When we purchased our vehicle, we received a subscription to Sirius/XM satellite radio, and I discovered "The Catholic Channel." We love it! And one of my favorite shows on this channel is The Catholics Next Door with Greg and Jennifer Willits. I think I like them because I see so many parallels between their life and ours (though Tom and I are not as holy as the Willits, but I digress!). We like them because we can relate to them: they are our age, also have five kids, have had miscarriages, early in their marriage weren't faithful to the Church's teaching on family planning but now are fully devoted, have homeschooled, and are not afraid to let us in on the adventures of their family life. They have a great sense of humor and most importantly, their passion for Christ and His Church permeates the airwaves :).
I recall listening to them on a road trip once, about a year ago. An older lady called in and had some obvious bitterness towards the Church, including her own personal upbringing having to pray a family Rosary regularly. She felt it was a dead prayer, and a dead church; we should pray freely from our hearts (the typical criticism). She was no longer going to a Catholic church but had been attending somewhere else. As I listened, I wondered how Greg was going to handle this one - cause it was going to be tough! This lady would not be an easy nut to crack. Yet the fact she called in tells me she needed something ...
Well let me tell you, Greg was amazing. He treated her with such love and respect, but yet was uncompromising, challenging her to go back to the Church, giving explanation to her criticisms, telling her that all those Rosaries she prayed as a child were likely even now benefiting her. She called in with bitterness, but hung up a little softened. Such was the grace with which Greg handled this caller. And I was won over to their show.
Greg and Jennifer have written a book! It has just been released and I downloaded it to my handy dandy Kindle: The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living.
Its a pleasure to read! Throughout the book Greg and Jennifer take turns writing from their perspective and experience on various topics, from being a witness to your neighbour, family spirituality, keeping your marriage healthy, how children lead us to heaven, all the way to how Catholic life is Eucharistic. They discuss how they overcame certain doubts on aspects of the faith. They talk about their Rosary ministry, the sacraments, their journey to natural family planning and their experience in and out of homeschooling. Finally, they call us to embrace technology and social media as a way of evangelization, and to that end they have founded a ministry to do just that - New Evangelization. All in all, an inspiring read.
Love these guys. I wish they really did live next door :)!
Nice to be back, friends! God bless your week.