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  #1  
Old Apr 24, '09, 2:49 pm
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Susan_Calvin Susan_Calvin is offline
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Default Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

I apologize if this is not the correct forum for this post. I looked through each forum and this one seemed to best fit with my situation. Sorry for the length also, I tried to be brief but I felt I needed to explain myself a bit.

I am a professional woman in my early 30s, Jewish by birth though I was never religious nor connected with the Jewish community. I consider myself an agnostic.

I grew up in abject poverty. My mother had untreated mental illness and we were homeless/transients much of the time. Some of my earliest memories were of the Missionaries of Charity who had a shelter and soup kitchen in our city. We accessed their services and they were very kind to me.

After my mother's death I was placed in foster care. I had problems with running away so I went through quite a few homes. When I would run off I would often go back to the Missionaries of Charity, who then would have to call the authorities to pick me up. I think I was quite problematic for them, though in retrospect I was just looking for something familiar.

A priest who frequented the convent/shelter took an interest in me. Ultimately he arranged for me to attend a private school for girls run by the Ursuline Sisters. I thrived there, the sisters and other staff were amazing. I graduated at 16 and went straight to university on a scholarship, where I studied computer science and robotics. I recently obtained my PhD. I've never married as I'm pretty much a geeky tech type of person and I'm "married" to my work. I have not kept in touch with any of the sisters or the priest.

Two months ago I started a position in a new city. One of the first things I noticed in my neighborhood was a Catholic church very near my apartment. The church bells ring every day at regular intervals and can be heard from my balcony. I drive by the church on my way to work. A sign outside says there is daily mass at 7 am.

I can't explain the how or why, but I feel extremely drawn to attend mass. This has gone on for several weeks now. During Easter week I was very conflicted and agitated, I had trouble eating and sleeping, which is very unusual for me. All sorts of good memories of the sisters and the priest have come flooding back, things I haven't thought of for years. I'm suddenly feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude for everything they did for me, and guilt at not keeping in touch with them. I'm considering writing them all to thank them and let them know I am well.

Yesterday I confided in a close friend regarding recent events. She is an atheist so naturally her response was not a favourable one. She is a psychologist by training, and is of the opinion that I am simply reacting to my recent move - that I am looking to relive some positive aspects of my childhood, the church building nearby is triggering me, and so forth. She's advised me to avoid the church and see a therapist instead.

So, I am asking you, as Catholics, what do you think? Is my friend right? Should I avoid the Church or should I try mass and see what happens? I know a bit about the teachings of the Church; to be perfectly honest, some aspects are appealing to me and others are not. I worry I would be attending for the wrong reasons, as my friend suggests. I also do not want to be unintentionally disrespectful to the church, with being an agnostic. Though, lately I feel open to changing my beliefs.

Thank you in advance for any and all responses.
  #2  
Old Apr 24, '09, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

since you ask, consider this an invitation, as if the parish near you was my own, to simply come on in, to daily or Sunday Mass, any time you wish. You are always welcome. Sit anywhere you want, sit, stand, or kneel as you feel comfortable, no one will mind if you don't kneel. My advice is simply to watch and listen at first, don't try to follow along in any worship aid, just be in the experience.

The worst that can happen is that you revisit some of the best memories of your childhood, and through that, possibly find a path to some healing. The best that can happen is that you find your true home. I would not worry about trying to analyze the feeling, but certainly act on any promptings that lead you toward healing of childhood hurts. I also would not discuss too much what is happening, unless it is with someone who is in a position to give you positive support.

my personal belief of course is that God himself is calling you here, and hope that you come to feel that way, too. do understand that you will be entering a community of those who are not perfect, who have suffered, who have even sinned, and are together precisely because of this, not because they are already healed and already perfect.

I hope you come back and tell us how it is going with you. did we warn you about the praying? oh yeah, major prayers for you, we are good at that here.
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  #3  
Old Apr 24, '09, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Susan -

Even if you choose not to pursue this inspiration, know that you are most welcome here. Thank you for your courage in seeking an answer to your questions.
  #4  
Old Apr 24, '09, 3:33 pm
Catholic1954 Catholic1954 is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Your friend is not right. She knows nothing about the Catholic Church; I would thank her for her advice and then ignore all of it. The Holy Spirit is calling you into the Catholic Church at this time of your life. Try attending one of the daily Masses close to your house and see where it leads you; also, find a local Catholic book store and the staff will be happy to recomend some books for you to read. Welcome!!
  #5  
Old Apr 24, '09, 4:19 pm
csg1976 csg1976 is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Amen to the responses so far and good luck to you.
  #6  
Old Apr 24, '09, 4:24 pm
PJM PJM is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Quote:
=Susan_Calvin;5122348]I apologize if this is not the correct forum for this post. I looked through each forum and this one seemed to best fit with my situation. Sorry for the length also, I tried to be brief but I felt I needed to explain myself a bit.

