St. Joseph: A Friend and Model for Us All
By: Melissa Schmid
Did you know that St. Joseph has over 20 titles that represent his heroic virtues? Before I prayed the Litany to St. Joseph, I had no idea he had so many titles. In fact, I knew very little of this humble saint.
A few months ago, I set out on a journey to befriend St. Joseph using the book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Donald Calloway as my roadmap. The book offers 33 lessons that draw upon scripture and the writings of saints and popes throughout Church history. My timing couldn’t have been more fitting; Pope Francis has named this year (December 8, 2020 – December 8, 2021) as the “Year of St. Joseph”.
My desire to get to know St. Joseph developed months before Pope Francis’ proclamation though. Actually, I feel like St. Joseph sought me out. Last summer, he kept entering my thoughts as I was praying. I heard others talking about him. Then, this book “magically” appeared on my coffee table (my sister brought it home after a friend gave it to her).
When you get a gnawing feeling in your prayer life that just won’t leave you alone, you should probably act on it. I didn’t respond to St. Joseph’s poking me until last November when I finally decided to pick up that book on my coffee table.
After reading the first lesson, I was captivated by St. Joseph. I recognized him as a true example of the virtues of justice, charity, prudence, courage, purity, and humility. These are virtues I admire and want to live by. I thought perhaps St. Joseph could inspire me as I learned about his life spent with Mary and Jesus.
As I continued to read about him, I came to know him as a tender and loving husband and father, a protector, and a friend to the faithful. By the time the Feast of the Holy Family (December 28th) rolled around, I was ready to make my consecration to St. Joseph. I can honestly say that St. Joseph’s guidance has led me closer to Christ.
If you were to tell me years ago that befriending St. Joseph would rain down blessings upon me, I may have balked at the idea. Doesn’t it make more sense to go straight to Jesus? Of course having a relationship with Jesus is a beautiful thing. But even Jesus had an intimate relationship with Joseph and Mary, as well as with His disciples later in His life. In that sense, I’m glad I followed Jesus’ example to enter into a relationship with St. Joseph.
Praying with St. Joseph has led me closer to Christ. As the Light of Patriarchs, he reminds me that I am God’s beloved daughter. Joseph Most Obedient helps me to trust in God always. St. Joseph, Model of Workers, shows me a way to live my vocation of love by joyfully approaching everyday work and in my encounters with others.
Preparing for my consecration challenged me to go deep into my heart and face the hard questions about who I am and what my purpose is. As a young, single woman, I have often wondered if I’m meant to be a wife and mother. The idea brings joy to my heart. This desire formed in my childhood; I’m the eldest sibling of four, and there is an eleven year age gap between my youngest sister and me. When she was born, I got hands-on experience of caring for an infant. My mother had major complications after giving birth. She was hemorrhaging badly and was on bed rest for three months. To make the situation more challenging, my brother was an energetic three-year old. Between the baby and the toddler, there was a lot to do.
In addition to the work, I was scared that my mom would die. The fear kept me close to home. I remember going to a sleepover at a friend’s house during this time and waking up in the middle of the night, crying and wanting to go home. I just wanted to be near to her.
As I think back to this time, I remember the work of caring for my younger siblings as a means of bonding with them – a bond that has lasted all my life. I love my family even more because of this trying time. And thanks be to God, Mom recovered as well.
Naturally, this experience from my past formed a desire in my heart to one day get married and have children of my own. I have dated a number of kind men throughout the years, but haven’t met “the one” yet. Thanks to my consecration to St. Joseph, I know more than ever what I want when it comes to my vocation: I would only want to marry someone if he were like St. Joseph, a man who reflects the Father’s Love (Blessing #1 – Light of Patriarchs, pray for us!).
As a husband and father, he honored the holy marital union and adored Christ as the Son of God and the center of the family unit. He provided for Mary and Jesus’ needs. He protected them from harm. He respected Mary’s dignity, and he humbled himself before God, never presuming he knew better than God.
What woman wouldn’t want to be with a man like St. Joseph, and what man wouldn’t want to follow his example? Even if I don’t get married, St. Joseph has taught me to find contentment with whatever God’s Will is for me (Blessing #2 – Joseph Most Obedient, pray for us!).
