This Advent, I plan to spend time each day praying for one parish (and her priest) from the state of Iowa. I no longer live in Iowa, but it is my childhood home. Since I cannot go to Iowa for Advent and Christmas, I will pray for special Iowa places from my Missouri home.
My life after high school was a busy one. Those next ten years brought three children and many more moves.
I lived in Illinois and Missouri before moving back to Iowa where my first husband (marriage later annulled) could attend seminary. I would never have predicted that he would pursue ministry and attend the same Presbyterian Seminary (University of Dubuque) that my father had attended many years earlier. Life is strange like that sometimes. We only spent his first year of seminary living in Dubuque. The final two years were spent at a student pastorate in Ryan, Iowa. But during that year in Dubuque, I began watching EWTN and was fascinated by a nun on Catholic television named Mother Angelica. The married student housing on the campus of University of Dubuque had cable television. And Dubuque cable carried EWTN before many of the other cable stations (since Dubuque was a solidly Catholic town). I would have to say that this was a significant moment in my journey.
It proves that even when our hearts are not seeking, God is working all things for His purposes. This final year of my own college degree (also at the University of Dubuque - undergraduate school) was the beginning of my deeper encounters with Catholics.
And I guess one could say that it began at Dubuque, in those quiet moments with EWTN and Mother Angelica. When my seminary husband would come up the stairs and approach the door to our apartment, I usually changed the channel. Why? Because it was a fascination that I couldn't even explain to myself. And so, I kept these things inside.
On this, the first day of the second week of Advent, I pray for Fr. Gabriel Anderson and St. Columbkille Parish. May those who are not Catholic - yet live near this parish - see the light of the St. Columbkille laity lived out in the community. And may the Holy Spirit bring about many conversions through their faithful witness, with that same divine breath that came upon a young Jewish girl in Nazareth.
Blessed first day of the second week.