I am a professional woman in my early 30s, Jewish by birth though I was never religious nor connected with the Jewish community. I consider myself an agnostic.

I grew up in abject poverty. My mother had untreated mental illness and we were homeless/transients much of the time. Some of my earliest memories were of the Missionaries of Charity who had a shelter and soup kitchen in our city. We accessed their services and they were very kind to me.
Hi Susan, welcome to our Forum!

I spent my formitive years in a Catholic Orphanage, so I have some idea of what you experienced.

I have an older brother who left the Church to found his own religion, and a younger sister, who left because she "didn't feel fullfilled!" She is very active in her Protestant Church.

God comes to all of us in different ways. He offers each of us sufficient grace to cooperate with His Plan for our Personal Salvation, but God offers, not forces us to accept the assistance He is trying to provide.

As a Catholic, I consider my Jewish brothers and sisters as kin. Father Abramham is too our Father in history and in faith.

I'll try to answer your querry by sharing a story I heard years ago.

There was a Jewish man names Abe, who more than anything wanted to win his states Lotto. So every Sabbath he would pray, "Dear god why don't you hear me, why don't you answer my pleas?" This went on week after week, year after year. Abe never gave up and just pleading with god.

FInally, god grew tired of Abes pleas. So God spoke to Abe. God said, Abe, I hear you. What is it you want. Abe looked around and could see noone. So god asked again, "abe, what is you want?" Abe replied, " I want to win the lotto, why have you not heard my pleas?'

God replied, "Abe you have to buy a ticket before you can win!"

God is real, and God is really personal. In your case Susan, you lived God's benolovent love and care for you through a priest, and through the Good Sisters! If you want more of God's personal love, He's there in Church waiting for you "to buy your ticket."

I can promise you that if you take one step towards God, He will "take two steps towards you!"

Luke Chapter 15: 1 "Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." So he told them this parable: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."

We here at the Forum, can help. Ask what ever questions you like. The Forum even offters
a private e-mail option, if something you wish to discusss requires that option.

I and others who read this will be praying for you.

Quote:
Yesterday I confided in a close friend regarding recent events. She is an atheist so naturally her response was not a favourable one. She is a psychologist by training, and is of the opinion that I am simply reacting to my recent move - that I am looking to relive some positive aspects of my childhood, the church building nearby is triggering me, and so forth. She's advised me to avoid the church and see a therapist instead.
Your friend seems to be of the mind that "God is simply a myth." If this is the TRUTH, then ask her this question:

All of humanity have a "mind" (not speaking of the brain here, which is :matter"), have an intellect, have a memory, and a freewill.

Something can only be what it is right?
Something cannot be what it is not, right?
Something cannot give what it does not possess correct?

So qunatify for me your "mind."

How long, how wide, how deep, what color, what is it's shape. We can prove that we all have a "mind," but we cannot see it, feel it, smell it, touch it, becasue the mind, like the other Gifts I listed are NOT physical, not MATTER, they are Spiritual! So how can something Spiritual evolve from MATTER, which is not spiritual, nor can it be spiritual?

God is real. and God is REALLY GOD, Good, Loving, all-everything good-perfectly!

Susan, go find God, he is waiting for you! Speak to the priest after Mass.

Might I suggest you sit near the rear, so you can more easily mimic actions. Also, please know that only informed, practicing Catholics can receive Catholic Holy Communion.

You may sit whenerver the others are kneeling.

Suasan, we look forward to hearning more from you. I suggest a 9 or 10 am Sunday morning Mass so you can hear the music too.

Love and prayers, dear friend

Quote:
So, I am asking you, as Catholics, what do you think? Is my friend right? Should I avoid the Church or should I try mass and see what happens? I know a bit about the teachings of the Church; to be perfectly honest, some aspects are appealing to me and others are not. I worry I would be attending for the wrong reasons, as my friend suggests. I also do not want to be unintentionally disrespectful to the church, with being an agnostic. Though, lately I feel open to changing my beliefs.

