As part of our message series, It’s Better in Here, each week a parishioner will describe what Saint Brendan means to him or her personally. This week’s article is by former school parent, Brit Hahn.
Born in 1960 and raised in San Francisco, I remember first noticing Saint Brendan’s as a kid riding the old 10 Monterey. The bus would stop in front of the school, and I would see the children in their uniforms with red sweaters playing and coming and going.
Although I didn’t know any of them, I remember wondering what it must be like to attend such a fine school. Although I was not Catholic, little did I know that years later, through a series of “coincidences,” I would have all three of my own children at Saint Brendan School.
We were attending the annual May Crowning event when I first felt it: A feeling of total belonging. It was one of those rare moments when I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I knew at that moment that I needed to stop being a spectator and belong. I followed my wife Dawn, enrolled in RCIA, and was baptized and confirmed the following spring. It wasn’t long before my mother Kathryn had joined and was confirmed as well.
After the kids left the school, I found myself attending Mass less and less frequently, until I was barely going at all. It wasn’t until our youngest was in his senior year of high school that I found myself feeling that something was missing in my life. Right around the same time, I decided to go ahead with a bilateral knee replacement that had been recommended for many years. I was scared. Aside from the obvious ordeal of getting through the surgery and recovery, I was certain that I would have massive complications and would end up in a wheelchair.
Then I remembered the feeling I had that night at May Crowning. I realized exactly what I needed. I was afraid, and the only way I would ever get through this was to strengthen my connection to God and rebuild my faith. I made a commitment to attend weekly Mass.
It happened slowly at first. Many times I would go to Mass and feel awkward and uncomfortable. But I just kept going. Before long my mother started going with me. Every Sunday morning I would pick mom up, and we would go to the 8 a.m. Mass and have breakfast at West Portal afterwards. Soon I had my knees replaced, and I was hobbling back to Mass every Sunday morning with mom.
That feeling of total belonging returned. It didn’t hit me suddenly like it did that night at May Crowning; it happened gradually and grew over time. It’s been over four years and I haven’t missed Sunday Mass once. I have found that, over the last few years, I have developed a strong faith in God that I feel almost all the time. I believe that I am in fit spiritual condition and that I am a calmer, kinder, more loving man as a result.
Mom and I are both Lectors, and you can always catch us at the 8 a.m. Mass.
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