Three Priests and Brothers Talk Family and Faith at First Friday Club
On Thursday, June 28, the opening prayer for the First Friday Club luncheon was given by Deacon Bob Herron of St. Brendan Parish in North Olmsted, Ohio, a western suburb of Cleveland. Deacon Herron asked that we consider "families who seek the United States as their new home" and create a welcoming environment for them. Afterwards, we thanked the Deacon for his prayer.
We were at the First Friday Club that day to attend a program wherein the speakers or conversationalists were Frs. Michael, David, and Thomas Woost, all of whom are priests, and three of the seven sons in their family. On this day they had a conversation (which they moderated themselves) concerning "Kitchen Table Faith: Family, Vocation and Pope Francis' Holiness Challenge."
The three priests were introduced by their brother, Mr. Don Woost, who explained that dinners/suppers were always significant because they were a coming together for the family of nine (two parents, seven sons), both as a family and as a time of faith.
During their conversation, Frs. Michael, David, and Thomas spoke about how Pope Francis' five signs of holiness—grounded, joyful, bold, communal, and prayerful—figured prominently during their formative years. They acknowledged their family didn't have much money and moved quite often, but their parents imparted to them a sense of safety and security. They learned quite a bit from their travels, having to make friends quickly, but these relationships were genuine, and from having to get along with each other despite the usual bickering (e.g., "You shut the door!" "No, you shut the door!") that often takes place between siblings.
Faith was very important because it kept the young men from veering off into dangerous activities. Fr. David shared with us an episode in his life when he started getting heavily into drinking and partying before he came to the realization that this was not right and thus found the strength to stop.
As was said, vocations were born at the kitchen table because it was a time of reconciling and coming together, which is what happens at the altar too. Even though their parents are deceased, all seven brothers and their families are committed to getting together on a regular basis to "share, laugh, enjoy, and express their love for each other."
For us, it was heartwarming to hear the four brothers (including Mr. Don Woost) readily admit they were never angels when they were kids, and how they engaged in rivalrous activities they think are funny now, such as when they used to dash out of church in order to grab a seat by the window in the family station wagon.
We think everyone at the First Friday Club enjoyed and could relate to the faith-affirming testimonies of these four men, all of whom seem to be leading happy and fulfilling lives thanks to their faith and the positive values instilled in them by their parents.
Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC