Sunday, December 25, 2005 


Christmas Eve found us at our new church home twice. We went to Mass at 5 pm with Lori's sister. This was the Mass for the children. Their choir sang and at one point in the Mass, Fr. K had all the children come forward to the alter to talk to them about the true meaning of Christmas. During this time, Santa Claus came in, walked up to the alter, and kneeled before the Christ child at the nativity scene. It was very beautiful and spiritual, and it gave a good message to the kids.

The church was packed. I've never seen it so full. This church is large, with pew space to seat 1,200 people, but I would guess that about 1,400 were there. It was standing room only, a sight to see.

After a Christmas Eve dinner and a movie, we returned to church by 11:30 for midnight Mass. The adult choir sang and the music was incredible. I love singing some of my favorite Christmas carols. I have noticed that Catholics aren't always big singers, but not at this Mass. The congregation sang well, especially Silent Night.

As I have said before, Lori and I always go up for a blessing during communion. Tonight, Father gave me a blessing and a pat on the shoulder, and said, "soon," referring to my upcoming confirmation and first communion, which can't come soon enough.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005 

Christmas Eve - Thank you to my readers

As I reflect on what I have written, I am encouraged to continue by those of you who have left comments or sent emails. They are appreciated. As I have stated, I have more than one purpose in writing this log. In addition to creating a written account of my conversion for myself, my family and friends, I am hopeful that this log will help others who may be converting or considering it. Perhaps my experience will be an inspiration to another Christian, or will help give some insight into the process of adult confirmation into the Catholic Church.

I thank all of you who have read these words, and I thank you who have made your presence known to me. It is a comfort.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 

Our Fourth Meeting with Father (Fourth Sunday in Advent)

Last night, we went to Mass at 5:30. Fr. K had a good message as usual. Afterward, we went to Ken and Brenda's for dinner and discussion. Ken made his famous home-made Beef Stroganoff, and it was his one of his better efforts. He's a good cook.

We had another good discussion covering Sacraments, indulgences, and some church history. We talked for over two hours. We are close to pinning down the date our our conformation, which will be in February. We are planning a day-long retreat on February 4. By the time we are finished, we will have had six meetings with father K, read the entire Catechism (plus several other books,) and been to a retreat. I dare say we are getting more personalized information than we would have through the RCIA class, not that I am criticizing the class. It has been nice for us to have this personal attention.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 


Last night, I went to Perpetual Adoration with Dan, who is a close friend and member of my men's prayer group. He generally goes at 10 pm on the second Tuesday of the month. I go with him most of the time, and have for over a year. During Lent last year, we went every Tuesday night and Ken joined us.

I prayed a Rosary (the joyous mysteries seemed appropriate for Christmas), lit a candle for all those I am praying for, and read several more pages from the catechism in preparation for our upcoming meeting with Fr. K this Saturday night.

Lori went to adoration earlier today. She's really getting into this, and I'm glad.

Sunday, December 11, 2005 

Weekly Mass (Third Sunday in Advent)

Today I record that we attended Mass last night, right after my confession. I'm starting to really feel like a Catholic, now that I have received one of the sacraments. That, plus our offering envelopes came in the mail. It really makes you feel like you belong!

Father K wants us to be "hungry for the Eucharist." Right now, I feel like I'm starving for it. We've been going up to the priest for a blessing during Communion. Fr. Mario gave a good blessing and a smile. I like him.

Saturday, December 10, 2005 

Sacrament of Reconciliation - my first confession

Well, I did it. Perhaps the most intimidating part of my new Catholic faith was searching my heart and confessing my most troubling sins. I wanted to do this before Christmas, and the upcoming weeks are increasingly busy, so I thought to do it now. I was both anxious with the anticipation of being absolved and scared to tell things I don't want to discuss. I am not one to readily admit serious fault, or so I've been told.

I went to church with the intention of confession, a full hour and a half before Saturday evening Mass. I didn't know which priest would be hearing confessions, but secretly hoped it would be Fr. K - not because the other priests would be fine - but Fr. K is guiding our formation and knows where I'm coming from. He knows this is my first confession. I found Fr. K at church. He wasn't hearing confessions tonight, but would be glad to take care of me anyway.

We went to his confessional room off the adoration chapel. The room was comfortable, and larger than expected - a long way from the small dusky confessionals I'd seen portrayed in the movies, but I'd learned that confession was now a different experience. The room did have a kneeler separated from Father by a curtain, so people could still go to confession in relative anonymity if they chose, but if you come around the curtain, there are two chairs. Father and I each took a chair and began to talk. We spent the first fifteen minutes just talking. I'm sure he knew I was a little nervous and he was helping me relax.

I began my confession as I had learned, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned; this is my first confession." I had brought a cheat-sheet I printed from an internet website about how to confess. The cheat-sheet helped me remember categories of sin, and I filled-in the blanks. Father seemed more interested in the sins that weighed heaviest on my conscience, rather than a list. He couldn't have been more understanding and comforting. I talked. He listened and counseled. This was easier than I expected. Once I got started, I wasn't uncomfortable any more. In a way, it seemed like a spiritual counseling session. Why were people not lined up out the door for this? This is awesome! When I got to the end, I read of the prayer of contrition, and Father absolved me. He gave me a reasonable and even educational penance. The weight of all my past sins were gone.

My wife's gonna love this when it's her turn to confess. She'll have a man who will actually sit and listen to her.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 

Immaculate Conception

Tonight we went to Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We went with Ken and Brenda and their kids and all sat together. It was beautiful. The statue of the Virgin Mary, which is a representation of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was especially decorated. (The picture at left is the actual statue from our church.) Father Mario's homily was very nice; he explained the meaning of the Immaculate Conception, which apparently many Catholics (and other Christians) confuse with the Annunciation.

My only disappointment was that the place was not packed. Wasn't this a Holy Day of obligation? Where is everyone? There were many people at this Mass and the earlier one as well, but not nearly enough to account for the entire congregation.

Sunday, December 04, 2005 

A day to study (Second Sunday in Advent)

We went to Mass last night (Saturday), so I spent much of the day studying, mostly internet resources. There are many good websites to help the aspiring Catholic. I have tried to list several of them in the right hand column of this blog. I am considering putting together a website to list them all. This would be a good place for people to start if they are converting or considering it.

Also, I am giving some thought to my first confession. Part of me looks forward to it, part does not.

As always, I look forward to my men's prayer group tonight. There are five of us who meet every Sunday night. The group includes Ken, who is my sponsor. These guys are my closest friends. We adhere to the formula taught us on our Christian Encounter weekends. We discuss our prayer lives, our Christian study, our moments when we felt closest to Christ, and our apostolic successes, failures, and plan. We keep each other accountable in our faith walks. I was the lone protestant in the group, but now we are all Catholic. This group has closely bonded in the past five years. It is a support group as well as a prayer group. I am lucky to have this support as I make this conversion.

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