Blogger and author visits area parishes, schools to discuss ‘Sacred Balancing Act’

Lisa Hendey signs copies of books from her "Chime Travelers" series for Deanna Casey of St. Mary of Lourdes Parish in Germantown Hills. She said she came to Hendey's presentation on balancing busy lives and family spirituality to "kickstart" her Lent in new and different ways. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

GERMANTOWN HILLS — Saints-in-the-making of all ages heard words of encouragement — and a few challenges — when nationally known blogger and author Lisa Hendey recently visited central Illinois.

While she was in the area from Feb. 8 to 10, she talked to the students at St. Patrick School in Washington and St. Mary School in Metamora, presented thoughts on “The Sacred Balancing Act: Busy Lives and Family Spirituality” at St. Mary of Lourdes in Germantown Hills, and gave a retreat on “The Grace of Yes” at the Washington church

It wasn’t her first time in the Diocese of Peoria, however. Hendey attended the Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria when Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was declared “venerable” in 2012 and said she continues to pray for the beatification of this “groundbreaking evangelist.”

Hendey said the life of this local man who came from humble beginnings and is now on the path to sainthood can provide an example and inspiration to all of us as we seek to do God’s will.

A BLESSING NOW

The call to sainthood was part of the message she shared with the children in Washington and Metamora.

“Each of us is made by God to be a saint — we say saints-in-the-making because we’re not saints yet,” she said. “But just like the saints were people who were role models and who were prayer warriors, that’s what we’re called to do, too.”

She added that she talked to the students about the ways a third-grader or a fifth-grader or a seventh-grader can be a saint in their community and said, “It’s amazing how, when you talk to them, they can tell you all the way’s they’re blessing their community.”

Hendey said she also tries to help children claim their gifts and consider how to use them to be God’s storyteller. Her new books series, “Chime Travelers,” aims to do just that.

“I’m always inspired by what they teach me, because I talk about these topics regularly but the kids are different and the community is different,” she told The Catholic Post. “You can see that they understand and appreciate their role in the church.”

That role is not as the future of the church, however.

“We need them right now to lead us to Jesus,” Hendey said. “A second-grader is so close to Jesus in the moment they receive that sacrament (First Communion). It’s a blessing for the entire family and it reminds us how special that is.”

(Related story: Hendey calls wise use of technology important part of ‘Sacred Balancing Act’)

CHERISHING “CIRCLE OF LIFE”

Speaking at St. Mary of Lourdes in Metamora on Feb. 8, Hendey said one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is letting them know that church is home, too — just as much home as the place in which they live and sleep.

Hendey said one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is letting them know that church is home, too — just as much home as the place in which they live and sleep.

She suggested that every church reserve the first three pews for young families, where children can see what’s happening on the altar. While she said it might be necessary to take children out to calm them from time to time, the best way they can learn is by engaging all their senses.

That will require everyone to cherish “the circle of life,” Hendey said, from crying babies to older parishioners who may be irritated by those crying babies.

Don’t know how to start balancing busy lives and family spirituality? Make Mass as a family a priority each weekend and then plan everything around that, she said, noting that reading or praying the Gospel before heading to church can set the tone.

“I challenge you, if you’re not already praying over Scripture, do it for Lent,” she told them.

Praying your newsfeed on social media is another way to set an example and make a difference, Hendey said. That means not just “liking” something but pausing and saying a prayer.

Asking your children to pray for you and what needs prayer in their lives can take family spirituality to the next level, she added.

“Let’s stop waiting for the church to form another committee,” Hendey said, noting that we are church, too. “Let’s make this a place that’s vibrant and our children can’t wait to get to.”

For more information about Lisa Hendey, visit CatholicMom.com.

 

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