Each Friday, I share a Friday Feature where I hope to bring a little light and encouragement from other Catholics living out the vocation to married and family life.
I love witnessing how others are following Christ and am constantly inspired by them. My goal with Friday Feature is to bring you a breath of fresh air and some community by sharing their stories.
Enjoy, laugh, be inspired, and pray for all those you see on here. We’re in this together!
Alycia is a college friend that we were honored to live near for several years during the early years of both of our families. She has an immense gift for ministering to women and proclaiming the love of Christ to all hearts. This interview is such a gift to me and I hope it inspires you in the same way.
Angie (A): Tell us a little about yourself and how you’re currently serving the Church.
Alycia (Al): Hi there! I am Alycia. Married to my wonderful husband Attila for 6 years (yes, you read it right, Attila! His family is Hungarian and it’s a family name. Random fact: his name means “little father” which is perfect for him. He’s a great daddy and he’s on the shorter side hehe). We have 3 children. A son who is 5, daughter who is 2.5 and our newest baby girl at 2 months old! I came into the Catholic Church at age 13 and my older brother is my godfather. I work part time at a wonderful parish in Texas. I lead Women’s ministry. My husband also works full time in ministry at the same parish and our son attends pre-school there, so we joke that we basically live there. Our jobs allow us to still care for our children during the day as our schedules are pretty flexible and our pastor is awesome. The girls often come to meetings with us!
A: How did you discern your vocation to marriage?
Al: I’ve always had a deep, deep, strong desire to get married and have children since I converted at 13. I had many holy families and married couples around me at church and youth group as I went through high school, which increased that desire. My husband and I were in the same youth group actually, but didn’t date until college. I remember aching to be a mother. When Attila and I started dating, though, we were both open to God calling us to religious life as well. My husband, at the beginning of our relationship was actually seeing a spiritual director to help him discern. Attila led our relationship slowly as we grew in love and prayer. It just slowly over time seemed like we just “fit”. When I was a junior in college, I left to study abroad for a semester. I remember being so fearful of what a long-distance would do to our relationship. I was so afraid the Lord would call us to take our separate ways. Lots of fear. It wasn’t until I visited Assisi, Italy, the home of Francis and Clare, that I just totally surrendered to His will and laid my fears at the Cross. Whatever He wanted, I was ready. After that, I was full of peace, and came home to continue to allow Attila to guide our relationship as we discussed marriage and starting a life together. We were married a year and a half later!
A: What are some of your favorite devotions and why?
Al: My favorite devotion right now is a weekly holy hour. It’s my deeper personal prayer time and I found a beautiful convent with adoration everyday. I journal and contemplate the Sunday readings. I also like the Divine Mercy chaplet, which we use to calm our children at bedtime lol. Lastly, there is a Morning Offering and image from Fr. Michael Gaitley’s book “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” that I love to pray and meditate with.
A: What is your best tip for taking young kids to Mass?
Al: Don’t give up going as a family, no matter how hard it is to take the littles to Sunday Mass. There are tough weeks, but just don’t give up. You are building a culture in your family by going every week, and it takes time! Also sit near front to whisper what’s going on at every step to the ones who can understand. Be excited at the Consecration, etc. Say, “Look it’s Jesus!!”
A: How do you balance a healthy marriage with raising kids and working for the Church?
Al: We see our marriage and family as in service to the Church, like we’re missionaries. There are many sacrifices we make for our ministries, but we know how important it is for our family to be a living witness to others so that they know it’s possible to have a holy marriage and family. It’s not easy! In the past, we have had to have frequent date nights and we did your examen for spouses regularly. Honestly, right now this 3rd baby transition is throwing us for a loop and we are off balance. We have to remind ourselves that this is a SEASON and it will pass. We have not lost hope that we’ll be back to a routine again. I see a spiritual director monthly and my husband makes great confessions (in my opinion) so that is very important. My spiritual advise that I always give people is go to confession frequently!
A: If you could meet one Saint in person, who would it be?
Al: St. Therese!
A: Have you ever found being open to life difficult? How did you overcome it or how have you stayed open to life in your marriage?
Al: Yes, I have found it difficult at times. I humbly admit this! I remember after our first borns very traumatic birth, thinking that since I was nursing, I didn’t know what my cycle would do. I was so afraid of getting pregnant again in a few months. I thought, “I could go on the pill and no one has to know.” I’ve learned it’s all about trust. I often get worried about what OTHERS would think if we had a big family, etc, but I have to think about what God wants above all else. I JUST had a conversation with a friend about being open to life. Of course we all want a nicer house, to go on vacations, go back to school, etc. Those are good things, of course, but at the end of the day I hear my sister-in-law who once told me, “Who are we to say NO to the creation of another soul, who will live on for ETERNITY?” What I love about the Natural Family Planning is that it allows you to still be obedient to Church teaching even if you are struggling to trust. We all struggle to trust His plan at times and yet we can still remain in His grace as we pray through things. So, that’s how we’re “open to life”. We practice the Creighton* method of NFP and avoid artificial contraception while we navigate God’s will for our marriage.
A: What is you and your husband’s favorite free/at-home date?
Al: We don’t do it a whole lot, but we always have fun playing board games together (when kids go to bed). If you know my husband, he’s not the best with words/knowing what words mean, so we have a lot of laughs with Scategories :).
A: Working with other families and wives, what would you say is the biggest obstacle families have to living out holiness in our culture today?
Al: I often say that one of the reasons (but not the only reason of course) my parish’s women’s ministry is doing so well is because women are going through difficult marriages and/or divorces. They need a healthy, uplifting place to come experience sisterhood and God’s healing. I see a huge lack in male leadership, vulnerability, and humility. Men are meant to lead their wives and children to Christ, yet I see so many men completely closed off to Jesus and it hurts their loved ones who only want them to know Christ’s love.
A: If ou could name yourself the patron saint of anything, what would it be?
Al: I would want to be the patron saint of over coming the sin of gluttony and emotional eating. It’s always been a struggle of mine and two years ago I had the epiphany that it wasn’t about losing weight or fitting into a certain size, but about gaining self-control and learning to turn to God to fill me up. It was such a huge victory of God’s grace in my life!
*You can find out more about the Creighton method of NFP here.