Susan, we can and will answer all of your questions. There are some Extrodinary reasons to be a Catholic!

Thank you in advance for any and all responses.
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  #7  
Old Apr 24, '09, 5:43 pm
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Mark77 Mark77 is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Please come into the Church and you will surely feel the Presence of Jesus!

You will surely feel the love, the peace and the Truth!!

I see Jesus within you!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Dei, Ora pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

Mark
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  #8  
Old Apr 24, '09, 6:46 pm
redrosetea redrosetea is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan_Calvin View Post
I apologize if this is not the correct forum for this post. I looked through each forum and this one seemed to best fit with my situation. Sorry for the length also, I tried to be brief but I felt I needed to explain myself a bit.

I am a professional woman in my early 30s, Jewish by birth though I was never religious nor connected with the Jewish community. I consider myself an agnostic.

I grew up in abject poverty. My mother had untreated mental illness and we were homeless/transients much of the time. Some of my earliest memories were of the Missionaries of Charity who had a shelter and soup kitchen in our city. We accessed their services and they were very kind to me.

After my mother's death I was placed in foster care. I had problems with running away so I went through quite a few homes. When I would run off I would often go back to the Missionaries of Charity, who then would have to call the authorities to pick me up. I think I was quite problematic for them, though in retrospect I was just looking for something familiar.

A priest who frequented the convent/shelter took an interest in me. Ultimately he arranged for me to attend a private school for girls run by the Ursuline Sisters. I thrived there, the sisters and other staff were amazing. I graduated at 16 and went straight to university on a scholarship, where I studied computer science and robotics. I recently obtained my PhD. I've never married as I'm pretty much a geeky tech type of person and I'm "married" to my work. I have not kept in touch with any of the sisters or the priest.

Two months ago I started a position in a new city. One of the first things I noticed in my neighborhood was a Catholic church very near my apartment. The church bells ring every day at regular intervals and can be heard from my balcony. I drive by the church on my way to work. A sign outside says there is daily mass at 7 am.

I can't explain the how or why, but I feel extremely drawn to attend mass. This has gone on for several weeks now. During Easter week I was very conflicted and agitated, I had trouble eating and sleeping, which is very unusual for me. All sorts of good memories of the sisters and the priest have come flooding back, things I haven't thought of for years. I'm suddenly feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude for everything they did for me, and guilt at not keeping in touch with them. I'm considering writing them all to thank them and let them know I am well.

Yesterday I confided in a close friend regarding recent events. She is an atheist so naturally her response was not a favourable one. She is a psychologist by training, and is of the opinion that I am simply reacting to my recent move - that I am looking to relive some positive aspects of my childhood, the church building nearby is triggering me, and so forth. She's advised me to avoid the church and see a therapist instead.

So, I am asking you, as Catholics, what do you think? Is my friend right? Should I avoid the Church or should I try mass and see what happens? I know a bit about the teachings of the Church; to be perfectly honest, some aspects are appealing to me and others are not. I worry I would be attending for the wrong reasons, as my friend suggests. I also do not want to be unintentionally disrespectful to the church, with being an agnostic. Though, lately I feel open to changing my beliefs.

Thank you in advance for any and all responses.


Of course she is not right and if you will pardon me I don't think she has your best interests in mind

Come in ..look around..try us on...see if we fit...set in the front so you can see what is happening during the mass

If I might make a suggestion, read the life of Edith Stein , a Jewish convert who became a nun..If you feel the inclination ask her to help you..Remember Mary was a little Jewish girl.....the roots of Catholicism are very Jewish

You are welcome and no one will push you to go any further than you feel comfortable
  #9  
Old Apr 24, '09, 6:54 pm
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Stella76 Stella76 is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Hi Susan,

I see nothing wrong with attending Mass if it is comforting to you. You are always, always welcome to attend Mass. And you are very welcome here on the forum!

And another thing, though I don't know you, I'm proud of you for completing your doctorate. I have had to give up on mine, so I know firsthand how difficult graduate school can be. Well done!

Take care,
*Stella
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  #10  
Old Apr 24, '09, 11:31 pm
surfgirlusa_200 surfgirlusa_200 is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan_Calvin View Post
I apologize if this is not the correct forum for this post. I looked through each forum and this one seemed to best fit with my situation. Sorry for the length also, I tried to be brief but I felt I needed to explain myself a bit.

