Guest Columnists

Growing As a Family Within the Parish

by Lisa Mills

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION parish of Astoria has been a blessing to my family. As a mother of three children, I believe all children should have love, guidance and nurturing from the parents and their parish community. From birth, children learn kindness, compassion and morality through their parents. I also believe in the importance for spiritual guidance to be introduced shortly after.

When my first child was born, my husband and I both believed in the importance for our son to be blessed by the Church and receive the sacrament of baptism. The foundation of religion and the reinforcement of Catholic faith was established for my son and then continued with my twin daughters. My husband and I support our children and provide them with a spiritual path at Immaculate Conception Church by having them attend Mass each week.

Our belief in surrounding our family with the love of God, family and the parish community took us beyond the participation in the weekly Mass. The positive and supportive relationship our family has with the Immaculate Conception Church influenced us also to enroll our children in Immaculate Conception School. We were overwhelmed by the school faculty’s kindness, attention and belief in a religious education. Over the years, I have encouraged many families in our community to consider Catholic school and a life of compassion and serving the parish community.

Being a parent is a full-time job and requires children to be surrounded by a community of people with similar moral values. Listening to your heart will help influence how to guide your children toward the moral path. The Church instills a sense of routine, partnership and the support of others beyond your own family.

After having my children attend Catholic school for almost a decade, I realized I wanted to help deliver the same experience of love, education and faith to other families. My love of the parish and school would carry over to all children in the school. I found myself back to where I started by serving the church and school on a regular basis through charitable activities.

My son also is motivated to spend his time with the parish through many social and civic activities. He has been attending Immaculate Conception School since he was three years old. He proudly serves as an altar server each week. His dedication to the church has helped him mature into a kind, empathetic and focused young man. I am excited to see my daughters become altar servers in the coming year. Due to the activities our family has chosen to participate in, we can be found spending quality time at Church as a family each week.

Young families can also choose to be involved as much as they want without feeling overwhelmed by the commitment to the parish. People seem to gravitate to the Church in times of need. We all look for the help of a greater power when we need a deeper strength. The power of prayer can be even more powerful through the parish. I believe God has blessed me due to my path of faith through our Church. I am loved by my parents, husband, children and all my amazing friends within the parish.