There are neat people everywhere. Yes, you have them in your parish too. And they are outside your parish as well, waiting for you to invite them to join the family. Or to expand your own family, like one of my fellow parishioners has done.
If one listens closely enough, His voice can be heard. It can happen at anytime and can be for any number of reasons.
For Larry Strauser and his wife of 18 years, Beverly, that time came 13 years ago.
"My wife (has a background of) Church of God and I'm Roman Catholic, and she heard the calling," said Larry. "And I asked my pastor about it and I said, 'I didn't hear anything.'" So he said, 'Larry, if your wife was called into it, you were called into it, too.' So, we've been doing it ever since."
The Strauser's are foster parents. It's a commitment that stands alone and there are children all over Knoxville, as well as the world, who need and want to find a loving home. Larry said after his wife heard the call, they both decided to put down roots in East Tennessee and let their faith guide them along the way.
"In 1998 we sold our businesses and we got called into the ministry working at a children's home in Sevierville," he said. "We worked there for five years and we decided we loved Tennessee so much that we wanted to live here. So, we bought a house out in the Karns area and went into foster care with Catholic Charities and Omnivisions. Now we have two great kids who've been with us for two-and-a-half years — (foster children) Ryan and Noah — they're 10 and 13. Five years ago we adopted my son Kevin, so it's just the five of us at home right now."
Go read the rest here. Did I mention Larry also finds the time to be a sponsor in our parish RCIA program? Last year, 50 folks joined the Catholic family through that narrow portal.
So the family isn't "perfect." But her members try, and the Church provides the means of grace through the sacraments. My friend Wu Li, SJ put it this way,
Those who are known as "daily improving"
to praise the Spirit are worthy;
Day by day, and one step at a time.
Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (cf. Matt 17:20)
Lord? Help my unbelief. Amen.