How a baby (and parents) got it all going

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Ready to lead: Justin and Ashleigh Donnelly, with 16-month-old Rosemary and St Patrick’s East Gosford parish Priest Fr Greg Skulski SDS. The Donnellys have signed up as part of the first group to be leaders of the Domestic Church Movement, a program aimed at renewing Catholic family life - and therefore the Church. Photo: ALphonsus Fo
Ready to lead: Justin and Ashleigh Donnelly, with 16-month-old Rosemary and St Patrick’s East Gosford parish Priest Fr Greg Skulski SDS. The Donnellys have signed up as part of the first group to be leaders of the Domestic Church Movement, a program aimed at renewing Catholic family life – and therefore the Church. Photo: ALphonsus Fok

Maria Andrzejewski believes a little “divine Intervention” had a lot to do with establishing the Domestic Church Movement in her parish.

The East Gosford parishioner and her husband Adrian had tried for many years to have a baby and despite five miscarriages believed that “God had a plan for their lives and if they trusted in him and let him act, He knew the best time for everything that happened in their life”.

Rather than giving up, the Polish-born couple continued to pray and fifteen months ago became parents to baby Rita.

As “luck” would have it, Maria’s parents arrived from Poland for an extended visit to help Maria and Adrian prepare for a return to work following the birth at the very same time that parish priest Fr Greg Skulski SDS decided he wanted to introduce the movement in his parish.

“She said if she had not had baby Rita, her parents would not have been in the country and the Domestic Church would probably not have been introduced in their parish.”

For the movement to be launched in a new country, the first parish to install it must have foundation members from Poland introduce it, and Maria’s parents fit the bill and were able to act as the piloting couple and bring with them more than 40 years’ experience.

As long-time members of the Domestic Church in Poland, they had the knowledge, dedication and access to the right information to roll out the program.

Maria said it was such a blessing to have her parents in Australia just as the parish priest wanted to introduce the movement.

She said if she had not had baby Rita, her parents would not have been in the country and the Domestic Church would probably not have been introduced in their parish.

“It really is a bit of divine intervention how it all worked out, the timing was almost too good to be true,” she said.

From little things big things come: Fr Greg Skvlski SDS, Maria Andrzejewski, her parents Elizabeth and George, and Bishop Anthony Randazzo are all pleased to see the Domestic Church Movement up and running in East Gosford.
From little things big things come: Fr Greg Skvlski SDS, Maria Andrzejewski, her parents Elizabeth and George, and Bishop Anthony Randazzo are all pleased to see the Domestic Church Movement up and running in East Gosford.

“The Domestic Church Movement creates a friendly and welcoming environment within our parish and provides structured formation in line with Catholic teachings and traditions.

“There are a lot of new families and couples moving into our area and we want to make sure, as a parish, we have got something to offer for everyone to extend their spiritual growth possibilities beyond attending the Sunday Mass and to celebrate our faith more within our family homes as well.

“Domestic Church are real buzz words right now, meaning quite simply the family is the Church at home.

“The movement is in full communion with the Catholic Church and during every monthly meeting there is always a priest in attendance to guide us and make sure we are following authentic interpretations of The Bible,” she said.

“We feel there will be a lot of work but with the support of the Holy Spirit, we also believe God will guide the right people to come on board to spread this incredible program in Australia.”

“This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary which is a very special time to introduce it here in East Gosford.

“We feel there will be a lot of work but with the support of the Holy Spirit, we also believe God will guide the right people to come on board to spread this incredible program in Australia.

“It is very exciting not only for us, but for my parents to be missionaries here.

“I can honestly see this movement travelling from parish to parish and I am very excited that it has all started here in East Gosford.”