Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Faith Journey thus Far...

I don't recall if I have ever shared my "Faith Journey" story before, and since I need to make some reparation for not blogging of late, I've decided to post this for anyone who might be interested.

First of all I did not grow up Catholic. I was born and raised Episcopalian. Now the Episcopalians are really not that far in most of their beliefs than Catholics (well there are the traditional and then the liberal Episcopalians), but there are some things that are flat out not accepted. My dad who was born Catholic and then fell away from the faith while a teenager, decided to come back to the Catholic Church after many years of study. This was the year 2000, and this was quite traumatic for our family. I was only ten at the time, but it was very difficult, as we had to decide which church to go to. The rest of my family (I have 2 sisters and a brother) was torn between attending our old Episcopal Church and supporting Dad at the Catholic Church. My dad also felt very alone and saddened to take this journey by himself, but he saw it as the Will of God. I naturally became quite anti-Catholic at the time (I have very religious parents and I as a young child was a quite a philosopher :-)). Eventually I was open to having dialogue with my Dad about the Catholic Faith, and I was doing a lot of thinking. Basically I had only a few hard things I had to work through to become Catholic.

1. Praying to the saints--- I thought it would be sinful to pray to anyone but God.

2. Confession---the need and the ability of the priest to absolve sins.

3. Mary's Immaculate Conception---Isn't EVERYBODY a sinner?

My Dad patiently helped me to tackle each of these subjects, and eventually I came to believe, though I remember how difficult it was. I cannot thank my Dad enough for all he did to help me learn about the Faith and bring me closer to Christ through it. So we got in contact with the DRE (Director of religious education) and my brother (who also decided to become Catholic) and I got in to the RCIA program. I was put through the "child's" version of RCIA, which in the end I can tell you I learned about 0.5% (being generous and rounding up) more about my Faith. If it was not for the many times my Dad was teaching me about the Faith I think I would still be Episcopalian or most likely would have decided to become "non-denominational" or something. I think it is absolutely terrible that the RCIA program was so bad, as it should be teaching people about their Faith and actually have CONTENT. Joyfully, on April 14th 2001, I joined the Holy Roman Catholic Church and received my First Communion and Holy Confirmation.

Anyway, I know I was very young, and that young children can be easily formed by their parents etc, but I really did make the decision, and it was difficult that my 2 older sisters and mother did not join the Church as well (My mother joined on Pentecost 2005 praise be to God!). I am now 17, and although I still have much to do before I am really "grown up", it has taken conviction, study, and God's grace to keep me in the Faith. I have gone through difficult times of doubt and persecution. I have suffered through a stage of scrupulosity in the past. I have many times failed to be a proper witness to my Faith, but Faith God has still allowed me to possess through all of this, and I thank Him with all of my heart! I am currently wishing to serve Christ as a Roman Catholic Priest, though this is up to God and if He Wills it or not.


Danny Donellan said...

You are truly blessed to have such faithful parents & I thank God for leading your Dad to the Truth! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Thanks for sharing your story! I originally was a Southern Baptist, then detoured as a young adult into the Episcopal Church (in my case a VERY "Anglo-Catholic" tradition). So if the Episcopal Church was a "bridge" church, then was the bridge that lead me over from evangelical Protestantism to the Catholic Faith. Somewhere I became too "Catholic" for the Episcopal Church (it boiled down to the issue of authority). And all the stuff happening in the Anglican Communion right now certainly hasn't persuaded me to re-consider.

LOL... One of the reasons I could relate to Father Byles of the Titanic was that he also had been Protestant then Anglican, struggled with the choice of remaining Anglican or not, then became Catholic and made some of his family very unhappy in the process. (And then he became a priest on top of all that...)

Sorry for being so long-winded. You said you would pray for me. Thank you. I will keep you in my prayers as well.

Esther said...

Amazing story PB. Thanks for sharing it with us. You are truly an inspiration to other Catholics.

Kaila said...

Thanks for sharing your conversion story. I too am a convert. My dad was also raised Catholic and his family stopped going to church. I was raised as a Christian but we were non-denominational. It was through my mom, who was a protestant, that my dad came back to the Catholic church. And because of her all of my family are now Catholics. I recently attended RCIA to learn more about my faith as I was having a difficult time understanding everything the Church teaches. But without my mom or some awesome priests I know I probably wouldn't be the kind of Catholic I am today.

I'll pray for you as you discern your vocation.