Name: Christine “Chris” Thomas
Parish: St. Edward Church
Family: Married to David Thomas for 34 years; and three children, Andrew, 29; Mark, 26; and Catherine, 18
Why you want to know Chris: Chris uses her many talents to serve the Lord both in her parish and in the community at large. For several years she was a faithful worker in the community garden, a project of several downtown churches to grow food to feed needy people. She writes a column on spirituality for Texarkana Parent magazine and is a columnist for the “Understanding our Church” feature in Arkansas Catholic.
IN HER OWN WORDS
Arkansas Catholic’s theme last year was “Tools for Discipleship.” What religious items or tools do you rely on regularly to inform and inspire you?
In 1988, we attended Cursillo while living in Oklahoma. What a wonderful touchstone in our journey. About four years ago a group of ladies began meeting in different homes on Friday mornings to pray a scriptural rosary together. It brings such strength and support, knowing that we are praying for each other throughout the week.
Have you been Catholic all your life?
On July 23, 1980, just two weeks before our wedding at St. Edward, I received the sacrament of baptism, confirmation and my first Eucharist. At David’s invitation, I had been attending Mass for over a year. While watching others receive Communion, a great desire grew in me to be nourished by the Eucharist. That desire has only grown.
What do you appreciate most about the Catholic Church? About St. Edward in particular?
I appreciate the sense of sacred that the Catholic Church is centered around. The realization that beauty is not only a gift from God but a reflection of God, if only dimly. Sacred beauty can be experienced in our liturgies — whether simple daily Mass or elaborate Easter Vigil — and our buildings. It brings me great joy that St. Edward has spent time and money in restoring and maintaining our beautiful church building. The past couple of years I find myself absorbing the jewel tone colors of the stained-glass windows, the stories told by the sculpted marble and the sense of sacred found in the smallest details of mosaic floors.
What contribution to the Church brings you the most satisfaction?
The most humbling ministry I do is bring Communion to patients at Christus St. Michael Hospital each Wednesday morning. This hospital’s core value is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, and that shines through all that is done there. Each week I may see one or several patients, and each time I am graced beyond measure in their profound appreciation of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.
What is your educational background?
In 1982, I received a bachelor of science degree in home economics from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. In 2011, I received a bachelor’s degree in theology from St. Gregory University/Little Rock Institute of Theology. In 2012, I began a three-year process of becoming certified as a spiritual director through the Diocese of Little Rock.
What is your favorite hobby?
For 20 years I have wanted to try my hand at pottery. I signed up for a pottery course at Texarkana College. I loved it so much I now have a full-home studio and have turned this hobby into a small business. I love the quiet I work in and how it centers me. Some of my best prayer time is spent with my hands covered in mud.
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