Last week, a few of us went to see Jen Fulwiler from the Catholic Channel. I was in the throes of the germ that has settled into most of Missouri and used about 12 filters in the picture above to look even half-way decent. (Kim and Shari- so sorry for washing you out, but it was the only way to get rid of the dark circles that made me appear I’d just come from a bar fight.)

Jen talked about her own use of these editing tools. Except. I know she was lying, and I hope she goes to confession. Despite what she said, in person she looks exactly like her insta feed.

She is also very, very on point with “real” Catholic-momming. At the show, it felt a little like those of us in the photo above were the only ones in the room without six or more kids. For a hot second, I found myself confused and wondering if this made us sub-par Catholics, or at the very least, sub-par audience members? (We were, in fact, laughing politely when others were doubled over with tears in their eyes.) But then I realized if that were true, a large portion of the Church would be disenfranchised, and this simply isn’t the case.

Or at least, it doesn’t need to be the case. Disenfranchisement can be a choice. And beyond the choices we make as individuals, we get to decide whether or not we are going to reach out and help others understand this as well. I work with a person who informed me he “used to be Catholic” but stopped “going” because when he tried to go, someone made him feel sub-par about it. Someone made him feel like a “Bad Catholic.”  This made me sad. I wondered if the person who triggered this stoppage had any clue? (Also, let’s get real “bad Catholic” is an actual thing people say.  “Bad Presbyterian” is NOT. That seems silly. We need to choose to drop this mind-set.)

I admire what Jen Fulwiler is doing with her life, and I admire the huge Catholic families we often see in mass. There is much good in the service of God. But I also understand that their service is different than mine- different than YOURS.  We all have a role to play. The key to answer the call in the way that we are able, to keep going back to the sacraments, and to help ensure others feel welcomed to do the same.