Life is a Gift — You Have to Give Back
To help ensure her family remained strong, Pat Dino, of St. Louis, used to regularly invite her college-aged children to join her at Mass, ensuring they would be in attendance that Sunday. “They had to know it mattered to me that they were practicing Catholics,” she says. “Passing through this life must have meaning,” says Pat.
She has worked hard to instill these values into her family, especially her children. “They are the greatest accomplishments of my life, my six sparkling diamonds!” Pat’s efforts paid off. All her children are active in their parish and now share what they have learned about their faith with their children.
Pat, 83, believes without faith, life can be much harder. “With God in one’s life, one has a purpose and values,” says Pat. “In our darkest moments, one place you can always go is to God. Catholic schools teach you about this critical place,” she says.
“I believe in Catholic education and think that those of us who have benefited from affordable Catholic education do not just owe our own children to pass on this gift, but we also owe other people’s children who cannot afford to attend Catholics schools,” says Pat.
The amount of the gift is not what’s important; instead she feels that showing children the importance of being unselfish and charitable is the critical lesson. “Even when a family does not have a lot of money, children can still see their family giving back. Not everyone has the same amount of money. Some will need help. I have made it part of my job as a parent to teach my children that life is a gift and you have to give back,” she says.
From the time Pat was a tiny girl first attending St. Regis in East St. Louis and later receiving 12 years of Catholic education, she learned the value of Catholicism. “Catholic education is the basis of our faith,” says Pat. “It is the future. Children who receive Catholic education beginning in Catholic grade school are more likely to understand the foundation of our religion. They are more likely to know the importance of having their children receive the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and their First Communion, for example,” she says.
Her Catholic upbringing has served her, her husband Leonard and their children well. “When we’re out to eat, we hold hands and pray before we begin our meal. We show and live our faith like a light that we shine for others.”
Pat believes that the legacy one creates in this life is most evident in our children. “Family legacy starts with young people. They will inherit their parents’ money. What they choose to do with that inheritance will be your family’s legacy,” Pat, a supporter of Catholic education through the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri, believes in setting a good example. “Parents must show their children that sharing is important.”
“You can’t take it with you. Children need to know that giving to something that has meaning to them is important,” says Pat. Communication is also critical. “I believe in family meetings. Parents need to convey to their children how they would like their inheritance to be spent.”
She believes that this communication can help build a lasting and positive family legacy. Pat and her family are members of St. Anselm Parish. For more information about supporting Catholic education or creating a strong family legacy, please contact us.