Through my consecration, I’m reminded that we all are called to a vocation of love – to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Each day, whatever work we must do and whoever we encounter, we are meant to act with love (Blessing #3 – Model of Workers, pray for us!). Our reward for answering the call to love, as Jesus promised, is eternal life.
You can also find a friend in St. Joseph. Let’s take a closer look at the three titles that I referenced as blessings in my relationship with St. Joseph – Light of Patriarchs, Joseph Most Obedient and Model of Workers – as a way to introduce him to you.
Light of Patriarchs, Pray for Us
St. Joseph stands before all fathers as a great light directing our attention to Christ. He is the patron of the Universal Church. The words ‘patriarch’ and ‘patron’ hold meanings of fatherhood. St. Joseph works to protect us and intercedes for us to God the Father. He is a human example of the Father’s Love.
“St. Joseph is the perfect reflection of the Father of Lights, and he helps us to receive the Light of Christ. St. Joseph is a bearer of light. He brings Jesus, the true Light of the World, to us” (Calloway, 32).
Isn’t it comforting to know that St. Joseph offers his spiritual fatherhood to each of us? I find this comforting because my dad lives nearly a thousand miles away. Although I can talk on the phone with him and video chat, it’s not the same as being in his presence. Sometimes, I daydream about my childhood ritual of running to my dad and throwing my arms around his legs every day when he came home from work. He would sweep me up in a big hug. St. Joseph wants to embrace us, and he wants each of us to feel God’s love for us.
St. Joseph reminds us of what really matters – to stay in communion with Christ. He stands as a constant reminder that Jesus is here for us. Jesus wants to fill our hearts with His love and mercy. Jesus wants to shine His Light in our dark world.
Joseph Most Obedient, Pray for Us
St. Joseph is a model of obedience. All through his life, he humbly obeyed the Will of God. He was not a slave to God. St. Joseph had a free will just like you and me. He chose to follow God. He said yes to God’s request to take Mary as his wife and raise the Child Jesus. His obedience was a great virtue that required trust.
“Mary and St. Joseph trusted God and were willing to suffer for their obedience to God. Mary and Joseph were certain that God had their best interests in mind” (Calloway, 51).
Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing to live in a state of certainty that God’s plan for your life is always best? Obedience is the first step you can take to get to that level of trust. St. Joseph’s example shows us that obedience leads to our true freedom and happiness.
Think about it. When the angel appeared to St. Joseph in his sleep and told him to flee with Mary and the Baby Jesus to Egypt, he responded without question. He must have been afraid and unsure how to start a new life in an unfamiliar land. Yet, he remained obedient to God. The Holy Family escaped Herod, and he was blessed to spend his days in adoration before Christ.
How do you feel after spending time in front of the Eucharist? Hopefully, you feel free and happy. St. Joseph’s example of obedience reveals what Christ wants to give each of His faithful followers. Christ’s heart is overflowing with hope, love, joy, peace, happiness and freedom for us all.
Model of Workers, Pray for Us
St. Joseph was a humble and diligent worker. He was responsible for providing for the Holy Family. He also taught Jesus his trade as a carpenter. He stands as a model for anyone in the labor force showing us how to joyfully approach our work. St. Joseph also provides an example of work-life balance.
“Jesus learned the proper place of work in his life through the loving example of St. Joseph. St. Joseph made time for God, family, recreation, and rest. St. Joseph modeled these aspects of human life for Jesus” (Calloway, 60).
Our society places a great deal of importance on work. We are expected to make our jobs a top priority. Everything else takes a back seat leaving us exhausted and closed off to loving ourselves and others.
St. Joseph, on the other hand, approached his work with joy and didn’t let it rule him. He teaches us how to act with love in our daily tasks, as well as toward the people we encounter. Surely, St. Joseph never saw another person as an interruption of his work, but rather as an opportunity to live his vocation to love. Especially when work challenged him, St. Joseph would have praised God for the invitation to love in the moment.
Work is hard. Let’s face it – everyone has days when they feel the burden of work. But work is an opportunity to practice everyday sanctity. Call upon St. Joseph to help you persevere through your work responsibilities. Let St. Joseph teach you how to treat every task and person you face in the day as your invitation to love.
