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 | By Rachel Rodriguez | Correspondent

Moms and children gather to pray and play

A new ministry called Pray and Play was established at Holy Trinity Parish in Corn Hill in August 2022. Parishioners Stefani Jacobs and Kitzi Crawford, members of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers (CCM), welcomed parents and their children to come pray and play together as families and as a community. The group now meets weekly at the parish to provide education and build community with the hope of supporting one another in the religious upbringing of their children.

CCM is a group for moms in all stages of motherhood. It was founded in France more than 150 years ago by lay women to discuss their struggles in raising their children and to pray for each other. Mary, Mother of Sorrows is their patroness. Members depend on one another for spiritual support, catechesis and social interaction.

At Holy Trinity, the goal is to unite members in prayer and to support, guide and inspire other mothers while serving and supporting the parish and community. Pray and Play aims to encourage and undertake the important task of teaching the Catholic faith to the youngest members of the parish and to support one another in the process.

Father Stephen Nesrsta, pastor at Holy Trinity Parish, knows there are many young children at the parish, and he thinks this group is a good way for families to grow in faith.

“As families we need to be more supportive of each other in living our faith and only then will we be able to live the teachings as we should to help make a positive influence in this world,” Father Nesrsta said.

Kitzi Crawford, former president of CCM and now treasurer, emphasized the importance of having children build relationships so they become familiar and comfortable at the parish outside of Mass. She recalled how decades ago while visiting a church in Arkansas, she saw a group of grandmothers in rocking chairs reading and teaching young children. She knew this was something she wanted to be a part of and feels Pray and Play is the answer to this prayer.

To not only provide the teachings of our faith but also to have an opportunity to practice them, not just learning lessons but having the opportunity to live them is vital to ensuring the faith lives on through our little ones, Crawford said.

Parishioner Samantha Castillo and her young son Jaxson were relatively new to the parish and looking for a way to get more involved when they were introduced to Pray and Play.

Through the program, she and her son have gotten to spend more time in the church and on the parish grounds, and they have come to know Father Nesrsta, which has provided comfort for Jaxson, she said. He is now more attentive during Mass, and she benefits too as she makes new friends and gets more involved in the parish.

Stefani Jacobs, the current president of CCM, has been a parishioner for six years and is the mother of five ages 2 to 8 whom she homeschools. Father Nesrsta is grateful to Jacobs and Crawford for establishing the program at Holy Trinity.

He hopes to see the program grow and encourages other parishes to participate and rotate the meetings between the parishes. He said, it is “a good way for young mothers to be able to connect and support each other while helping the children to learn and grow in their faith at an early age.”

Rachel Rodriguez is a mother of three with wanderlust in her soul. She is a parishioner of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin.