Hi all, this is my first post. I’ve been reading the forum, regularly for about a month.
I’m a happy Catholic. I’m thrilled with all aspects of the faith. I go to mass 2-3 times week. I often go adoration before daily mass. I read voraciously. I pray often. I volunteer. I pay close attention to every homily. I go to confession, but I am still lost in many respects.
Part of the problem may be my age and my look. I’m an older woman and I look Catholic. To look at me, you’d assume I was a cradle Catholic. You’d think I’d been attending mass for decades, but in reality, I finished RCIA about *five years ago and I am still trying to catch on.
I am well aware that I am “poorly catechized”. But what’s the remedy?
-Where can I go to catch up with the rest of you?
-Where can I go to learn and practice and understand the songs sung in Latin, that are completely foreign to me?
-I can follow the mass, but where can I go so I can learn to flip through a missal in the daily adoration service and follow along with the readings?
-What are those readings? The Office?
- Which missal is the priest reading from, exactly? What about the rest of you, flipping pages like experts?
I have all the Catholic apps. I use them to the best of my ability. I can’t tell you the effort I have put in, trying to understand what is going on. I have read twenty books explaining the mass, alone!
I simply wasn’t taught much of anything in RCIA. It’s been like a huge puzzle / guessing game for me, since. In English, Spanish and Latin, no less.
I love being Catholic. I’ve never been happier in my life. I’m thrilled. But becoming properly catechized is not the easiest thing in the world! I feel as if I left RCIA with a rubber-stamp “Catholic” on my forehead. I’ve been trying to learn to swim, since!
I hope this doesn’t sound like a complaint. I love the church. It would be nice to be able to actually sing with y’all though…after five years!
What’s crazy to consider, is that I’m fortunate that I’m able to go to daily mass and spend time reading. What are people with less time to invest to do?
I wonder if cradle Catholics have any idea the barriers that newcomers to the faith have to overcome in order to fully participate. It may be particularly daunting for someone with no prior religious training, which is my circumstance.
I think it’s important to consider this, because at this point, in the US, most people grow up without religious education of any kind. I understand the church is trying to better educate the children. But the parents aren’t going to bring their children if they’re not engaged themselves.
The Catholic education, in my experience, mirrors what’s happening in the whole of society. We send these young people to college…to take remedial math and English. I left RCIA - pretty much clueless, outside of knowing with certainty that I wanted to be Catholic.
As I said, I do a lot of reading. I know that there is movement to better catechize people coming into the church. For example, RCIC used to be a one year program at my parish. It’s recently been expanded to two.
Unfortunately, my son attended the one year program and he learned very little. We’re both deeply, Catholic, I’m sure of that. But he’s having the same experience I am. We know we’re supposed to be there. We can see that Catholicism has improved our lives, dramatically. But will we ever fit in?
How long will it take me to learn to sing in Latin the way some of you have for thirty or forty years? Five more years? Ten years? If you know a shortcut, please help.
I hope I’ve communicated well enough to be understood.
Just imagine this: you’re Catholic, as of last week. You want to go to adoration. You feel compelled to go.
You walk in church with no instruction, whatsoever. You don’t know when to stand, when to kneel. You don’t know the etiquette, you don’t know what people are saying or what they are singing…or what the songs mean.
Only those who are staunchly committed are going to stick with this and try to figure it out. We could and should make this a lot easier for people…by better educating them in the first place.
My Catholic education was vague and non-offensive. No particular rules… For example. sexual ethics were presented more as “suggestions” then “rules”. “You shouldn’t” is different from, “Don’t!”
This is true of my son as well. “You’re not supposed to have sex…but you probably will, so…”
We were told to get a rosary, but not taught how to pray one and why…
So here we are, trying to catechize ourselves. And we may appear stupid. And we may be ignorant, but this doesn’t mean it’s by choice.
And if you are 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 years old and you’ve been going to mass all your life, don’t assume that your age peer shares your experience even if they (by race) appear to be obviously Catholic.
Do you know how many times in my life, I had to tell people I wasn’t Catholic?
“You’re Catholic, aren’t you?”
“How can you not be Catholic?”
Well it turns out, I am Catholic.:rolleyes:
Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until late in my life and now I have to catch up. Jeez louise, it’s a steep hill!
This is one of the things I am trying to learn:
I have the Latin text, but can’t pronounce this stuff, except in bits. Are there tricks for an old dog?
Do others struggle like this? If you came to the faith, later in life, how long did it take you to assimilate?