I’m 22 of Australian-born Chinese background and I come from a Buddhist family. My parents regularly visit the temple (I go with them sometimes). When I was 12, I along with my mum and sister got baptised into the Church with the intention of enrolling at our local Catholic high school.
During my 6 years in high school, I was obviously exposed to the Catholic faith on a daily basis and I (along with a few others) simply ‘played along’ during prayer and mass as we had no solid knowledge of what to do and I kept secret the fact my family were Buddhist from my friends and classmates who were of course, ‘real’ practicing Catholics. I was worried it would alienate me if they found out… it is wrong to identify with more than one religion and I don’t want to continue with this.
Back then, I cared very little about religion and praying. I just played along at the temple as well. However, as the years went by, I started to have a deep appreciation the Catholic faith and felt a real connection as it is the one religion I could understand (since it’s in English) and I have the most knowledge about, as opposed to Buddhism which is in Chinese and I know relatively little about its teachings. I felt I belonged to a strong circle.
I graduated high school in 2009 and since have stopped attending mass and praying (as the only mass I attended was with school). This has made me feel really disconnected and I’m missing something in life, as my faith has become apart of who I am and it reminds me of the connection I once felt with my friends and peers in school.
I have decided for good that Catholicism is the faith I wish to adopt - I have always been telling people I am ‘Catholic’ whenever I get asked despite my family’s background. To me, I don’t Buddhism as a religion at all (I don’t hear any mention of ‘God’ from them as far as I know) and the main figure is Buddha (who was a human being) so these past few years, on the occasions I go to the temple with my parents, I go to it as a Chinese ‘culture’ thing in mind and pray with the incense sticks like others.
In the future, if I have children, I wish to raise them Catholic which means breaking from past tradition and taking the family on a new path. Since I want to be a real Catholic, should I break myself from Buddhism completely or can I incorporate parts of it as merely a “cultural” thing? Can one live both beliefs in harmony? There are times where my mum says she agrees with some teachings of Catholicism (she has attended mass in Vietnamese before). Should I try to sway her into giving up Buddhism too?
Last night on Christmas Eve, I took my parents out to see the Lights of Christmas show at St Mary’s Cathedral and we went inside for a quick look. I then took the opportunity to ask if they wanted to stay back for midnight mass but they declined, which really disappointed me as we walked back out. I wanted to stay back and/or attend the Christmas mass at my home parish the following day instead but I don’t want them to wonder ‘what has gotten into him’ since I have never really showed any interest in religion (what they think at least).
What are some things I should do to if I wish to reconnect with the Church? I feel I do have bits and pieces to patch up.
Thanks for reading this and I wish you all a Merry Christmas. God bless.