Marriage, parenting vocations for Wadena couple

Categories: Around the Diocese,Synod,World Meeting of Families

By Kristi Anderson
The Visitor


Christian and Tamara Breczinski with children Andrew, left, Sophia, center, and John, right.

Christian and Tamara Breczinski, parishioners of St. Ann in Wadena, will celebrate 10 years of marriage in August. They adopted a piece of wisdom early in their relationship that keeps them grounded and helps them persevere through tough times.

“We recognized early on that by getting married, we were not two individuals committing our lives to each other, but were two individuals coming together on a journey, committing to something much larger than the sum of our two lives,” Christian said. “We were being converted by God, daily, to the married way of life.”

Christian is the director of student development services at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Wadena, and Tamara is a spiritual director and works at home raising their three children, Andrew, 7, John, 6, Sophia, 3, and a fourth child expected in late fall.

“Parenting is a vocation in and of itself but is always subject to our vocation of marriage,” Tamara said. “We view this endeavor as a joint effort, one in which we need to be a team. As in any sport, if the team is not strong, the game goes poorly. Parenting is a fruit of the marriage vocation.”

Christian grew up in the Marshall area and Tamara’s father was in the Navy, so she had many places around the globe to call home, she said. Since they live far from their natural families, they rely on their parish, local community and friends for support.

“Knowing you are not going it alone and understanding that the community can rejoice and suffer along with you has been a real blessing,” Tamara said.

Family is domestic church 

Like most young families, the Breczinskis say their children are not always quiet at Mass. Their priest encouraged them not to worry about distracting others but to feel free to get up if necessary and move around with their kids.

“We may not be ‘getting’ as much from Mass attendance as we did before children,” Christian said, “but we are demonstrating to our children that attending Mass is worth the effort.”

The Breczinskis pray together often — at meal times, when they notice the beauty of creation, at bedtime, before embarking on a road trip, when they hear emergency sirens, for friends in need of prayer and other times when, they say, the urge comes on. But most of all, they bring spiritual awareness into daily interactions.

“We highlight how their lives are intermingled with the sacred presence of God,” Tamara said. “For example, when our son was struggling with telling the truth, we spoke about temptation and how God’s angels will help us to overcome those. The next day he came to us and told us that he was being tempted but then he was able to step away from it. We took that moment to thank God for his grace to help him overcome that.”

The Second Vatican Council called the family a “domestic church,” saying that parents are the first to preach the faith to their children. The Breczinskis try to let no teachable moment pass them by.

“We talk to our children about what is happening during the Mass and answer their questions when they ask us about it,” Christian said. “We help them participate by pointing out the parts in the missal or hymnal. We are both eager to study the faith, and we use this zeal to communicate to our children the truths we have come to own.”

They are grateful that their children ask questions about the faith and say it is humbling to find the answer and be comfortable saying, “I’m not sure.”

“Then we explore the answer together through prayer, community discussion and study of the catechism,” Christian said.

Family of families

The parish as a “family of families” is a notion that the Breczinskis say calls them to be welcoming.

“We are bound to family by love whether we agree or not with their politics, personal choices or piety,” Christian said. “There is a greater context that goes beyond these worldly things. Mass becomes a ‘family reunion’ each Sunday where we put petty differences aside and focus on more important matters.

“Blood is thicker than water,” Christian added. “The phrase is often used in the context of how families stick together in challenging times, but it can also be viewed through the lens of Christ’s sacrifice. In this sense, the sacrificial lamb, Christ, whose blood we share at Communion, binds us together as we nourish ourselves at the altar.

“This is most readily experienced in our parish community through the outreach we experience from fellow parishioners and the opportunities we are presented with to serve our fellow parishioners,” Christian said. “Whether this be in the form of Communion to the homebound, delivering meals or a welcome smile and earnest sign of peace, the embrace of the larger community is vital to the support of the family — the ‘little church’ — which then builds back the ‘big Church.’ ”