Recent clergy abuse scandals in the US involving leading Catholic Church figures have only confirmed the need for lay people to step up and “take ownership” of their faith and parishes, says Lisa Hendey.
The Californian-based author and speaker this month was in Australia visiting schools and parishes in Sydney and Canberra at the invitation of Marist College, Canberra.
Lisa spoke to The Catholic Weekly while in Sydney where she also attended a meet-and-greet session for Parousia Media at Dural and presented talks on busy family spirituality for the Diocese of Broken Bay and at St Patrick’s Church Hill.
She said that while it is easy to recognise in the lives of saints such as St Mary MacKillop and the new Servant of God Eileen O’Connor that they had a calling from God we have the same the call within our own lives and homes.
“We all have a role to play,” she said.
“To take the family as an analogy in any family we have our chores, our responsibilities.
“When something is wrong or out of balance in our family we do something about it.
“When we look at the institutional Church and its laity who make up the bulk of it it’s our responsibility to rise up now and try to fix the problems that are evident.
“We have to start by taking ownership of our parishes. We have to be part of the solution.”
Steve Buhagiar of the Life, Family, Marriage team for Broken Bay, and himself a father said that “mums and dads are hungry for tips on how to become better parents to their children” and that Lisa brought much expertise in the area of parenting and spirituality.
“It’s true that we sometimes fail in this critical task but the fact that others are going through the same thing and having a forum which notes the universal nature of this struggle is really important,” he said.
“Our director of evangelisation, Daniel Ang, is very supportive of any initiative that helps parents to be better prepared in meeting the challenges of marriage and family life with confidence.”
Lisa said it is easy for parents to become overwhelmed by the busyness of life but that “the little acts of love we do in our home are a great way of teaching our children the way that God loves us”.
Katie Fullilove, mother of three young boys said she enjoyed Lisa’s reassurance that parents didn’t need to do complicated things at home to encourage their children to appreciate their Catholic faith.
“What I liked was her down to earth, realistic approach that at the end of the day focussed on love rather than how much we achieve,” she said.