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Needham parish/schools mother's group helps them 'to know Christ'

By Mark Labbe
Posted: 1/22/2016

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Members of the LIFE mothers' group St. Joseph Parish Needham meet last November. Courtesy photo

NEEDHAM -- Moms of students in the St. Joseph Parish schools in Needham now have a place to talk, discuss different aspects of Catholicism, and pray together with a new group called Living in Faith Everyday (LIFE).

Founded through efforts from Cristina Genung, Diane Schwerdt, and Patricia Flynn, LIFE had its first meeting last November.

The mission of the group, Genung told The Pilot during a phone call, Jan. 11, is to rejuvenate and reeducate the mothers in the Catholic faith.

This includes "Reconnecting with other moms, (and) doing things that help us grow in our faith," such as engaging in prayer or reflections, Genung said.

Genung said she hopes the group will help mothers pass along their faith at home to their husbands and children.

"We have to do an even better job at home passing on the faith... even if they go to Catholic schools, it doesn't make as much of a difference as the faith being passed on as home," said Genung.

"If faith isn't passed on at home, then as adults they will probably lost their faith... but it order to pass it on we have to know it, we have to know Christ," she continued.

Before LIFE was created, Genung said, Schwerdt and another woman ran a morning prayer group at St. Joseph. However, due to early meeting times, Genung couldn't attend the group because of her children's schedule.

When Schwedt sent out emails asking for someone to help lead a new prayer group, Genung responded. She said she organized a "prayer and pick up" group on Thursday afternoons, and also started an email group, "sending out reflections to the women" and other materials on faith.

However, Genung felt that she wanted to do something more, and took all summer to talk with others about what she wanted to do next.

It wasn't until she heard Bishop Robert Barron's podcast, though, that she began forming the idea for LIFE.

Genung said that after hearing one episode "packed full of goodness," she realized it "this is like a perfect talk for a bunch of moms who want to grow in their faith."

She then contacted Flynn, whom she knew was involved with Steubenville East Conference, and together they brainstormed ideas.

They decided to invite a group of women to discuss Bishop Barron's podcast and participate in prayer.

"Why don't we get together, we'll have some prayer, I'll prepare some remarks for before and after and we'll listen to this podcast together," Genung said.

Flynn created the name LIFE, and they sent out invitations to women at St. Joseph. Around 25 to 30 women attended the first meeting.

The group's next meeting will be held on Feb. 24, and Genung said she expects those who attended the first meeting to go to the next one.

She noted "Father Matt Williams is going to come and actually give us a short talk and then lead us in a prayer time," and she believes the focus of the meeting will be on Mary.