I am a professional woman in my early 30s, Jewish by birth though I was never religious nor connected with the Jewish community. I consider myself an agnostic.

I grew up in abject poverty. My mother had untreated mental illness and we were homeless/transients much of the time. Some of my earliest memories were of the Missionaries of Charity who had a shelter and soup kitchen in our city. We accessed their services and they were very kind to me.

After my mother's death I was placed in foster care. I had problems with running away so I went through quite a few homes. When I would run off I would often go back to the Missionaries of Charity, who then would have to call the authorities to pick me up. I think I was quite problematic for them, though in retrospect I was just looking for something familiar.

A priest who frequented the convent/shelter took an interest in me. Ultimately he arranged for me to attend a private school for girls run by the Ursuline Sisters. I thrived there, the sisters and other staff were amazing. I graduated at 16 and went straight to university on a scholarship, where I studied computer science and robotics. I recently obtained my PhD. I've never married as I'm pretty much a geeky tech type of person and I'm "married" to my work. I have not kept in touch with any of the sisters or the priest.

Two months ago I started a position in a new city. One of the first things I noticed in my neighborhood was a Catholic church very near my apartment. The church bells ring every day at regular intervals and can be heard from my balcony. I drive by the church on my way to work. A sign outside says there is daily mass at 7 am.

I can't explain the how or why, but I feel extremely drawn to attend mass. This has gone on for several weeks now. During Easter week I was very conflicted and agitated, I had trouble eating and sleeping, which is very unusual for me. All sorts of good memories of the sisters and the priest have come flooding back, things I haven't thought of for years. I'm suddenly feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude for everything they did for me, and guilt at not keeping in touch with them. I'm considering writing them all to thank them and let them know I am well.

Yesterday I confided in a close friend regarding recent events. She is an atheist so naturally her response was not a favourable one. She is a psychologist by training, and is of the opinion that I am simply reacting to my recent move - that I am looking to relive some positive aspects of my childhood, the church building nearby is triggering me, and so forth. She's advised me to avoid the church and see a therapist instead.

So, I am asking you, as Catholics, what do you think? Is my friend right? Should I avoid the Church or should I try mass and see what happens? I know a bit about the teachings of the Church; to be perfectly honest, some aspects are appealing to me and others are not. I worry I would be attending for the wrong reasons, as my friend suggests. I also do not want to be unintentionally disrespectful to the church, with being an agnostic. Though, lately I feel open to changing my beliefs.

Thank you in advance for any and all responses.
Hello and welcome, Susan!

I know what it's like to feel inexplicably drawn to the Catholic Church; a year ago, I found myself researching it for class. The more I learned, the more I felt that God was urging me to attend Mass. I went, and wouldn't you know it- I immediately knew that this was where I needed to be. I officially joined the church a few weeks ago at Easter.

I would follow through on your instincts. Anyone is welcome to attend Mass at any time, and your presence would not be disrespectful in the slightest. Everyone else has already given you some good advice, so I would listen to them; the've been around longer than me

I hope that your experience is a blessed one! Do come back and tell us how it was.
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  #11  
Old Apr 25, '09, 2:27 am
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VivienneJ VivienneJ is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Susan, welcome.

Go to Mass and see what happens from there.

You have nothing to lose by attending Mass...............and a whole lot to gain.

May you be blessed.
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  #12  
Old Apr 25, '09, 12:19 pm
CSUNGerrie CSUNGerrie is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Wow, what a powerful testimony. It reminded me of the beginning story of Les Misarable

The holy spirit has been working to bring you to Christ. On the night before Jesus crucifixion he said to his disciples, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13)

It sounds to me like these priest's and nuns succeeded in staying true to Jesus commandments. It seems like you received your first glimpse into Christ beauty by the love that they showed you. I highly encourage you write to them and show them the fruit's of their love and faith in Christ.

Susan, there is no harm in attending mass, only the joy and forgiveness that Jesus offers to all of us. If you haven't already read the gospels, I suggest you attend mass and begin reading the gospels during the periods when there is no mass.

As you read (or reread) many of the gospels I am confident that you will fall in love with Jesus. And as you are reading, if you ever find yourself thinking, "this is all sounds good in writing but.." ask yourself, "well how does it sound on wood."

