Thank you very much, NYer. I’ve been a member of the Catholic ping list for a few years now. I credit Salvation for keeping me grounded in my faith and willingly tethered to our Catholic rock.
I look forward to rejoining the flock of the devoted who are walking through life in the light of the Lord. I pray that Christ can compel my wife to follow me, as we’ve been married by the law but not by the church; and while this is my first and only marriage, I am fearful of how the church does or will view me.
Having entertained the idea of the seminary just 15 years ago, I still weep when I think of what could have been, but I would not trade what the Lord has given me for anything less. I believe my wife will join me in the journey. I just need to take the first steps to show her that Catholics are not the scary Christians we’re made out to be.
May you find your way home! My husband joined the Church 15 years ago next month, when I was 7 months pregnant with the first of our four children (14, 10, 8, and 5). My late grandfather joined at the age of 69! It is indeed remarkable how the Holy Spirit works, and sometimes uses people to accomplish His will.
I met a remarkable woman last fall who has been on an incredible faith journey that includes everything from Wiccan to atheist to Evangelical pastor. She, her mother, her daughter, and brother are poised to enter the Church later this month at the Easter vigil (she went to the March for Life with our parish in January, along with her mom and daughter). Deo Gratias!
Like the Prodigal Son in the 15th book of Luke, the Catholic Church will welcome you both with open arms. They will no doubt require you to regularize your marriage in the eyes of God but, ... hey ... what fun to celebrate your love ... again! My suggestion would be to map out a list of Catholic Churches within a certain radius of home. Plan to visit each one several times and commit this search to prayer. Ask our Lord to guide you to where He needs you .. that's right, you are needed in one of these parishes. This will also give you time to familiarize yourself with the parish and its pastor. Along the journey, continue your prayer. On one of those visits, you will sense that you have arrived home ... yes, home. Remember, a parish is a community that not only gathers to worship our Lord but also to pool its resources, to share its talents.
I went through this exercise 9 years ago. After attending mass at several parishes, I stepped into one and, by the end of the mass, KNEW I was home. It truly was the answer to my prayer and I, in turn, responded. After joining the parish (very small, only 60 families), I was invited to join a woman's auxiliary group where I was eventually elected VP. I was asked to run for Parish Council, elected and served as Secretary. Next, the pastor asked me to develop a Religious Education program. I had no experience in doing this but, again, entrusted it to our Lord and followed gut instincts. It began small but within 4 years, we had the largest group of children in the history of the parish (reminder, very small community but 26 children!) Next, I was asked to write a state grant!! What? Yes, write a state grant. They had purchased a 160 y/o former Episcopal Church but needed to restore the stained glass windows before we could continue with the renovations. I had never written a grant request in my life ... had no idea how or where to begin. This is normally done by professionals. Once again, I entrusted it to our Lord: "If this is your wish then please help me". More than 350 applications were submitted and only 15 grants were awarded. I will spare you the details but the process entailed submitting the paperwork in 5 original sets - no binders or staples, etc. After crossing the last "t's" and dotting all the "i's", I personally drove our packet to its destination to hand deliver it. I prayed all the way there and back. The wait began. Months passed. Then the call came: "Your parish has been awarded one of only 15 state grants this year". The award amount was $380,000! Even more remarkable is that the following year, the state eliminated stained glass windows with a religious theme from their grants! This was not my work .. it was our Lord's, accomplished through prayer.
Pack your bags, my friend! You and your wife are about to embark on an exciting journey. May our Lord guide you both home! I will keep you in my daily prayers.