Go to St. Joseph
Now that you’ve been introduced to St. Joseph, get to know him more. As previously mentioned, St. Joseph has more than 20 titles attributed to him. Discover the titles that speak directly to your heart. St. Joseph will take you to greater heights in your spiritual life.
To conclude this blog post, let’s pray the Litany to St. Joseph.
Reflection on the Dignity of Each Human Life
As I write this, I am 37 weeks pregnant and my husband and I are preparing for our first baby’s arrival, so the theme of dignity of all human life from conception to natural death has been especially close to my heart – quite literally, as she is happily kicking me while I write this reflection.
Many people have profoundly enriched my life experience, and contributed
to shape me as a Catholic, a daughter, a wife, and now a mother. I would like to introduce you to a few of them, whose witnesses greatly developed my understanding and appreciation for human life.
My cousin, Lucas, is an incredible young adult who has mastered several
languages with patience and effort. He knows how to make the best of every situation with a brilliant smile, has never met a dog that won’t be his friend, enjoys swimming, and values spending time with family and friends. He is a true gentleman, the pride and joy and only child of his parents. Lucas has Down Syndrome, and he is the first individual I have been close to with this condition. My heart bursts with joy every time I see him. I am amazed at how he is so welcoming, giving, and thoughtful toward me whenever I can visit him in Lima, Peru.
A dear friend from high school gave birth to a baby girl during her
sophomore year of college. In a matter of months, everything changed for
her – she had to leave her college coursework permanently, began full-time
work, and had to quickly prepare with her boyfriend to welcome this
surprise child into the world. While not everyone close to her supported her
decision to welcome her child into this world, she never wavered. I was able to hold that baby just hours after her birth and this experience was an
immediate, unexpected reminder in my 20-year-old world that allowed me
to first realize what an extraordinarily precious, irreplaceable gift that life is. Though I had become preoccupied with and focused mainly on my career ambitions, I soaked in the presence of this newborn and knew I had a renewed desire to maintain Christian hope for marriage and children in my future; this desire had always been as clear as day to me when I was a young child, but I lost the desire amidst concerns and anxieties of growing up during my teen years and believing that this world’s promises of happiness could fully satisfy me, not solely the (often unexpected, disguised) blessings chosen by God. This inspiring newborn is now six years old and full of energy, love, and a zest for life that astounds me. I am so thankful that her mom, my dear friend, chose the difficult, strengthening journey of facing a pregnancy courageously by the light of Truth to allow this dear child to live life to the fullest today.
I’d also like to share the story of my best friend’s first child, Augustina, who
is a light that I never was able to meet in person. Augustina was born
unexpectedly at 26 weeks old and lived for just two days before passing
from this earth into the hands of God. She is one of three children in her
family, and I am confident that this child is now a powerful intercessor for
all in their family. Augustina’s mom and dad have worked quietly and
diligently to honor her life by creating a non-profit to assist families in financial need due to medical bills from their children’s medical issues. Since they don’t have large financial means, they sell hand-made teddy bears to fundraise for their non-profit.
Finally, I would like to tell about my grandmother, Kathleen. She was a high
school basketball star during her younger years and gained great respect in
her community as a smart and caring middle school teacher. Kathleen was a loving grandmother, parent, wife, and neighbor to all. She cared greatly for each of her grandchildren. Countless stories explain her goodness, so I will choose one: as an observant, caring teacher, she noticed that one of the
school’s students in their Midwestern town did not bring a jacket to school
throughout winter months and decided to gift her one from her very own
closet, without anyone knowing about it so that the student would not feel
any embarrassment. My grandmother was a person of great moral integrity
who quietly made the world a much better place. For the last eleven years of her life, she experienced progressively worsening symptoms from
Alzheimer’s disease, which little by little reduced her routines, interests, and ability to communicate and participate in her family life. I learned about her human dignity especially during her years of illness through the daily example of my grandfather, who kept caring for her as much as he could and then visited her multiple times a day when she had to be moved to a nursing home. He would feed her when she no longer could feed herself, fill up time with conversation when she could no longer talk, read to her, bring her little treats and copies of her favorite movies, and kiss her goodnight every night before tucking her in at her nursing home. To him, she was no less his wife and no less a person worthy of unconditional love just because she couldn’t communicate or even remember his name.
