Is Catholicism a private, scripted club? It’s how I feel at the moment.
I was born into a Southern Baptist home, my father being a Southern Baptist minister. I always felt something was lacking, and during a Vacation Bible School one summer offered by our baptist church, they took us older kids to a different denominational church each day to learn a little about them. I was very impressed by the Catholic Church during our brief session, and even learned then that the things I had been told about Catholics was false.
In 1978 I enlisted in the army, got married and had three children. I was searching and seeking a church to raise my family in, and I was ripe for the picking. In the early 80’s I was stationed in Italy and thought this would be a great opportunity to explore the Catholic faith. But before I got a chance, Mormon missionaries knocked on our door, and soon my family were members of the Mormon Church. You have to hand it to the Mormons! These guys are faithful, make great witnesses, and know their scriptures. But after a few years, I got skeptical about the Joseph Smith revelations and skeptical about God giving up on his own Church only after a couple of hundred years or so and not doing anything about it for 1500-1600 years.
So I have now been investigating the Catholic faith for some time. I have tried to contact the Church several times over the years, but never had any luck in my rural Kentucky location. I would get a recorded message, and by the time someone got around to calling me back, I must not have been at home to take the call. No one did a follow up, made the effort to visit me or even bother to phone that I know of.
Usually when a person contacts a church of any other denomination, they would rush right over. Try contacting a Mormon, Jehovia Witness or even a Baptist or evangelist organization and leave your address or phone number. Before you can barely hang up the phone, someone is knocking at your door. They will make you feel like their church has been waiting for you and that you are the most special person they will speak with for some time. The Church of Latter Day Saints are particulary good at this, so no wonder the Mormons have the fastest growing church in the world.
After listening to Ava Maria Radio online for quite sometime, after reading my Catholic Bibles, after reading my Catechism in detail, after listening to every archived show of Catholic Answers dating back to 1999, and after watching almost every movie that Netflix has on the Saints, I decided that yes the Catholic Church is the true Church and the Church for me. I was determined to speak with someone at my local Catholic parish. To no surprise, I got a recorded message, but this time it wasn’t going to deter me. I phoned and phoned til I finally got through (guess I should have tried during banking hours before). And to my astonishment, even in my rural area our local priest couldn’t possibly see me for at least a week. I shook my head and made the appointment.
After waiting the longest week of my life, I went to the appointment and told the priest my story. I liked this young priest although he didn’t seem to be impressed by me. I think he had his mind on a ski trip he was getting ready to leave for that he had told me about (how can priests afford ski trips?). He basically told me that early January is quite late to start RCIA classes (even though I consider myself catechized and I am baptized from S. Baptists) that they hold once a week, and it’s probably too late for me to join the Church this Easter. He pretty much told me that I needed the Church much more than they needed me, and they did not want any “marginal” Catholics, so they make it demanding to join.
Since, I pray the Rosary daily, I have been to Mass faithfully the last two weeks, and in my rural area that has only been four Masses. Even in our rural setting, there was approx 200 people at Sunday’s Mass. I have also been to two RCIA classes. No one really has taken an interest in me at all. In four Masses, a total of three people have even bothered to say hi. Two of those three have bothered to speak to me at RCIA.
This last RCIA class, they handed out flyers pretaining to 'The Rite of Election and The Calling to Continuing Conversion" ceremony that will be held 90 minutes away in Louisville on Feb 24. When the flyer was handed to me, I was told this didn’t apply to me but I could have one “to look at”.
Hopefully the local priest will be back from Washington DC today, back in a routine, and I’ll be able to speak with him.
But excuse me if the Church seems to be a private, scripted club which you can only join by invitation only. I am getting very discouraged…