Regnum Christi

“I Saw A Gap And I Wanted To Fill It”: An Initiative For Parents Of Teenagers And Adult Children

As the sacrament coordinator at her parish of Christ the King, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, Holly Gustafson is responsible for helping to prepare families to receive the sacraments, from couples getting ready for marriage or for the baptism of their child, to parents of children preparing to make their First Confession, and receive First Communion and Confirmation. In the two years that she has held this role, she has already had the opportunity to see couples she journeyed with through marriage preparation come back to the church for the baptism of their first child, and she is excited to be able to reconnect with those families again when they come back for sacrament prep.

One thing that Holly noticed, however, from her position as sacrament coordinator, was a lack of support in the parish for parents of older children, teenagers and young adults who had received their sacraments long ago, and some of whom had since stopped coming to Mass and had essentially left the church. And this gap in spiritual support for parents mirrored what Holly was feeling in her own life.

When Holly had her first child in 2001, she attended every free parenting class offered through the health district, and joined mothers’ support groups at the YMCA and her local parish. She became a leader for FAMILIA, and helped to run kids’ clubs and vacation Bible schools at her church. As her children grew, Holly enrolled them in Challenge and Conquest Clubs, and multiple camps around the city, including one led, entirely in French, by the Myriam Bethlehem Family, a consecrated community founded in Quebec, Canada. Throughout this phase of raising young children, Holly sought out – and found – a multitude of resources to help and support her in her role of motherhood.

But as her kids all transitioned from childhood to adolescence and young adulthood, the parenting issues that she and her husband were dealing with became much more serious, and yet there didn’t seem to be any resources to help guide them through this complicated phase of parenthood. There were very few books on parenting adult children, and simply no programming or moms’ groups for moms like her, mothers of teenagers and adults who come with their own sets of complex and difficult problems.

“I saw a gap, and I wanted to fill it,” said Holly, who got the idea of hosting an evening of adoration in her parish specifically designed for parents of teenagers and adult children. The deacon at her parish, Kevin Harty, who has older children of his own, wholeheartedly agreed help host and to expose the Blessed Sacrament for the event. Holly planned to keep the event simple: after exposition, they would pray a communal rosary, and then the remainder of the time would be spent in silent prayer. “We didn’t know how many parents would show up, or if anyone would show up at all, but Deacon Kevin and I agreed that even if it was just us there praying for our children before the Blessed Sacrament, the event would be worth it!”

The immediate response to the event was overwhelming. Approximately fifty parents showed up that Sunday evening to pray for their children and grandchildren. “Many people came up afterwards and thanked me for putting it on,” says Holly. “They were so many people who thought they were the only ones struggling with really complicated issues with their adult children and grandchildren, and they walked into the church and they suddenly realized that they were not alone. And I realized I wasn’t alone either.”

In light of the positive response, Holly took the idea of making the evening of adoration a monthly event to the next staff meeting, and the idea was met with immediate enthusiasm – the rector, Fr. Stephen Bill, had already heard from several of his parishioners how much the event had meant to them. Holly and her husband, with the help of Deacon Kevin and many other parishioners who have agreed to help by welcoming, or praying the rosary, now host Adoration for Parents of Teenage and Adult Children on the second Sunday of every month.

In April, that second Sunday happened to fall on Easter, which Holly says was the perfect day to pray for older children whose faith lives are in need of a resurrection of their own.

Holly chose Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, as the patroness of this new initiative, which draws parents and grandparents from all over the diocese. “Little children typically have little problems, and their knots are pretty easy to untie,” says Holly. “Big kids have big problems, and I wanted to place those big, tangled knots in the hands of Mary.” Along with a prayer to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, on the evening of adoration, Holly sets out a variety of prayers, including a parents’ prayer and a prayer to St. Joseph, and a meditation or two for parents to reflect on if they choose. “The theme of the readings or meditations is always about hope, and the reminder that God really does hear our prayers for our children, and will answer them, because he loves our kids even more than we do.”

Along with scheduling the sacrament preparation sessions and monthly Adoration for Parents of Teenage and Adult Children for the upcoming school year, Holly is also planning to host some women’s retreats on the virtue of hope, and an artist’s retreat based on those held by Called to Create, a Regnum Christi initiative that responds to the call of evangelization through the beauty of art. And she is always open to new ways that God may be calling her to fill a need in her parish and diocese. “Sometimes I feel like all my initiatives come from a place of selfishness – I have a longing, to pray for my kids, or for a retreat, so I organize something to fill my own need!” says Holly. “But then when I create an event or an initiative, and people come, I know that I wasn’t alone in that longing after all.”

Besides being the sacrament coordinator at her parish, Holly is also a story writer for Regnum Christi and a regular contributor to the RC Live Blog – you can read her blogs at She has been a member of Regnum Christi since she was pregnant with her first child back in 2001, and has served in a variety of roles in FAMILIA and as Team Leader. Holly also teaches linguistics at First Nations University of Canada in Regina.

Holly’s youngest child just turned 13 in April of this year, so she and her husband, James, are now the parents of two teenagers and three adult children. If you would like more information about how to host your own Adoration for Parents of Teenagers and Young Adults, or for prayers and meditations to use at the event, email Holly at [email protected].

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Alex Kucera


Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!