I am sure you too can think of individuals in your life that deepen your
understanding and appreciation for the dignity of each human life. My vision is to start a group of parishioners who meet on a regular basis to share with one another these stories; people that value our commitment to protect and celebrate all human life in all its forms as guided by natural law. I hope that it may be a humble start to joining together as an intentional group of passionate, Christ-centered parishioners to focus on pro-life positive actions in a peaceful, prayerful manner as a community to educate ourselves and others, pray, and wisely act on the moral imperative to support human life during all of its natural stages.
By: Julia Brown Ferrero
Recently, I was talking with some friends struggling to know how to listen to God’s voice in their lives. They prayed regularly and had a solid relationship with Christ, but hearing God’s voice, listening to what God was saying to them in this moment was a challenge. Someone mentioned that they sometimes look in Scripture to listen to God’s voice, but, he confessed, didn’t know how to pray with Scripture.
Maybe you’ve heard before that God wants to speak with you, and you only have to pick up the Bible to find out what God’s saying. Commence the search for your Bible, close your eyes, flip it open to a random page, and smack your finger down aaaannnd…. Huh. Not sure what God’s trying to say? No surprise. Often we expect God to work in flashy ways: dramatic conversions and events so big they knock you off your feet. But often, God works in quieter, subtler ways. Think about the story of Pentecost; normally we hear how a driving wind came down with tongues of fire that rested on those gathered. What we forget is that the faithful followers of Jesus had been gathering in prayer for some time before then. Even Jesus’s closest followers had to prepare themselves before receiving such a great grace. When we search Scripture for what God is saying to us, we need to do so slowly, deliberately, and go in for the long haul.
Indeed, when we try listening to God’s voice, we should always take the time to enter God’s time. As much as praying with Scripture is about hearing God’s voice in our lives, it is also about slowing down, opening up, and bending the ear toward God’s voice. Thus, in the ancient tradition of prayer with Scripture, Lectio Divina, the first step is to stop. I know, some people will tell you the first step is lectio, or reading, but before you start reading, stop. Remember you’re in God’s presence. Remember you’re reading God’s word. And then rest in that comfort for at least a moment.
And then pick up the Bible
It can be helpful to start with familiar passages, such as those from the Sunday lectionary, but the main goal is to simply pick up the book and read. Find something short, a handful of verses, no more. Read them as you will; no need to agonize over each word. If God is speaking to you through this verse, God will. You can’t force God’s hand. You can miss hearing God’s voice though, so take care not to skim, but to really read God’s word, hear the words of Scripture. Read it again if you think you went too fast.
Next, take time to meditate, or wonder on the passage. Did anything strike or surprise you? How did hearing these words make you feel? Enter into the world of the text if it’s a story. Picture yourself there and let the images wash over you. Or, if there’s no story, find a word or phrase to chew on, repeating it to yourself over and over and over again. Maybe there’s some deep meaning in the words that begins to arise. Maybe not, but an image, a word, or feeling begins to cut a groove in your heart. Hold onto this.
Offer it up
Whatever comes to you through this reflection, offer it back to God. Talk to God about what came to you, ask God for something based on your meditation. Maybe you feel frustrated because nothing seemed to come of this time. Offer that to God. Maybe you are drawn to the need to cultivate a new habit of kindness or courage. Maybe you hear God calling you to act in a specific way. If God is calling you, what do you need from God to live this out? Or, if your mediation left you frustrated, why not ask God to clear the way?
Once you start asking God for something, it can be hard to stop, but praying in Lectio is about aligning our will to God’s. We read Scripture to hear God’s voice, we meditate on Scripture to find how God is pulling our hearts, and we pray to find out how our lives fit into God’s will. If you find yourself turning away from the fruits of your meditation as you pray, you may want to recall the words of the Lord’s prayer to draw you back: “Thy will be done, thy will be done, thy will be done…” Or turn to the phrase, feeling, or image that came up for you in meditation. Repeat it so you might return your prayer to focus on God’s will.
Rest in God’s love
Finally, after you’ve listened to God’s word, let God’s word sink into you, and you’ve talked to God, let God love you. Simply rest in God’s presence, knowing that you are his beloved child. No matter what happens in your prayer, God keeps calling you back and delights in spending time with you. So, after you’ve taken time to pray, relish in that time.
