By Brian Freyberger, Parishioner since 1997
I was born into and raised in the Catholic faith, although my dad is Lutheran and my mom is Catholic. When they married in 1966, they agreed to 2 things: 1.) any children would be raised Catholic and 2.) Mom would not try to convert dad.
They took the step and 51 years of marriage later, they look back on a life where they raised 5 children, enjoy 12 grandchildren and both continue to be quite active in their faith communities. I’m sure it wasn’t exactly as they had planned, but they trusted in God.
They set an example for us about being active in our faith; about being involved and not taking the seat on the sidelines and watching others. Their agreement to raise the children Catholic took me to Catholic school from K-8. As a cradle Catholic, I learned all the rules and knew WHAT I was supposed to do, but I had no idea WHY we did what we did. And to be honest, I don’t think I was very interested in digging into it.
The journey God has taken me on since those early years has been remarkable. About twelve years ago, I started considering more deeply the priorities I was setting in my life. No different than other men, I was trying to balance a career and a young family. I got Mass in, but never really got into Mass. I was going through the motions. I realize now that was not all bad; it was the foundation set early in my life that I continued to live out even when I didn’t realize why I was doing it.
I don’t think I fully recognized it at the time, but looking back, I know God was speaking to me. He has continued to prompt me ever since. When He asks me to take a step, there is something amazing that I experience. This included becoming Youth Ministers with the high school teens at Seton, joining the Seton Marriage Ministry, the Saturday morning Men’s Breakfast Club and spending time to develop my faith life and knowledge of Why we do what we do as Catholics. However, in truth, I don’t always listen to the invitation to take the next step. I am certainly a work in progress.
Through all of this, I have become is a Convinced Catholic. Convinced that the Catholic Church is the Church established by Christ. Convinced that the Sacraments and Liturgy are powerful weapons that strengthen me to live a life that is uniquely different from how the world encourages me to live. Convinced that I need other men in my life to share in this journey and to help me navigate the situations I find myself in as a Catholic Man.
I’m also convinced that as men, we too often sit on the sidelines and watch. Too often, we allow our wives to lead the faith of our families. We say, ‘once this happens or I get to this position, then I’ll dig deeper in my faith life. The problem is every step like that leads to a desire for more of that. I’m convinced that our sons and daughters need strong, courageous Catholic Men to stand up and lead; our wives need strong, courageous Catholic Men to stand up and lead. God continues to speak to me. He continues to challenge me to take the next step to draw closer to Him and live my life in the way He has designed.
Courageous on 9.9.17 at Seton will be a day when Seton Men come together to learn from each other, listen to that voice of God and figure out what that next step is for our faith journey. I have learned that I need other Catholic Men in my life. I hope you will join me and have the courage to take the next step in your faith journey.