So you ask, what took me so long, or perhaps you wonder why now? Good questions… God’s timing is always perfect. One of the things I have learned is never give up praying for someone. What do I mean by this? Well, there are a lot of God stories on my faith journey that brought me to this point in my life.
My husband, being raised Catholic, is a faithful practicing Catholic, but he would admit that he didn’t have a personal walk with God until we moved to Wisconsin 15 years ago. That is when his faith became alive. Before we moved, He faithfully attended Mass each week but didn’t pray much or read the Bible. He did what he thought he should do…and he use to say, “He went to get his ticket to heaven punched”.
Back in the 80’s, the Catholic Church we attended held classes called “Renew”. The classes were held in private homes. Renew taught exactly what I had known for so many years, how to experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This appealed to me so much that I volunteered to guide our small study group.
When Vatican II happened, many things changed that made me feel at home in the Catholic Church. Since I didn’t understand Latin…I didn’t like Mass before. Now everything was in English. Along with that, the Renew study encouraged Catholics to read their Bibles, which I was accustom to do since a child. So in incremental ways…I started to feel more accepting of the Catholic faith, even though I still did not understand some of the things that the Catholic Church teaches.
I would go to Mass occasionally with my husband and to satisfy my longing for fellowship with other Christians, God provided opportunities for me to serve him through non-denominational Bible studies, Youth for Christ, even as a leader of a Christian Women’s Fellowship at a local church. All these things were able to satisfy my need for what I was familiar with from my upbringing.
When we moved to Wisconsin in 1999, we attended a small country church near our home. The priest didn’t present good (sermons) homilies. The homilies were weak in substance and always started out with a joke. That did it; I rebelled and wouldn’t go to church there again. However, we attended church near our lake home during the summer months. A new priest had just come to the parish (Father Rick Heilman). If shut my eyes, I could have sworn that he was a protestant minister (and I mean this in a very good way). He talked about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He was inspiring and on fire for God and this really appealed to my heart.
Next Chapter will describe why I chose to join the Catholic Church and what God incidences happened to bring this about….