Saturday, February 18, 2006 

Becoming Catholic

Our Mass began today at 3 p.m. My wife and I were dressed in our best. We were pleased and even a little surprised to see that several friends made long drives to attend our confirmation. There were more people present than we expected. Our best friends are Ken and Brenda. Ken is a cradle Catholic, but Brenda was being confirmed with us. Their children were to receive their first communion and will be confirmed with their classes later. This Mass was being celebrated so that the six of us could be welcomed. Father did a very nice job with Mass. Since this was a special Mass for us, the homily was personalized. In front of our friends and family, we were confirmed. I was almost a little nervous to receive communion. I have longed for this. Am I worthy? I went to confession. I have studied and learned. Somehow, as I said the words, “Lord I am not worthy to receive you…” I felt that I was indeed not worthy.

Now it’s time. I walked up to Father after my wife. I bowed. I held out my hands, left on top, making a throne. Almost trembling a little. Father gave me a smile. He knows how important this is to me. Amen, I said. He placed the host in my hands – the actual presence of Christ! I placed it in my mouth, being careful not to chew. I turned to the deacon next to receive the cup. I forgot to cross myself! Too late now, the deacon is handing me the cup. I bowed and took the cup. Amen. I took a sip and handed the cup back. This time I remembered to cross myself. I turned and returned to my seat, and kneeled. Thank you, God. I have received you and you have received me. My first communion was imperfect on my part, but perfect on God’s part.

Afterwards, we had cake and punch in the fellowship hall. Friends and family congratulated us. We got a few cards and gifts. It was nice. Since this was a special Saturday Mass, it did not count for our obligation. We stayed for 5:30 Saturday evening Mass. Our families brought the gifts and Father introduced us as new Catholics. The congregation applauded and many people welcomed us at the end of Mass.

We belong now and we feel it.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 

Valentine's dinner at church

Last night was the annual couples Valentine Dinner at our new church. We went to 5:30 (Saturday) Mass, then to the dinner at the parish hall. We had a nice dinner with wine. Ken and Brenda were at our table, as well as two other couples that we had not met before, so it was nice to makes some new friends. Fr. K gave us the opportunity to renew our voews, which was nice. Lori and I won the award for the couple who had been married the least number of years at six and one-half. One couple had been married for sixty years!

Tomorrow night is the spaghetti feed at church, so both our suppoers this weekend will be at church events. I guess we are getting involved in our new church pretty well.

Next Saturday is the big day.

Saturday, February 04, 2006 

Our retreat

Yesterday, we spent the entire day in retreat as part of our formation process. Our group was lead by Fr. K, but included Lori and myself, as well as Ken and Brenda and there kids. Dale an Mary Sue attended, as well as another couple who helped teach the younger kids, Joe and Sarah. May Sue spent time with Kathryn. Fr. K focused on us adults.

Our retreat took place at the St. Benedict's Center, which is a beautiful retreat center in the country. We had some lesson time, but also some alone time for meditation. One of the most moving moments was praying the rosary together as a group. The kids have taken to this very well. It was great watching them pray their first rosary! We also did the Stations of the Cross.

Later in the day, we had the opportunity for Reconciliation. For the kids, this would be their first confession. For us adults, this was our chance to clear our consciences before our confirmation.

The retreat was incredible. Fr. K has spent a lot of time with us and has made this formation a memorable and inspiring process. This ends our formation, but not our learning. Just because the formal process is over does not mean we have to stop learning.

In two weeks, we will be formally accpeted into the Catholic faith. I look forward to that like a kid looks forward to Christmas.

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