Any parent who has ever helped their toddler change their clothes knows the struggle: You’re trying to guide them (“take your arm out; put one leg into your pajamas at a time; slide the shirt over your head …”), and they seem to be sabotaging the process at every turn — you pull the shirt up over their head, and they’re pulling it back down. The two of you aren’t working together, so nothing is getting accomplished. You’re not working like a team. What does this all have to do with family faith? The connection between sports and families is easy to see once you think about it. And in the context of faith and family, this example is vitally important.
During the fall our 10-year-old plays football for our parish school. Games are scheduled for 10:30 and 11:30 a.m on Sunday mornings — right in the heart of Mass times. Occasionally he and a smattering of teammates could be found kneeling in the pew at 9 a.m. Mass in cleats and football pants — their helmets and shoulder pads waiting patiently in the car. Yes, there are plenty of Mass options in our area, but it never made sense that a Catholic organization would put something in the way of families attending their preferred church at their preferred time. It seems counterintuitive to the mission of the Church. Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way.