Conversion Story {Part III}

Blessed Sacrament, Providence, RI
Blessed Sacrament, Providence, RI

The last part of the story… hopefully… To catch up on Part One click here, for Part Two click here.

So, there we were bumbling along having intense… um… discussions and attending Mass and going to classes. We made it to our first Confession. I don’t know if I have any profound thoughts on that. I was pretty much dragging my feet as much as I could before I went. I was stalling any way I could… had to put the kids to bed… had to clean up… it was raining (that actually was almost a valid reason I didn’t go because at the time the car didn’t have working windshield wipers… but that’s a different story). Anyways, I went. Right up until I got out of the car in the church parking lot, I was real nervous. Then I think I just resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to confess and went and got in line.

So freeing. Every time since that I’ve done it I get the same result. So freeing. I should do it more often.

We both made our First Holy Communion (in the Catholic Church) at the Easter Vigil!!! I was so excited. It was a huge challenge for me to go every Sunday to Mass and NOT receive the Eucharist. I was almost jumping up and down with excitement when we were able to go up. (I don’t have a picture of it though. The church was PACKED and everyone else we knew was squished in elsewhere).

Our parish, for whatever reason does Confirmation separately from First Communion (unless you’re also being Baptized at the Vigil than you do everything that night…?). Anyways, we weren’t confirmed that night, but after then we were able to receive Communion every Mass!

Classes continued for about six more weeks, another round of confession and a long rehearsal and we made our Confirmation at the end of May. I distinctly remember when they were processing in and they were almost to us, I had an almost overwhelming sense of the enormity of what we were about to do. I’ll be honest for a teeny fraction of second I had a “Wait!-This-Is-Forever” thought, and I was a bit nervous. Then the procession moved on and it was a beautiful service. (Here’s a link about our Confirmation Saints)

I guess that’s officially the end of our Conversion Story, in the sense that we were completely received into the Roman Catholic Church. However, the story doesn’t end there.

I was doing a make up session with one of the teachers, and it ended up being one-on-one because no one else showed up. It was during Lent, and I told her

I’ve been doing all these things, getting ready for Easter and First Communion, and moving towards Confirmation and I was a little sad, because that meant that we were going to be done, we were going to end. We’d be done with the classes, done with the studying and discussions. Done with learning about the Church… then it hit me. That won’t be the end. That will be the Beginning.

 

Here are a few photos from Confirmation. They aren’t the greatest pics ever, but they’re the only ones we have so I love them.

IMG_3774 IMG_3775 IMG_3776 IMG_3777 IMG_3778

Conversion Story {Part I}

Blessed Sacrament, Providence, RI
Blessed Sacrament, Providence, RI

I have been thinking for a long time about writing our conversion story. But it seems like such a daunting task, nevertheless I want to give it a go…

Firstly, let me say, I’m kinda uncomfortable with the term “convert” or “conversion”, because to me it seems that “convert”/”conversion” means completely changing from one religion to another. And I don’t feel that I’ve changed religions. I have changed how I “practice” my religion (Christianity), but I haven’t completely changed religions. But, that’s the term that’s used, so I’ll stick with it, just wanted to clarify how I feel ’bout it.

Second, want to say that this will primarily be My story. Jared and I did do the actual First Communion and Confirmation together, but I don’t want to speak for him as to his feelings leading up to this. I’ll bring him in as best I can, but this will primarily be My story.

Now, where to begin?

I guess at the beginning…

I was raised in church. The never-miss-a-Sunday-no-matter-what kinda household. For my first 16 years we were non-denominational Evangelical, then we joined a Charismatic Episcopal Church. At the time we joined, I was having a difficult time with it all, mostly because it was so completely different than what I was used to and probably because of the circumstances under which we joined (the church we were attending was pastored by my dad, and for reasons that never really were made clear, to me at least, the church closed.)

After about six months, I grew to embrace the church and it’s customs and for a while, several years at least, I was pretty happy with it all. Somewhere towards the end of my college years (maybe when I was 20 or 21) the priest retired and a new one came to take his place. When that happened thing started changing. At first it was OK, then things started changing to the point where I wasn’t liking it. The church was becoming more Evangelical, and while there isn’t anything wrong with an Evangelical church per se, it wasn’t what I wanted from church.

Eventually I stopped going all together. Which in hindsight may not have been my most brilliant idea (if you take a look at the page “Katherine’s Story…” that’s about the end result of where “not going to church (or not really caring about church)” lead.

After Katherine was born, we wanted to have her baptized. We still believed, but didn’t really have a church we were comfortable with. (She was baptized at Jared’s home church in GA.) Those feelings pretty much continued, along with sporadically going to the CEC church for a couple of years. I remember feeling at the time, “the kids need to be in church. I may as well go there than anywhere else.” At the time I really didn’t have anywhere else to go. I definitely didn’t want to go to a Protestant church, but the Catholic Church didn’t seem to be in reach either. Mostly I was afraid to go by myself*.

I don’t know where exactly the “need” came from, but I want to end this evening’s beginning by sharing a quote from Thomas Merton’s book The Seven Storey Mountain (which I’m actually reading now, but I think this quote sums up what I meant at the time)

If I did pray… it was probably only one of those… movements of nature… which certainly show that the need to worship and acknowledge Him is something deeply ingrained in our dependent natures, and simply inseparable from our essence.

Tune in tomorrow for Part II!!

~Ruth Anne

*When I say by myself, Jared was feeling much of the same things I was feeling in regards to the CEC church, but this is where our paths diverge a little. I wanted to go to church, not the CEC but A Church. He was more along the lines of waiting to see if things would change at the CEC church (but not ready to go somewhere else in the meantime).