Lauren Berry is a ‘new, old member’ of the Catholic faith. Born and raised Catholic, she was ‘reintroduced’ to the faith when she entered RCIA before her marriage to reconnect with Catholicism. Part of that drive to reunite was through her relationship with Glenn and Ellen Kort, parishioners at St. Francis who have known her since she was a teenager. “They were mentors that I considered ‘the epitome of Catholicism,’’’ she says. In her mind, they not only spoke the faith but lived it. ”They were who I would want to be as a faithful human being.” After hearing about St. Francis, she loved how RCIA here gave her formation at an adult level and a way to connect with other ministries.
“I took the ‘charisms’ course, and hospitality and teaching came up,” she said. She enjoys teaching, so these charisms made sense to her, but she felt the Holy Spirit pushed her in that direction, too. Using her gifts by being involved in the children’s catechumenate allows her, after her own RCIA experience, to explain ‘why we do things’ and ‘what faith is about’ and give the children a background and grounding rather than a feeling of obligation because it’s ‘what we do as Catholics.’ “Hopefully,” she says, “they learn to want to be involved.” She thinks it’s essential that the leaders in the ministries and the Church are also not afraid to say, ‘I don’t know;’ “It’s good for them to know we don’t all know the answers.”
When thinking about the impact of St. Francis’ ministries on the larger community, she recalls a personal story. “If someone is worried and they have a need, at St. Francis, you just need to ask.” “I knew a family with a child dealing with cancer,” Lauren remembers, “and I put them in touch with the prayer shawl ministry.” “They weren’t even Catholic,” she said, “but at St. Francis, they just help everyone.” The prayer shawl ministry sent this little boy a shawl the family kept on his crib during his treatments. “St. Francis and our faith are about more than just getting the sacraments,” she believes, “it’s where you find out how you want faith to draw all the threads of your life together.”