I am a convert to the Catholic faith (Easter 2003) from non-denominationalism and Lutheranism. I am also a divorced single parent of three. Ever since my conversion, I have felt marginalized by the parish and the Church. I feel like I have been treated as a 2nd class citizen because of my circumstances. I am divorced, I do not date, and try to live my life in accordance with Church teachings.
Last year I was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. I have been in and out of the hospital and continue to receive chemotherapy treatments. My medical bills are mounting. I continue to work because I am the sole bread winner and need the insurance. My parish priest and the faith formation director know of my circumstances. Yet they have not offered help of any kind except “I’ll keep you in my prayers.” Some individual parish members have helped and one visited me in the hospital.
In the meantime, I had begun to attend a Foursquare home group that was studying Focus on the Family’s “The Truth Project”. The people in this group have loved me and prayed for me. They have given me money (unsolicited, of course!) to help with the medical bills. They have called me and been my friends, and are even planning a garage sale to help defray the medical costs. They don’t treat me like a 2nd class citizen, they don’t care that I was married and divorced. They just love me as Christ told us to love.
So now I’m torn. I believe in the Church and all that she teaches. Yet in real life, day to day living in parish life, I don’t see the love and concern that you would expect from Christ’s Church. I felt excluded from the beginning, that as a single parent I had no role or place in the parish because we weren’t an “intact” family. And here this whole situation with the Foursquare folks really puts it in focus. I want to remain Catholic, but I feel marginalized in our Church. I am drawn to the Foursquare church because of the love and concern that they have shown us in this time of crisis. They don’t care that I’m divorced. They treat me as a person, not a sinner.
Right now my heath is fairly good, but the long term prognosis is less than 5 years. All the medical research that I have seen clearly says that this form of cancer has a poor prognosis. There is no cure except for taking out the tumor, and they tried to do that and failed. I’m really at a crisis of both faith and health right now.