Recently at Mass we were treated to music and song from one of the children’s choirs in the parish. Their singing was truly beautiful and yet some of them are so young and small, it was hard to believe they could create such a wonderful sound. You could hear their innocence in the notes and words. They enhanced the Mass and bridged the gap between earth and heaven.

I thought what a wonderful gift their parents were giving them. Teaching them the love of Christ through music and song. I thought of my own parents. Their methods of teaching faith were not child centric but I learned early on that while they did not have all the answers they certainly knew who did. They had a saint for every occasion and a prayer for every worry. They had novenas to heal a multitude of ailments and at the heart of our home stood Our Lady and her Son. We were typical of most Irish families of that time. As I grew older, more opinionated and mouthy, I turned to prayer only when I needed it. However the seed my parents planted had taken root. It would take years to flourish. I would read all around my faith and the faith of others first. I would look to science for answers and would find my peace in eastern practice. None brought satisfaction.

Close by where I live there is a field. In its centre stands an elm tree. Its roots go deep into the ground, its beauty on display above. It is the tree that housed the secrets of childhood. It contained children’s laughter for years. It was full of sound but not so anymore. However, in its silence it is as beautiful as ever. It still stands strong, waiting for new hands to reach into its branches and find the beauty within. Faith is like that. It is deep within each of us, planted there by someone who felt it important enough to share. I believe my parents planted my elm. They gave me a gift like no other. My faith had taken root and it became my foundation. I left it unattended for years but when life brought challenges, I found my way back and took shelter deep within its branches. For my own children I wish one thing. I wish them to have the confidence to question and be blessed with a life of faith. I pray their faith will keep them from straying. I pray they will never live in fear always knowing that Christ is with them. I thank God for my own parents. They planted the seed and gifted me the space and freedom to find my own path.                              A Parent in our Parish