My son has a friend who has made up his mind he wants to be Catholic. He doesn’t have any family members who are Catholic. He went about this, in my opinion, the right way. He considered several different religions, studied them, asked about them, and then decided that he wanted to learn more about the Catholic faith. He attended a couple of different Catholic churches but then made up his mind to consider St. Jerome Catholic Church in Fancy Farm. I don’t know why. He lives in Marshall County. He went to Graves County High School and was friends with my son, John, but he really didn’t have any other ties to St. Jerome or Fancy Farm. He then started attending classes to learn more about the Catholic faith and started to get involved in other ways at church. When I met him he tried to explain his path. He was raised Church of Christ and Baptist. He has some Jewish ancestry. It wasn’t that he had a problem with those faiths, he was just looking for more. He would come out to the Rosary on Wednesday nights some and he seemed to spend an awful lot of time in church.

Of course, I fell in love with him.

Not literally, but I decided to make him a member of my family, and to help him in any way that we could through his journey. Since he got to 8 o’clock Mass pretty early he had his choice of seats which meant that we always had a seat waiting for us when we got there. Since most of my kids have left home I have been so excited that we have him with us at Mass.

Bryce has been going to classes for over a year. There are times that he and John have lively discussions about the faith. Sometimes they include me. I felt so blessed when Bryce asked John to be his sponsor into the church. It made sense to me, two brothers in faith, taking Bryce down this road.

I’m not going to tell you that this has been an easy road for this boy. He graduated from high school but couldn’t come to the Graduates Mass at church because he had a flat tire. Once he was out of school he began working at a nursing home almost full time. Then he started going to school in the fall. So he’s been working close to full time and going to school full time. He goes to school in Paducah, lives in Marshall County and comes to church in Fancy Farm. The boy is on the road. But his dedication to this process has impressed me beyond belief.

I’m not going to tell you that he’s knocked the church doors down, because he hasn’t. He’s missed some of his classes and he’s missed Mass. But he has been there more often than not and he’s done something that you don’t see too many people do these days: he brings people with him. It’s like he goes around asking people he interacts with if they have a faith life. And if they don’t, he brings them to Fancy Farm. There are many times when I am overly thrilled when I pull up for the rosary and he is there with a friend.

If you ask him to do something he gets it done. Last year, while he was still in high school, I asked him to help me with some plants for the Grotto. I don’t have a green thumb and he was taking a landscaping class. He got the plants, planted the plants, and worked at watering those plants all through the summer (I’m sure he had help though from the watering genie who shows up out at church some). The point is, I didn’t have to do it. Thankfully. I really am not good at that. This year, I mentioned the plants and the next thing I knew they were planted.

We don’t normally go to the Easter Vigil at St. Jerome Church each year. We’ve been some but mainly because we knew someone who was joining the church. I will tell you this, I will put this on my calendar to go to from here on out. It might have been more special to me because Bryce was entering the Church Saturday night but I don’t think so. I think I just looked at the celebration a lot differently. I was excited and joyful and emotional, all in one fell swoop.

To say that I am proud of Bryce and his journey is an understatement. To say that I am proud of the Catholic faith and my Catholic community, that goes without saying.

Welcome Bryce, and all those who entered the faith on Easter.

Cynthia Elder


An Easter Wake-Up Call

Days after holidays are my favorite Facebook days!
Never get to go to church on Sundays
Because of my work schedule
Got to go to church 4 times last week
It was awesome and did me ALOT of good
Best part was I managed to stay awake
And go to Easter Sunday mass yesterday (early mass)
I was sitting in the back pew
Drifting off just a little when SUDDENLY…..
I was startled by a cold gush of many holy water sprinkles
Splash me from behind and run down my neck
I had not seen Father leave the altar
With that big bucket of ice cold Easter water
Needless to say, Father Darrell took much enjoyment
When he returned to the altar after generously “blessing” us all
It was then that he simply, but proudly confessed…

“THAT…is one of my favorite things I get to do as a priest!”

Susan Mills Carrico12923214_10207731927349804_6045123536555060282_n

The Rosary on a Cold Night


January 20, 2016

Whenever I was younger one of my teachers told me to hold my rosary like I was proud to use it. I’m sure you could imagine little stubborn Katie did not have any of it. Now I hold it higher than I hold anything else. I’m sure you all are wondering why I’m not in Washington D.C. God had other plans. Tonight I attended the rosary at the grotto. There are wonderful women and usually dad who will go through anything the elements throw at them to pray the rosary for anyone who needs it. Brothers and sisters, I come to you not to preach, but to encourage. You see, instead of being on a bus with other pro-life members, I was in Fancy Farm. I could’ve easily chosen not to go to the rosary. In fact, I was really thinking about it. I went. Silly me forgot her new gloves that her wonderful father bought her for the March. I got through it ladies and gentlemen. Tonight was the sorrowful mysteries and I cried because I wasn’t in Washington. I then calmed down. (I’m the master of silent crying.) If you don’t know, the fifth sorrowful mystery was of course the one that always hits home. Jesus dies on the cross. I bawled of course. It’s funny how He died for us on the cross and we take that for granted often. I know I do. We try to be holy. Like the red words say, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I encourage you all to come to the grotto. I know many of us try the New Year’s Resolution of losing weight. What about becoming more holy? Or at least try? The Lenten season is coming up and I cannot be more excited as I am giving up bread. (Except the Body of Christ obviously.) I encourage you all to come out to the grotto on Wednesdays at 5:30. Many of you go to The Stations of the Cross, why not come pray the rosary before it? I’m just asking for you guys to try. If you’re busy I understand. As for Washington I will be at the church tomorrow to pray the rosary, as will hopefully a bunch of others to pray for life. If you can’t come, pray at home! Below are my fingers freezing off, but if Jesus can suffer all he went through, I can get through the rosary on a cold night.

