supporter of Redeeming Conflict and has helped compile a resource page for dealing with conflict in church life on the USCCB website. He found a lesser known document from 2002 that talks about processes that should be used in parishes / dioceses to make sure all the parties are treated justly and respectfully rather than arbitrarily. It’s called “Procedures for Resolving Conflicts.” After all the time I’ve spent poking around in this area, I never knew such a document existed. One more aid to help us communally “be true” that maybe we’ve not been so great about translating into action… but still could!
May the coming glorious weeks of spring—filled with graduations and weddings and confirmations and first communions—be a time of joy for you and all those whom you are committed to “be true” to your in your life!
(Photo credit: Pablo Heimplatz)