For me, the best part of belonging to the Catholic Church is knowing that it is where I am supposed to be.
As an ex-Protestant and ex-Evangelical, I was always confused about who was right. The Baptists were rigid, and the Episcopalian Church that I attended was dead. (Everyone but me was over 75, and the church was quite literally dying out!) I found that the nondenominational churches I attended were, in practice, a non-denominational denomination. I’m not against anyone in those churches, and – of course – my opinions are quite subjective. It’s just that I always wondered which church held the Truth.
I went to many Catholic churches as a child. I didn’t know why I was so drawn to it – I just was. I had a lot of Catholic playmates and friends and would jump at the chance to go to Mass. As soon as I entered a Catholic church, I knew that I was home.
Two years ago, I converted. The more I learned in RCIA, the more I believed that everything about the Catholic Church was true. I studied the church fathers and saints. I read the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. One complemented and lined up with the other.
My parish is over 100 years old and is very traditional. We light candles and genuflect and pray the Rosary, and have statues and pictures of Jesus, Mary, and several of the saints. Whenever I enter the sanctuary, I know that Jesus is there in the form of the Eucharist. He is in the tabernacle at the front of the church.
Sometimes I stop by my church to pray during the week. It is a sanctuary and haven from the hurry-up world. It’s like walking into an earlier century.
I love the way that we can trace back all of the popes through apostolic succession, and how it was the Catholics who put together the Bible. I love the way that, in the Catholic Bible, all of the original books remain. Before I was a Catholic, I didn’t even know that seven of the books were removed by the Protestants and that Martin Luther had called the Book of James a “book of straw.”
Of course there were the changes brought about at Vatican II to the way that we, Catholics, worship. But these changes do not change anything that we believe.
I am so happy to be a Catholic at last. It will be two years this coming Easter, and I feel as though I have just begun.