Nine eager ladies converged on Our Lady of Fatima Chapel in Chelsea, OK, on the First Saturday of December, to attend Mass and participate in the first meeting of their newly-organized chapter of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers.
Invigorated by the sacraments, they retreated to the hall for a delightful brunch with gracious helpings of convivial conversation and happy introductions. Fr. Carlos Zepeda breakfasted with them and then delivered instructive talks, beginning with the history of the Confraternity.
As the members are mostly new to Christian Mothers, Father took care to help them envision all that the Confraternity can be for them, both spiritually and materially, if they live up to the possibilities it offers.
In “The Virtues We Should Practice,” Father began by urging the ladies to see themselves as having a duty toward the other women, “to lead them to heaven, to help them save their souls and those of their children, to be a good example”.
Giving them specifics, Fr. Zepeda implored the ladies to: 1. Help one another. 2. Don’t judge. 3. Pray sincerely and sacrifice for each other and the children. 4. Submit ideas and projects for priestly guidance before proceeding. 5. Watch each other’s backs. 6. Persevere as individual mothers with humility and obedience. 7. Always have an activity/work to do at the meeting to help avoid murmuring and detraction. 8. Be humble and cooperate with leadership. 9. If called to leadership, accept it as a sacrifice and fulfill it with a servant’s heart.
In his talk on “The Possibilities of the Confraternity”, Father first emphasized that the Confraternity is a means of providing the members with a truly Catholic circle of friends “for comfort and help”, who can support and encourage one another in the daily events of life. These good Catholic friends can be counted on to respond appropriately when one is in the hospital or is having problems in which a non-Catholic friend might advise one improperly. The Confraternity friends can provide material help when needed as in the case of traumatic events like serious accidents and fires. But Father also suggested working together to form such things as a food co-op or other discount buying clubs to support family life.
Father highlighted the advantage of having spiritual support through the prayer of the other ladies and also through the support of their good example in such things as modesty and mothering.
The good example of the Confraternity women can also be a draw for converts to the parish and can be a means of outreach to help save souls if the ladies engage in an apostolate to visit the sick and elderly, Father explained.
Following the talks, Father introduced the ladies to a charades-type game called “Salad Bowl”, which he happily explained is a favorite at Mater Dei Seminary. Father and the ladies divided into two teams, and a brilliant, fast-paced competition ensued, with some of the shy ladies finding a place to truly shine. Father’s team won at last, and everyone laughed and expressed their interest in playing again another time. The ladies basked in the resulting good cheer and relaxation.
During the talks, Father had taken the opportunity to remind the women of the importance of recreation and had related, with an example from his days in a Carmelite convent, how important it can be, especially when one is having a bad day.
The afternoon closed with a Barter Blanket activity, where the women exchanged all kinds of interesting items, including home-canned foods, books, yard eggs, sun hats, household goods, essential oils, and home-baked bread.
Father gave the ladies his blessing before everyone departed for home, bursting with goodwill, encouragement, and Christian joy, eager to begin building on the foundation that he had laid for them.