My wife and I have some friends that are Catholic. Occasionally, we talk about religion (though we have avoided so far talking about the specifics of our faiths). I casually asked if I could come to Church with them one Sunday and they enthusiastically said yes! I was excited because I had never gone to a Catholic Church before. What made it even more great was that my wife decided that she would like to have our boys experience a Catholic mass since they are studying Latin and had also read about the Catholic Church for home school. She also agreed with me that it would be a great opportunity for them to see how others worship God.
My sons were not as enthusiastic as my wife and I. To them it was just two more hours of church. They dreaded having to go to their friends’ Church that they were unfamiliar with. That all changed once we got there and they found out that there was food, specifically cookies and donuts. I almost laughed out loud when my youngest son leaned over and said, “Dad they don’t believe the same as us…” I was expecting some great childlike epiphany but then he continued, “they have toys in their classes”. So I knew then that both my sons were converted to the Catholic Church as long as they continued to supply toys and sweets.
Though I didn’t understand everything that was going on, I found the visit very enjoyable. I even met a few people I knew. My son’s soccer coach and a colleague of mine. Everyone was very, but not overly, friendly. The priest actually gave a very insightful sermon that I enjoyed a lot (I think I felt the Spirit:). My wife and I were invited to attend the confirmation of our friend’s son in May. We of course said yes. I think it will be fascinating to watch and we are happy to support him and his family.
The mass was not exactly what I expected. It had a lot of the same elements as the Episcopalian services I had been to before. I was surprised to see a band in the corner of the room (something I always associated with Evangelicals). I also noticed some other similarities to the Baptist services I have attended in the past. A collection basket was passed around (I’m not a huge fan of this, though I understand why they do it) and we “greeted” each other with a handshake and a friendly “peace be with you”. Both things I had experienced at my Baptist friend’s Church. Though I wasn’t surprised that the services were similar to the Episcopalian Church, the Baptist similarities did surprise me. Maybe they shouldn’t have, I just always thought of the two as very different from each other.
Now before you think that I’m going to join the Catholic Church I have to say there are a number of things that would take a miracle for me to accept. However, I chose not to dwell on those things and just enjoy the experience; as a result I had a great time. In fact, maybe I’ll go again some time. Next time I’ll go to Sunday school.