Finding Joy #1

November 5, 2018

To be completely honest, when asked to do this blog, I was shocked, said yes and then realized something. You see, I suffer from this dreaded disease called “foot-in-mouth disease”! I open mouth and insert foot: which is one of my many flaws. I said yes without even thinking that I’d never read one let alone written one; I just knew I felt called to share my story. Sooooo here goes with a bit about me, my conversion and how I was lead to begin a ministry for vocations …

 

   I’m a 64 year old wife to Steve for 39 years, a mom to two children; Damon 33, Maura 25, a lovable rescue pooch named Sophie, and two adorable kitties, Izzy and Lily. I am what I call a newbie Catholic since I was just confirmed at Corpus Christi Parish 3 years and 4 months ago on Divine Mercy Sunday. I am so in love with the Church and especially the mass that I think sometimes I'm going to burst., just sitting right there in the pew my joy is just going to burst right out. Talk about finding pure joy, the Mass is it for me! So if you haven’t given up on my first blog yet (and I'm praying not!), I’d like to tell you about my up-side down conversion and share ways that I keep finding joy in the Lord…

 

    I grew up in a great neighborhood filled with Catholic families which of course back then meant tons of kids. One family had 11, another 7, another 6, another 5, and so on. So each Sunday I watched my friends file out to their station wagons (no mini vans in the 50s!) with their moms holding boxes of tissues and a hand full of bobby pins, just in case the girls didn’t have a proper head covering on. Needless to say, they rarely misplaced them to avoid the embarrassing tissue on the head while sitting at Mass! On Fridays, I would ask my mom why we didn’t have fish sticks, so finally she caved and Mrs. Pauls fish and fries were often our Friday dinner fare. And even though I hated cooked cabbage until an adult, I would always be at my best friend’s house next door to eat corned beef and hear her daddy sing “Oh Danny Boy” every St. Patrick’s Day. When my dad took me to the 1964 New York World’s Fair with a huge display of Michelangelo’s Pieta, and a few months later to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I remember being amazed at the beauty. For me the beauty in the Catholic Church is finding joy by just opening my eyes. I look back now and think Our Lord was planting seeds in my little 10 year old head. To give you a pre-Catholic a reference point, as a child I went to Sunday school for about 4 years at a Presbyterian church but when my parents separated, we no longer attended any church and sadly I was never baptized either. After our son was born in 1985, I felt we needed to find a church home. I chose a United Church of Christ (UCC) for one reason, one of my friends invited me! We all need to remember that for bringing people into the Church.

 

   Damon and I were very active and finally 8 years later when Maura was born, all 3 of us were baptized that December. Now this is where the up-side down conversion begins…

 

Skip ahead 8 years with Damon spending his summer collecting and gobbling up books on religions of the of the world. I was a bit nervous that he might switch to a non-christian faith or no faith at all. But we let him continue on his summer journey in books. In the end he came to inform us he wanted to become Catholic. At first I was sad. Damon insists I stopped speaking to him for several weeks; perhaps I did. But then I realized that at least he'd still be a Christian. He enrolled in RCIA and the following spring was brought into the Church at the Easter Vigil. We had many intense discussions about our faiths over the next few years but when he came home from Millersville University thinking about the priesthood, I knew both of our lives were about to change. While Damon was discerning his calling, I was realizing that the Protestant church was not where I belonged. I could no longer be part of a church that was pro-choice, allowed homosexual “marriages’’, and believed that communion was just a symbol. So I left and continued going to daily Mass with Damon. After a few months, I fully realized I was without a church home but unsure of what to do. Or was I? I struggled and struggled with the idea of becoming Catholic. But I now know my heart was already there, my head just couldn’t commit, until…..I started finding  more and more joy!

 

Well there ’s my first blog. I hope you stay tuned until next week. Other than the remainder of my wacky and joy-filled conversion story, in future posts I’d like to talk about a variety of topics, such as the world of having a seminarian in the family and a totally unexpected vocations apostolate that Our Lord plopped in my heart. I hope you join me again and…

 

Never stop finding joy!

Barbara

 

                                     “And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”

                                                  Luke 1:47

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