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Sunday, January 28, 2007

My story: Part 2

Read Part 1

I got to Mass at St. Joseph’s that Sunday morning not having a clue what I was doing. My friend had given me a basic run down of what to expect. One thing that I remember from that Mass is that the priest was rather elderly and I couldn’t understand much of what he was saying, turns out that pastor of the parish was away that Sunday. I was struck by the “ritualistic” nature of the Mass. To be honest it was a bit unsettling. However, something stuck with me about that day. I didn’t attend another Mass for quite some time. But, I kept thinking about it. A few months went by and I went again. Another few months went by and I went again. During this time some things about the Southern Baptists church (well my particular church back home) had started to bother me. There had been a lot of fighting in the congregation that ended in the pastor and several members left and for some time formed their won church in someone’s living room. I didn’t think about it at the time but later would come to realize that this was a real life example of why the protestant tradition was losing its appeal with me. After all, you can’t have protestant without protest. However, at this time I wasn’t working with a Catholic vs. protestant attitude. My thought was it doesn’t matter what the name on the sign out front is just as long as I’m trying to serve God.

For a couple of years I continued going to Mass once every few months and doing a little bit of research online. During this time I was working for the athletic department at my university. During my last year as an undergraduate the department hired a graduate assistant who was also named Chris. I think we spoke twice that year. After graduating I stayed at the university to attend grad school. I also was hired as a graduate assistant in the athletic department. About a week before I started my first summer session graduate class I went to Mass at St. Josephs. I took my normal place near the back. A few minutes later a lady set down beside me and then Chris (see that wasn’t a completely random reference above) came in and set on the other side of this lady. After Mass he came up to me and said, “I didn’t know you were Catholic!” I told him that I wasn’t and he asked what I was doing there. In the course of this conversation it came out that I was baptized as a Southern Baptist but had been sporadically going to Mass for a few years.

We ended having the same class that summer and he was eager to talk to me about the Catholic Church. He told me that he normally attended St. Thomas Aquinas, the university parish, and invited me to go to Mass there sometime. During the next couple of month’s Chris and I continued to discuss Catholicism and I finally decided to give St. Thomas a try. I believe this was around the last week of September. We were working at a fall softball tournament and I told him I had decided to go to Mass at St. Thomas that evening, since they had Mass at 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm for the sleepy college students who didn’t get out of bed before noon on weekends. So after going home and changing clothes I went to my first Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas. . .

Continue with Part 3

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