“Chreaster,” as defined by the Urban Dictionary – More than 50% of the people belonging to a Catholic Church Parish that only come to mass on the big holidays- Christmas and Easter-therefore making it difficult to find seats because the Church is overpacked.

I can’t remember all the Easters where I thought, who are all these people and where did they come from? How come they don’t know when to sit and kneel, and do they even know any of the responses? Doesn’t the fact I come to mass every week entitle me to a seat in the main church without having to wrestle for the whole pew they’re saving for their family who will assuredly show up sometime around the first reading? Shouldn’t we have some sort of frequent flyer card or something?

This year was a little different…

Ask me about my faith life lately…. Short answer, “it’s complicated.”

I’ll save the theology and challenges for another piece, but my faith has grown a lot lately. My relationship with the church is what’s suffering. But like with any good relationship, we don’t bail out when things get hard, and finding another church wouldn’t solve anything anyway.

The point is, (and it’s not fun to admit) I’m one of those people this year that hadn’t been to mass in a while, but Easter brought me back.  We tried for Palm Sunday, but after my wife and I both ended up outside the church during the consecration with two misbehaving kids, we gave up.  Forgive us please, Lord. We really tried.

So to each of you who smiled at me and my crazy kids today, thank you. If someone took your seat, your parking spot, or you had to sit in the overflow, know your kindness and grace to all the unfamiliar faces you may or may not see again until Christmas is truly being Christ’s light to someone like me who is still trying really hard to be better than I was yesterday. I’ll see you at mass next Sunday. Promise.

God bless us all.

-John Bielamowicz

Twitter: @johnnybwicz

John is a commercial real estate broker in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and lives with his wife Molly and two sons in Waxahachie.