What does your church mean to you?

Do you attend the same church every week, and I wonder how much you may like it? Before I graduated high school I lived with my mother on the other side of the mountain, near a small white church. I had my first communion there, confirmation, I took CCD classes and taught them for three years. I married Jon in that church two years ago. I have absolutely nothing against the local Catholic church we attend now, but I am very grateful to have so many wonderful memories in the little white church on the other side of the mountain. My husband and I love going there for Mass one or two times each month to make sure it’s still standing and to see if the aisle still works.

My family has attended the same church since we came to this country in 1898. Here in the Deep South, there are not nearly as many Catholic churches as in other parts of the country. Most towns here in my diocese, if they have a Catholic church, will only have one.

I love my parish church. The pastor is great - the soul of common sense and kindness. The people are lovely. The building has a wonderful organ and even better acoustics, which mean a lot to me as a cantor. We’ve been there about 12 years, give or take a couple.

But my spiritual home is the Cathedral. There’s a 5:30 pm weekday Mass that I’ve been going to on and off for thirty years. Last year I was quite ill and did not attend this Mass for several months. When I returned, a number of people I had never officially met before welcomed me back very warmly, telling me how worried they had been. I often go on Saturday or Sunday also, depending on my cantor schedule at my parish. This is where I go to confesssion most often as well. My regular confessor for the last four years has just left, and the priest who replaced him may be even better! I was a parishioner there for a couple of years in my twenties - I even taught Confirmation classes one year. I think I prefer not belonging there, however, so I don’t have to be caught up in all the politics, etc.

Betsy

Where my associate and I attend Divine Liturgy (the local Melkite Church) is the healthiest spiritual enviornment we have experienced.

One nice thing is that the people are in no hurry to leave after liturgy, but stay at least an hour socializing over coffee and refreshments. The parish hall is as sociable and noisy as a cage full of parakeets! I love it!

I love our parish, because it was where we came to recognize the truth of the Catholic Church and because it was there that we first saw and recognized Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the Blessed Sacrament.

How can I describe to cradle Catholics what it’s like for a Protestant to meet Jesus Truly Present for the first time?

I grew up in the Conference Baptist church, and from an early age, I was taught the Bible. I was lucky enough to be part of the last class of children who used a curricula that took us through the entire Bible (Old Testament) book by book. Very boring by today’s standards, and back then, we often yawned through the “lectures”. (Imagine using “lectures” in today’s world as a teaching technique for young children! Ha ha!)

But by the time I graduated from 8th grade, I KNEW my Bible well.

In VBS and Sunday School, I learned the stories of Jesus, and when I was in second grade, I asked Him into my heart to be my Savior. Now I know that some Catholics don’t believe Jesus really comes to Protestants. They’re wrong. Jesus was my Friend, Savior, and Lord from the time I was seven years old. HE didn’t hold it against me because my parents and their parents had no knowledge of His True Church. He didn’t wait for ME to walk into the Catholic Church forty years later. He walked with me all the way, and it was HE who held my hand and guided me to the Catholic Church.

I knew Him well from childhood.

I was baptized in 8th grade. Again, I know that Catholic theology teaches that we become Christians when we are baptized. But the Catholic Church also teaches about the “baptism of desire.” From my childhood, I desired to fully follow Jesus and devote my life to Him. I believe that my “desire” would have been taken into account at my judgement, and Jesus would have had mercy on a Protestant who had no knowledge, no inkling, of the True Church.

Through the years I never backslid away from Jesus. I had moments of rebellion, but only moments, and they didn’t turn into outright rejection of Jesus and the Bible. I clung to Him. I loved Him.

And when I was in my early 40s, and first started attending the Catholic Church because we couldn’t attend our Protestant church (due to figure skating practices for our children), I SAW HIM.

It was a miracle. I saw and recognized the Jesus, the very same Jesus, that I had loved and tried to serve since childhood.

Have you ever met your favorite movie star or political figure in person? Or your hero? Meeting Jesus Live and in Person was the ultimate experience in this life.

Even though we waited for three years to become Catholic–after all, we had to study everything, like good Protestants always do!–I think I knew after seeing Him and recognizing Him that I would give up anything to be part of His Church and be able to receive Him Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

And that’s why I love my Church. It’s where I saw Him and where I still see Him. I think sometimes that cradle Catholics just don’t know Who’s there. I wish they could be Protestant for 40 years, then meet Him. My forty years were like wilderness compared to the Promised Land where I now reside.

wow!! :slight_smile: thanks for sharing that! I’m also a convert from Protestantism… when I was a Protestant, I loved Jesus too, but I didn’t know Him in the Eucharist. I was also so excited to realize that He’s truly present there! It’s like something I thought I’d only get in Heaven or the 2nd Coming… Jesus being physically present before me. Not only that, but we get to receive Him into ourselves! :smiley: so awesome!

God bless :hug1:

My parish is the one where I became Catholic :slight_smile: so it’s pretty special to me. I love praying there before the Tabernacle after Mass… the priests are wonderful! we have a new priest and he’s such a good homilist.

My favorite parish was the one where I was welcomed, alone or with my children. My children were celebrated joyfully, carried around and introduced to elements of the Church. It was the one place where it was not strange to be young and Catholic, where it was not surprising to the parishioners and the priest that I would want to be there, and to bring my children. It was Liturgy on Saturday, breakfast on Sunday, a monthly luncheon, and dinner on Fridays during Lent. It was a place to pray before Jesus when I needed solitude and a place where people gathered to celebrate Easter all day long. May more parishes serve their young families so completely!

Great to see the enthusiasm of the converts! Cradle Catholics would do well to heed. Many do not know what they have been given and so seldom come to Mass.:frowning:

I am a life-long Catholic, though I took a leave of absence while I was in my 30’s. 9-11 brought me home, and the need to find a parish home so my children could make their First Confession and receive First Communion brought me to my current parish. My children were attending a Catholic school, and there were 2 owner parishes. I had belonged to one of the parishes when I took my “leave of absence” and the same priest was still pastor there, so I knew I wasn’t going back there.

Which left the “other” parish. It is located in a declining neighborhood. Our choir director calls it “the little cathedral in the ghetto”. It is a small parish. There is an apartment complex for the elderly and disabled located behind the church (bordering our parking lot), so we have a lot of seasoned citizens. The atmosphere is quiet and reverent. I loved the pastor who there when we joined, and we’ve stayed in touch with him. I love the pastor who is there now. He is a wonderful confessor. I attend daily Mass, my boys are altar servers, and I coordinate the server schedule, so we belong there now and love it! Our current pastor has started to offer Bible studies, which in addition to instructing the ignorant helps to build community. When I am not able to attend Mass there, I feel like I’m missing something.

We’ve been there for about 6 years now and feel truly blessed. We are part of a family.

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