Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Religious Conversion Story

What's Christmas without a religious story? I'll let the Lectors at Mass handle The Virgin Birth in Bethlehem. I'll give you my religious conversion story.

My early religious training epitomized my entire nightmarish childhood. From rugrat to age 10 it was Presbyterian. (My adoptive "parents" former landlord was Presbyterian, and they opportunistically joined the church.) From ages 11 to 17 it was Methodist. I was sent to a year of Baptist Bible School because a neighbor was Baptist. I was sent to two years of Episcopalian Bible School because my adoptive "mother's" best friend was Episcopalian. Needless to say, none of that was going to stick.

I always knew in my heart that there was a God. At age 17 I began reading about other Faiths.

My epiphany was during my residency at trade school when I was 18. Students were from all over the Eastern United States, from many different backgrounds. However, I realized the 3-4 I liked best had one thing in common: they were all Catholic. They had something I didn't, I went looking for it, and found it.

I started taking a Knights of Columbus correspondence course in Church teachings. (Yes, today I'm a 4th degree Knight.) I got Catholic penpals. Finally, I went to the Catholic church in the town I grew up in and caught the pastor in the parking lot. The parish's Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) classes were to begin a week and a half later. (The parish's Deacon believed my timing must have been Divine Intervention.) I became Catholic at Easter Vigil, 1986.

Over 22 1/2 years later, I can tell you becoming Catholic was the smartest thing I did in my life. If searching, go to a Catholic church for Mass. (I'll even join you at St. Gregory's - my parish - to explain the Mass to you.) Parishes should begin forming new RCIA classes after Easter.

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