“SOMETHING stirs within – perhaps a memory or a dormant yearning …” was the way Liz Kelly described her gradual turning back to church attendance in her adult life.
She wrote the words in a poem she wrote last year at Foundations of Lay Pastoral Ministry course in Brisbane.
Mrs Kelly, who is parish secretary at Sandgate-Brighton, wrote the poem about a Catholic returning to Mass after years of finding reasons not to attend.
“(The poem) is not wholly based on myself but there was a time that I made a conscious decision to commit to regular church attendance as an adult after sporadic attendance in my early 20s,” she said.
Things started to change when it came to raising her four children with her husband David Kelly.
“My faith was there but it had been lying dormant until it was re-awakened when it came to passing it on to the children,” she said.
“I had to think about (my faith) because of having to pass on the faith to the children.
“It’s hard to (pass it on) when you don’t know what you’re handing on.”
Mrs Kelly said she was raised a Catholic, was educated in Catholic schools and attended Mass every Sunday with her family but, in high school, her Mass attendance “became a little sporadic as social commitments increased”.
“When I left school and joined full-time work, Mass attendance slipped further down my list of priorities particularly as none of my peers were either practising Catholics or Catholics at all,” she said.
In her late teens, she met David who was from a similar Catholic background and who attended Mass regularly with his family.
“We would often attend Mass together at St John the Baptist Church in Enoggera before going out,” Mrs Kelly said.
“After a number of years dating, we married in 1990.
“Both working full-time while renovating a ‘gem’ in Sandgate, priorities changed again.
“We were finding regular Mass attendance more difficult to ‘fit in’ to our increasingly busy lives.”
They decided that had to change once the kids came along and they had to think about passing on the faith.
Mrs Kelly said Mass attendance began to take on more of a priority.
“Even when I was attending as an early teenager and into my early 20s, I wasn’t really attending – I was only there to tick a box,” she said.
“When I ‘came back’, it wasn’t just to tick a box, it was because I really wanted to be there.
“I didn’t feel my faith was growing until then.”
“Due to the age of the children”, David would attend 7am Mass with the older two while Liz stayed at home with the youngest.
“Then I attended the 9am Mass (often alone),” Mrs Kelly said.
“This created an opportunity to become more involved and I eventually began working in the piety stall.
“This small but vital venture was a wonderful way to gently slip into other ministries in the Church.”
As the children grew older, Mrs Kelly began focusing more on her own faith.
She was participating more actively in the Mass and listening more attentively.
At the same time a priest’s homilies and “instruction in the faith” were hitting home.
“He brought back a lot of things I knew as a child – Adoration … explaining the reasons for the Readings …,” Mrs Kelly said.
“It wasn’t until I had time to sit and listen to what I was being taught through Lent, leading up to Easter, that Easter came alive.
“Easter had more meaning for me – hearing those Readings.
“I’d been listening to those words since I was seven but I didn’t actually hear them till then – till about 10 years ago.”
Mrs Kelly summed it up in her poem: “My absence long, my return triumphant – I am a child of God. This is where I should be!”