by Ally Ascosi
Last summer, Fr. Santhosh George invited our family to bring ChristLife to his parish, St. Mark in Catonsville, MD. For a considerable part of our marriage, Peter and I ran ChristLife courses together. In the last few years, the demands of little ones have limited my involvement. But, amazingly, God had already been stirring in us a desire to run ChristLife together, so we said yes!
A team of wonderful people came together, people who were energized and drawn to the vision of growing in faith and community. After months of prayer and training, the Discovering Christ course was approaching. And then the setbacks started. In particular, an uptick of Covid cases forced us to get creative, changing the start date and cutting the dinner.
From the beginning, we desired to run a Discovering Christ for Kids, so families could come together, enjoy a meal and then participate simultaneously. But with the changes and increased safety measures, we wrestled about whether to have an offering for kids. After much prayer, Peter was convicted.
After seeing the simple invite cards we made, Leyna, my 12-year-old said, “If we want kids to come, we need them to be more fun! With more color!” It was true!
One afternoon, the pastor and our family went door-to-door and invited all of St. Mark’s neighbors to come. I was hesitant to knock on doors, wanting to just leave the invite in the mailbox, but my kids boldly knocked and invited anyone they saw!
The kids not only helped with invites, but helped with setup, clean-up, kids activities, and greeting.
The course turned out to be a huge success. We had a packed parish center, with many more participants than expected. Our hospitality team made it feel so special with nice desserts and decor. God was faithful, many people had a personal encounter with Jesus or their faith became truly real to them.
And as for the kids, although it was a small group, we had several children come who were able to hear the gospel for the first time. One child said, “Jesus is a King!? Wow, I didn’t know that.” Many wanted to come back each week, and our own kids looked forward to Tuesday night with enthusiasm!
The relationships we’ve made and experiences we’ve shared through ChristLife have made our new parish feel like home. And doing it as a family allowed us to discover, follow, and share Jesus together!