In Frank's own words...
Unexpectedly, about five years ago I had this strong, burning desire to attend Ash Wednesday services. This was highly unusual as I had not attended church for years. I looked up catholic churches on the internet, since I was new to the area, and was soulfully lead to Prince of Peace. After the service, the priest lingered afterwards; who I found out later on was the Pastor, Fr. Eric. From my past experiences, the priest rarely stayed after the service and yet this priest was waiting and we chatted for a few minutes. Eventually I began attending mass.
At one of the masses, Fr Eric asked parishioners to consider joining a Connect Group. I had some trepidation about my spouse and me joining. Several thoughts ran through my head: Will the group like us? This is going to be a horrible experience, amongst many other things. In the end, the Holy Spirit won and we joined a group.
Joining a Connect Group was one of the best decisions I ever made. The members are amazing. For one of the first times in my life we, my spouse and I, feel loved and accepted. I was an only child and my mother was not very maternal or encouraging. When my mother had a stroke along with other medical issues, I traveled to Florida so I could help her. Our Connect Group family members constantly sent encouraging notes, prayers and at one point, a member of our group traveled by car to Florida, packed with coolers full of food, frozen homemade prepared meals made by the entire Connect Group; and stayed with us for two weeks, and gave plenty of assistance; this trip turned out to be one of three that this member made. They supported my mother and me with prayers for the many difficult decisions I had to make regarding her care. They even sent the books from Fr. Branson’s Brewing Conversations series as I had to miss many of them.
My mother was in hospice when she passed away. I felt the strength of their prayers throughout all the health, relational and emotional struggles. Everyone in the group came to the funeral mass held at Prince of Peace for my mother and continues to support and love me. As I sat down and reflected on these past events, I knew the Holy Spirit guided me throughout this journey beginning with the desire to go to Prince of Peace on that Ash Wednesday, joining a Connect Group and celebrating the life of my mother. Amazing Grace and an amazing Connect Group.