Week 52 – Church of Our Lady of the Angels at the Franciscan Renewal Center – Roman Catholic

Four weeks ago I completed my 52 Churches in 52 Weeks journey. It was a crazy big day for me followed by a trip to Montana. We are now back in our summer routine and I felt as if there wasn’t any closure because after all that I never completed my final post. So here it is. Finally. Candace and I attended the Church where it all began – The Church of Our Lady of the Angels at the Franciscan Renewal Center. I could be completely wrong but I think last year it was simply The Franciscan Renewal Center. We attended the 7pm Sunday evening mass. I’ve probably said it plenty but I love that there are so many chances to go to church within the Catholic community.

The Priest spoke about relationships and community. He stated that there is no reality outside of relationships. We could live alone in the wilderness and still have a relationship with nature. Our lives are a web of deep and interconnected relationships. He asked us to reflect on all the potential relationships that existed for us to just attend church that evening. The auto worker who built our car; the gas delivery guy who dumped the fuel in the hole at Circle K; the debit card swipe machine and the electricity to run the machine. A lot of people had to show up and do their job so that we could be present in church that evening. The network that allows for our lives to flow and function really is intricate and complicated.

He explained that the Trinity is also a relationship. A community yearns to be together. He asked us to be willing to abandon ourselves to one another, be willing to love who God loves. He shared that the universe will come alive for us and be meaningful and sacred and that God is the author of love. It makes me wonder about my own communities – family, work, kids, neighborhood, the boy sitting on my sofa hanging out with my daughter. Am I completely satisfied with the life I’ve built? Are you?

I really needed meaningful and sacred because sometimes I just have to wonder what the heck is going on. I was so happy that Candace was with me. She is such an adorable church buddy. We left after dark, took a few final photos and then I cried all the way to Ahwatukee. I just had this feeling like it wasn’t supposed to be over, that I was supposed to keep going but in all reality I was exhausted by plotting and driving and always being a voyeur. It’s really kind of rude to write about unsuspecting people who are so nice. I kept wondering – am I supposed to pick a church? There are several that I want to take my family back to. They were dynamic, motivating, inspiring places filled with Godly people. I want my girls to experience what I experienced.

I have attended church once since the end of the 52 weeks and loved the experience. I took the kids on Father’s Day while in Montana to the neighborhood church. It is a small community of mostly former Amish. They are so wonderfully devout that it makes me feel like there could actually be hope for someone like me. Candace and I drive by so many churches every day that we never made it to. She always says, “Mom there’s a church we haven’t been to yet. We have to go there.” She encourages me. Maybe I will continue on because now I know that God wants our hearts and minds for more than just 52 weeks.

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