Diane Seow is a fellow parishioner of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, in Miramar, Florida for about 16 years. A recent graduate of the two year Lay Ministry program, CCD teacher for nine years, Eucharistic Minister, assisting with the weekly Communion Service at the State Hospital. Married with two sons, both in college, working for the past 12 1/2 years in the credit department of a building supply company. Here is just a small portion of her story.
I was introduced to St. Barts (as we lovingly refer to our parish) many years before I actually registered, through many celebrations of the Sacraments of family friends, so our move to that parish seemed very natural. In 1999, I went to register my sons for CCD, and one of the CCD teachers, a fellow 5:30 p.m. Saturday Mass attendee, pointed me out to Mercedes Brown, and told her that I could teach Sunday School. Mercedes saw my shocked expression and immediately put me at ease my telling me, " Just come and see, if you don't like it, no problem". The following Wednesday evening, I dropped off the boys saying, "I'm supposed to start teaching, but I don't know". They jumped out of the car, and I went to park, asking the Lord for a sign that I should do this. Instantly, a feeling of complete peacefulness fell upon me, I got out of the car, and walked into the school building, never looking back. On Sunday, September 13, 2009, I begin my 10th year, and I can't imagine not teaching about God.
In 2003, my older sister died suddenly, and I was in a daze, the loss of a sibling can be so unnerving. Later that year, Fr. Paul said to me that I should attend the upcoming Parish Renewal. What a turning point for me. It was such a beautiful experience, one that helped cement my relationship with my fellow parishioners, and made me appreciate the great diversity that we are privleged to experience at St. Barts. That retreat led to some close friendships, one of which led me to a wonderful small prayer group, then to daily Mass, which turned into a million questions about our Catholic religion, rituals and teachings, and under the direction of Fr. Paul, to the Lay Ministry program.
The Lay Ministry program was very informative, and a great way to meet wonderful faithful Catholics from other parishes, all involved in some wonderful ministries. Many friendships were formed, others strengthened. There is so much richness in our Catholic faith, so much to learn and appreciate.
In all a tremendous journey, one that I pray more parishioners would take. Simply attending Mass once a week, which is a still of wonderful way to spend an hour, cannot bring you to your fullest potential as a Catholic. Time spent in daily prayer, reception of the Blessed Sacrament several times a week, and daily reading of the Scriptures is vital to survive. It also brings us closer to God, the one sure love in our life. I encourage anyone who reads this, to start with a few minutes of prayer every day, and see where it leads you! Peace and love.
I've set aside this page aside for those who are willing to share their experiences on the faith journey.