Katie Elder

After the Mission

I swore I wasn’t going to do it.  I was not going to write about the Mission until it really had time to soak in.  And maybe I’ll write about it then too.

I love the missions out at St. Jerome.  This is my third or fourth one.  The first one I attended after we rejoined St. Jerome will go down in infamy.  I still marvel at the person I have become since then.  But it always seems that whoever gives the mission hits me the right way.  I seem to have something on my heart that needs some clarity.  And it seems that the presenter is talking directly to me.

So obviously I was ready.  I had blocked off the time on my calendar.  Nothing was going to interfere with my time there.   My family was on board, for the most part.  The kids have been so busy and they were getting ready for the FFA National Convention.  That and Katie working they weren’t really able to go.  John did go one night.

When we headed to church I had my notebook, my good ink pen and my iPhone.  I was set to be an attentive listener but I was also set to take lots of notes on things that were said but also with things that just popped into my mind.  You never know when divine wisdom is going to strike.  It’s like lightening.  And I was going to be ready.

Usually when I go to Mass prepared to be interactive I like to find a lone pew, next to a wall, where I can spread out and get comfortable.  Well that really couldn’t happen.  The place was packed.  I did find a pew, close to where we normally sit but there were people in front of me and behind me.  When Jimmy came to sit down then we had another couple join us.  I still was prepared to take notes but I had to look like I was paying attention.  People don’t alway serialize that I can do three things at once.  So even though I was listening I had to look the part.  That was okay.  I can give something my undivided attention every once in a while.

Then the fan fair started.  There was music and a procession and prayers and then they gave the floor to Fr. Tom.  Well, I am here to tell you that he is one of those guys you should never give a microphone.  He’s not shy.  And he things he’s funny.  That’s not to say that he wasn’t funny.  He is.  But he things he’s funny which makes him twice as funny.  Because he laughs at his own jokes, loud.  Sometimes he laughs at them before he gives you the punch line.  That takes away from the joke but you laugh just as hard because he is on the floor laughing at himself.

But then he cries at some of the stores he tells also.  He cries when he talks about his “Ma”.  He cries when he talks about some of the people he has dealt with through the years.   He cries when he talks about his faith.  I love how he talks about his twin (I just kept shaking my head because his mother had to put up with two of him.  Can you imagine?)  and how brilliant he is in the field of psychology/psychiatry and I’m thinking that guy doesn’t have anything on this guy because he seems to be pretty good at getting into people’s heads.

The thing about his jokes is that they’ve been around awhile.  If you think they’re his, you’re wrong.  Some of those have been all over the internet for years.  I don’t get many emails forwarding jokes anymore but I recognized more than one of his jokes.  I may have told a few of them.

I’m like that.  I love an audience.  And I think I’m hilarious.  If he gets around his family kitchen table where everyone is smoking and drinking he’s not as funny as he thinks.  I’ll bet all of his family can tell  story, and think they’re hilarious.  When my sister, brother and I get together we fight for the floor.  And I have had more than a few arguments with my sister who thinks my brother is the funniest one.  He wouldn’t be the least bit funny if he didn’t have the two of us to play off of.

The Mission was three nights.  When we got there the first night we were absolutely shocked at the turn out.  But it was the first night and we decided that the crowd would dwindle after that.  We were wrong.  I think the second night was actually more crowded.  The third night was down a little but it was pouring down rain.  We were shocked.  I wasn’t able to go to Mass in the mornings but I wouldn’t have been surprised if they weren’t packed too.  It was obvious this guy had a following.

And all he did was make fun of us.  It seems that he wasn’t a Kentucky fan and most of the people in Fancy Farm are.  He wasn’t a St. Louis Cardinals fan either.  He’s from Kansas City so he is obviously a Royals fan.  But he kept making fun of all of the blue shirts and such.  Well, everyone must have gotten the memo because everyone was wearing blue on night two and night three.  What was more funny was that night three Fr. Tom showed up with a UK shirt.  Since I’m not a UK fan I was sort of glad about the goading.  But I am definitely a minority.

I guess I could comment on each night of the Mission and what all I got out of it.  But I’m not.  I am going to comment on my favorite parts.

  1.  I love his mother.  His mother is the type of mother I always wanted to be.  She was smart.  She was witty.  And she didn’t take any crap.  I loved it when he was talking about her and how she always ha to have the last word.  “She always had something else to say . . .”
  2. We all come from a dysfunctional life.  I agree with that.  It reminds me of a cartoon going around the internet now, “Normal is just a setting on the washer.”
  3. I don’t know about my notes but I wrote down the lines to one of my favorite poems:  “Was he free?  Was he happy?  The question is absurd.  Had anything been wrong We should certainly have heard.”  Freedom and happiness don’t always go hand-in-hand.  We just with that they did.
  4. You are worthy.  That sounds reasonable.  I am worthy of my Father’s love.  But do I live my life knowing that?  Not always.  In my life I have had issues with self-worth.   Fortunately I have gotten past of lot of that.  But I have to remind myself all the time.
  5. You got the part.  I particularly liked this one.  I too have tried out for parts in plays and such in my life.  It is so tedious to wait for the phone call telling you that you got it.  You feel as though you’ve done everything to get ready for the audition or job interview or whatever.  I wonder if we all knew this, and believed it when we were younger, just where we would be right now.  All we have to do is show up.

I took a lot of notes during his talk.  “If you’re burned out you had to be on fire first.”  “Give me some kerygma, baby.  God is love.  Get out of the way.”  “Letting go.”  “It’s mine” – stewardship.  “St. Paul.  St. Peter.”

Maybe I’ll blog about those in the future.  Maybe.

Cynthia Elder