Finding Faith in Our Heritage
“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.” ~1 Corinthians 7:17
I’ll just say it. It has been a rough year. There have been moments of happiness, but let’s just say I’ll be happy to kick 2023 to the curb on December 31st and leave it at that.
When things go awry, you keep trying to remind yourself there is a reason you are on a certain path. You just don’t know why. It’s all in God’s time, as only He knows the plan. You just need to have faith.
Apostolato Italiano dell’Arcidiocesi di Newark
As I continue down this journey of ancestral exploration, the faith of our heritage continues to play an important role in those I’ve had the opportunity to meet. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Apostolato Italiano dell’Arcidiocesi di Newark, also known as the Italian Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Newark. This amazing group of Italian-Americans and Americans of Italian descent have built a community focused around their heritage and their faith.
When I arrived at their monthly meeting, I knew two people in attendance. I listened to everyone as they shared their current projects and what is coming up. When someone shared a problem they encountered, someone else offered to help. It was a community in the truest sense of the world.
At the end of the meeting, I nervously stood up and introduced myself. In my usual ineloquent fashion (I was never good speaking “on the spot”), I shared information about my current projects. I was welcomed by those in the room. I was encouraged.
After the meeting, we did what our community does best. We prayed as a group and then we ate. We all continued to mill about and chat. As the evening came to a close, many helped straighten the room, put away the chairs, and the conversation continued.
I thanked everyone for welcoming me so warmly. Then I was thanked for attending. I was reminded if I can’t make it to a meeting in person, I can join online and continue to listen.
I left feeling uplifted.
I drove home from the meeting at St. Joseph’s, Lodi in quiet reflection. I entered that room essentially a stranger, yet I was welcomed. I shared a prayer, a meal, and a coffee. Just like so many of us did growing up.
While I may not live within the Archdiocese of Newark anymore, it will always be my home.
If you are part of the Newark Archdiocese, or even if you aren’t, and you want to continue to grow in your faith and in your Italian heritage, I encourage you to follow the Italian Apostolate on social media and participate in their events. They are a wonderful group of people.
And you will be right where God has placed you.