Lectio can be like a conversation with a good friend. You listen and talk, taking your friend’s words to heart. Sometimes the conversation is intense and you feel pulled in one way or another. Sometimes you want your friend to say something, anything, but there’s nothing to be said, or, on later reflection, you find you were too wrapped up in your own world to listen. Often it’s just conversation, something quiet and doesn’t seem to go anywhere but leaves you at peace. But, over time, you find these quiet conversations have changed you, shaped your vision of the world and how you live your place in it.
Like any prayer, Lectio asks to be done again and again. It’s through the constant habit of prayer that we hear God’s voice. So, the next time you look for God’s voice in your life and you pick up the Bible, remember to stop. Read God’s word and wonder at what God said. Pray that your will might be one with God’s and rest in the love of God, the love he offers you even now.
Only in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life… when you wonderabout the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life.When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ who is thefullness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of theworld and of the United States, look to Christ. Only in Christ will you fulfill yourpotential as an American citizen and as a citizen of the world community.
– Pope John Paul II
In today’s polarizing social and political climate, it is easy for children in our world to hear only non-stop bickering. Instead of solutions and rational discussion, our youth are exposed to immaturity and selfishness. Children are watching, through the media and in entertainment, those whose purpose is to be seen, to be powerful, or to be adored. The above quote, by Saint Pope John Paul II, calls us to something more. In Christ, who through the Incarnation became human and thereby knows us intimately, we have the ultimate qualities of goodness: God-centered, humility, service, intelligence, controlled emotion, empathy, and purposeful action. It is through the constant study of our Biblical ancestors that youth may find these qualities which are often lacking in today’s headlines.
As a parent of three children who attended Rochester Catholic Schools, it is hard–and easy–to have discussions about world leaders. Hard because there’s this constant flow of excuses coming out of me. I’m trying to explain, regardless of party or affiliation, why that person is doing this, and this person is doing that. As a parent I try to be non-judgmental of people, especially those I don’t personally know. But it’s hard! It’s really hard to not be judgmental. And then again, it’s easy. It’s easy when I “look to Christ who is the fullness of humanity.”
Being a teacher in Rochester Catholic Schools enhances my experience as a parent. It’s so rewarding to talk about the beautiful theology of our Catholic faith. The people in our history, and the people who continue to form our Church. In all classes, we talk about the people who came to this great nation and built within its foundational documents a way for us to express ourselves religiously when and how we want day after day. Indeed, my favorite historical figure President John Adams wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
It’s truly incredible to work within this school system and see our theology come to life at work every day. At St. John’s School, every school day, I see the beauty of being challenged by the students; students who desire to know and love their faith, just as Christ himself wants. I see faculty and staff who, by example day after day, model desired behavior because it is what Christ wants. I see friends treat each other as taught by the Beatitudes because this is what Christ wants. We are Christ’s followers. We name Him and are accompanied by Him every day. When Pope John Paul II talks about youth “who wonder about yourself,” we know that is normal. It is entirely normal to wonder about the meaning of our lives. As a Catholic school, we can look at a larger and more interesting context and also discuss the moral compass we as humans expect of ourselves. We can call Christ our hero–not politicians or celebrities– and that is a school that has success in its very fiber.
Thank you, St. John’s community, for supporting our school. Thank you for supporting future disciples of Christ, who express their faith openly, within the context of their daily studies. Thank you for your prayers. In turn, we are praying for our St. John’s Church community.
Religion and Language Arts Teacher
St. John the Evangelist School
We are the Haselkorn family and you can usually find us and our four children in one of the front pews at the 9:30am Sunday Liturgy. As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, we are reflecting on how grateful we are for the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and the spiritual home it provides our family, the families we have met, and the academic and spiritual education it provides our children.
