My Faith Journey, Part 1
The first service The Man attended with me was Good Friday's afternoon service. Not exactly what I would choose as a first step into the Catholic Church, and I made him promise that if he came with me to that service, that he would also come with me to the Easter Vigil as a follow-up. In my head, sure it would be long, but at least he would see what he would experience if by some chance he decided to join the Catholic Church.
Long story short, The Man did decide to enter the RCIA program and after much thought, it was decided that my Mom would be his sponsor (that's a whole other story). The Man completed the RCIA program and was baptized the following Easter. We talked about his experiences, but I didn't know what questions to ask, and I think he just assumed I knew all that he was learning.
After his Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation, we attended Mass somewhat regularly, but by no means were we there every Sunday. And soon after that I moved to California. I slipped back into my habit of sporadic church attendance, and though I found a church, it never felt comfortable to me (silly me, thinking it was all about my comfort).
After graduate school, it was time to get to serious with our wedding plans and figure what we were going to do about our required marriage prep classes, and just what our wedding ceremony would look like. I came across an article about Catholic wedding traditions that highlighted marriage as a sacrament and suggested that at the start of the Wedding Ceremony, the couple renew their Baptismal Promises to symbolize their understanding of the Sacrament they are undertaking together. This really spoke to both The Man and I as we had already agreed that our Marriage wasn't something we were going into lightly and had already agreed that Divorce was not an option. So one of the very early decisions that was made was that we were going to renew our Baptismal Promises at the start of our wedding ceremony.
Our marriage prep classes were not so easy. We lived 2 1/2 hours apart, I worked full-time and The Man worked full-time and went to school, so the Wednesday night classes offered at our Parish were not going to work. A weekend retreat was financially not going to work. So I got creative and approached the Priest of the Parish we planned to join and attend once we were married. (I was already attending, sporadically, but attending). Father Brian agreed to let us utilize his marriage prep couple and they agreed to flexible with the scheduling to allow The Man to come when it fit with his class and work schedule. Our marriage prep classes were great in the sense that the focused on very practical things - communication and money management to name a few. They were not so great (in hindsight) in that NFP was never brought up (we were told the church's stance on contraception, but not why).
Leading up to our wedding, we continued to attend Mass sporadically, but were very serious about what our wedding day would symbolize and how committed we were to each other. Following our wedding day, we attended Mass regularly until Fall and then wanting to beat the traffic back (following football weekends in Morgantown) became or new reason excuse for not attending Mass on Sundays. We fell into our sporadic attendance routine once again. This continued for about 4 years.
Towards the end of our time in Martinsburg, a group of PartyLite colleagues/girlfriends and I started a non-denominatinal Bible Study group based on Joyce Meyer's "Battlefield of the Mind". Our group was made up of me (a sporadic Catholic who knew not much about Catholicism), a Presbyterian who had recently returned to her church, an Assembly of God's Pastor's Wife, and another lady who I can't remember her background. I had never participated in any type of bible study and while it wasn't a group of Catholic women, or even led by a Catholic (the Pastor's Wife led us), it was truly the start of my Reversion. I learned more about the Bible in those eight weeks than I'd learned in a lifetime. I learned the context for scripture I'd heard quoted over and over again. And, most importantly, I began to pray and study and learn.
To be continued...