After years of trying to start and sustain a youth group, Hazel hears about this strange thing called "GS". . . .
Long ago, I was listening to my favorite podcast, Catholic Stuff You Should Know, while working on one of my many art projects, when a very special episode came on. They were talking about this group of intentional, faithful, Catholic adults that meets to have Mass, a meal, and deep discussions. It stirred something deep within me, and all I could think was: “Wow, I wish they had this in my area and for youth.” It had this very foreign to me (at the time) name--Communion and Liberation. However, since it was not something for my age group (as far as I could tell) I moved on and quickly forgot it. Now years later, I was part of a group of youth that desired something so much more than our parish youth groups seemed to be able to give, so we decided to start our own group where we would strive to take the spirit of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (used with 0-12 years) and apply it to the twelve- to eighteen-year-olds. Long story short, after our second year, we saw that it was not going so well, and our leader, Mandie, found GS. She mentioned it to us, saying how it seemed to fill much of what we hungered for so deeply. Then COVID-19 hit, and everything shut down. Now being the person I am, I was very stubborn and set in my ways. I had worked too hard for too many years on our youth project to abandon it, and whatever this GS thing was, I was not interested. When they announced over email that we would do GS over Zoom, I was still set on not going. Did I mention I am a little stubborn? So they had a couple meetings online, and I just did not go. Meanwhile, my faith was tossed and turned like a small boat out at sea. I was not doing well, but I did not see any way out. I was lost, hopeless and spiritually starving. Luckily, I have an equally stubborn friend, Grace. She persisted in inviting me to these online meetings, reassuring me that my cynicism was unfounded, and asking me to just please try one meeting. So I did. And then I never stopped. When we had our meet up in Minnesota, I was filled with joy all day. It was not until then, talking with Sebastian, that I made the connection that this was the Movement that had stirred my heart and soul so long ago, through that podcast episode. Oh, how God loves to put hints and spoilers hidden in our lives that can only be recognized by self-reflection. Throughout the quarantine, GS kept me going. They restored my faith that there are actually those in the Church and in life who care deeply, live fully, and love Christ. Even though I did not get to meet any of them in person for so long (I did not meet most of them until our trip to Minnesota this fall) I knew I belonged with them, because together we all belonged to Christ, and because we all were aware of this reality. I still miss meetings occasionally, and I still struggle with much of what I did before, but this time I am not alone. GS has become my family like nothing else. My life has changed for the better, and I do not ever want to go back. Hazel, Prole, Iowa