Growing up Catholic in Illinois, we had the experience of wonderful home parishes led by great pastors. In fact, the priest that married Keegan’s parents became the pastor at Jody’s home parish and eventually married us. It was this sense of feeling “at home” that we were looking for when we moved to Rochester, and we have found exactly that at St. John the Evangelist with the beautiful church and all the wonderful staff and parishioners. We look forward to Sundays and connecting on a weekly basis with fellow parishioners participating in the gift Jesus gave us through the Eucharist. Father Mahon inspires us with his weekly reflections and challenges, and we enjoy continuing the conversation with our children after mass. Our children have enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the children’s liturgy and our whole family enjoys participating in the amazing music Sebastian and the choir provide. For our family, attending weekly Mass together is a guiding force that helps ground us and brings us together.
We also appreciate all the opportunities available for participation both in the church and the surrounding community. Through assisting Megan with baptism formation gatherings, we have had the opportunity to meet and pray with several members of the community on their faith journey. It is always such a joy to gather at the baptismal font and share in the joy of welcoming our newest members. Our children also enjoy participating in the baptisms during the mass and witnessing God’s grace in action. Our family also enjoys opportunities to get involved in the larger community whether it is baking treats for the Gift of Life Transplant House or shopping for the Adopt-a-family program during the holidays. We truly enjoy these gifts offered to our family by St. John’s. Going to parochial schools growing up, a faith filled education was a priority for our family, and we are grateful to have the St. Pius/St. John’s school integrated in our parish. We are truly grateful to our teachers and the staff as they teach our children both academics and our Catholic faith. Our children are always excited and happy to go to school and spend time with their teachers and friends. We also enjoy all the opportunities available to us as parents to come to school to volunteer at lunch, in the library, and during special occasions.
In addition, we are grateful that our children attend mass weekly at school and get to participate in the liturgy with their classmates. It is a joy to attend the school masses and watch the children as they celebrate the gift Jesus gave to us.
As we continue our family’s faith journey, we are grateful to have the St. John’s community here to support us and offer faith filled opportunities to get involved. We are so thankful for all of the friends and families we have met, and we look forward to meeting many more in the future. During this Feast of the Holy Family, we hope and pray for health and happiness for all of our families. We wish you the most Blessed of Christmas Seasons.
Jody, Keegan, Stella, Lucy, Etta and Vince Haselkorn
We started attending the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist ever since we moved to Rochester about 6 years ago. Katie had “googled” churches in the area and saw how beautiful this one looked. It may have been a simple internet search that brought us here but it was the kinship with our fellow parishioners that we have felt that has kept us coming week in and week out. One of the very first Masses we attended had a baptism and we immediately fell in love with the sense of community we witnessed. As a young couple, not yet married but knowing we were headed in that direction, we could see ourselves one day having our own children’s baptisms here. The baptisms truly seem like a celebration from every parishioner.
As our relationship, both with each other and the church, continued to grow, we continued to build lifelong memories at church. On October 25th, 2014, we were married during an unforgettable ceremony. A couple years later, we finally celebrated a baptism of our own for our first child, Wesley Thomas. It is crazy to think that it has been over four years since our wedding day and over two years since the baptism, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is our love for St. John’s.
In addition to having some of our most important life milestones happen at this church, we have also cherished the relationships we have begun to grow with our fellow parishioners. We frequent the 9:30am Mass and stay after for coffee and donuts to meet new faces and mingle with those who we see each week. It is nice to watch our son develop relationships with our fellow parishioners and to witness their love and friendship towards him… even if it is through the sharing of cheerios. If you are new to this church or new to the 9:30am Mass, feel free to find us after Mass at fellowship and say hello!
As we look forward, we are glad to know that we will be able to continue to grow spiritually at a place that has done such a great job of building a sense of community. We are happy knowing that we will be able to grow our relationship with one another here, along with our relationship with our fellow parishioners and God as we do other activities such as the Vigil Project (small Advent groups), baking for the Gift of Life, “Pray and Play” mom’s group, and the many others we have done along the way. We also promise to do the Bean Bag tournament next year (we keep running into scheduling conflicts). We also look forward to having our children (child #2 due in February) have some of their own major milestones: from First Communion to Confirmation. So while it might have been something as simple as “this church looks nice” based on the google search that brought us to St. John’s, it has been the sense of community that has kept us coming ever since our very first visit. We want to keep the sense of community going so whether you are new to St. John’s or been here longer than us, feel free to say hello to us at fellowship, or at baby #2’s baptism, or (hopefully) the Bean Bag tournament, or any other time!