You are not going to agree nor understand everything that is presented. But I encourage you to search out for answers to the questions you might have. When I first started on my journey to Christianity I had a TON of objections, "Is there really only one way? Why does God allow Hell? Dont all religions teach the same thing..etc"

But I can tell you that as I began to investigate these questions I found that all the objections I had started to fall. The Catholic church was a truth telling machine.

Please pray and invite the holy spirit to lead you to Christ. It might seem weird but all you have to do is say, "Lord, I invite the Holy Spirit to lead me to your Son Jesus Christ."

You will probably get a ton of book recommendations by the members here. So if I may, I would like to reccomend you read G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. It transformed my life. Chesterton grew up agnostic but was eventually led to the Catholic church. One of my most favorite quotes from his book is:

The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid.


Susan, you are about to go through a very mystical experience where I believe you will find Jesus and eternal life. I will pray for you!
  #13  
Old Apr 25, '09, 3:58 pm
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Susan_Calvin Susan_Calvin is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Wow. I'm overwhelmed and touched by all the positive responses! I should have expected as much on a Catholic forum but honestly I thought there would be at least one person here saying I was out to lunch. I suppose though that attitude comes from surrounding myself with non-religious people for several years. In my circle of friends and acquaintances, any so-called spiritual experiences are generally associated with an overactive imagination and/or insanity.

In any event, I never expected so many positive responses and so quickly; I really appreciate it. Its certainly made my decision to attend mass far easier.

Before I comment individually on all your posts, I want to share a brief update, because I think its quite remarkable...

Since I moved to this neighbourhood a couple of months back, I've frequented a nearby coffee shop and take walks in a nearby park. In both the park and the coffee shop, I often see the same older man, also walking or having a coffee. After a few times of seeing each other he started saying hello to me, and we've had some brief general conversations, such as discussing the weather. This morning I saw him in his car, and he waved to me and smiled so I waved back. He seems like a very nice man, and the only "stranger" I've had any contact with in this neighbourhood thus far..

This morning I was thinking about mass again so I went online and found the church's website. I thought I would read a bit about the parish itself in an attempt to feel more comfortable to attend. Well, when I clicked on the priest's page, guess whose picture was staring back at me!! I almost passed out. Its still jacket weather here, so I guess I never really noticed a collar... though in retrospect he does always wear black... just never thought anything of it... but wow!! Seriously, what are the odds that the one and only person in this neighbourhood who has befriended me is the priest of the parish I've been thinking about attending?? I am floored...
  #14  
Old Apr 25, '09, 4:30 pm
redrosetea redrosetea is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan_Calvin View Post
Wow. I'm overwhelmed and touched by all the positive responses! I should have expected as much on a Catholic forum but honestly I thought there would be at least one person here saying I was out to lunch. I suppose though that attitude comes from surrounding myself with non-religious people for several years. In my circle of friends and acquaintances, any so-called spiritual experiences are generally associated with an overactive imagination and/or insanity.

In any event, I never expected so many positive responses and so quickly; I really appreciate it. Its certainly made my decision to attend mass far easier.

Before I comment individually on all your posts, I want to share a brief update, because I think its quite remarkable...

Since I moved to this neighbourhood a couple of months back, I've frequented a nearby coffee shop and take walks in a nearby park. In both the park and the coffee shop, I often see the same older man, also walking or having a coffee. After a few times of seeing each other he started saying hello to me, and we've had some brief general conversations, such as discussing the weather. This morning I saw him in his car, and he waved to me and smiled so I waved back. He seems like a very nice man, and the only "stranger" I've had any contact with in this neighbourhood thus far..

This morning I was thinking about mass again so I went online and found the church's website. I thought I would read a bit about the parish itself in an attempt to feel more comfortable to attend. Well, when I clicked on the priest's page, guess whose picture was staring back at me!! I almost passed out. Its still jacket weather here, so I guess I never really noticed a collar... though in retrospect he does always wear black... just never thought anything of it... but wow!! Seriously, what are the odds that the one and only person in this neighbourhood who has befriended me is the priest of the parish I've been thinking about attending?? I am floored...
It sounds to me like God is sending you a sign...
  #15  
Old Apr 25, '09, 4:43 pm
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Susan_Calvin Susan_Calvin is offline
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Default Re: Strong Desire to Attend Mass, But Not Catholic

Yes it seems so!! If I'm honest its a bit frightening. I have had strange things happen to me before but this is just too much to be passed off as a coincidence...
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