Losing My Religion, Only to Find it Again.

The Island Cross

I was raised Catholic. I went to parochial school, with some classes even taught by nuns. I was baptized as an infant and in the second grade I made my First Communion. Typically, the good Catholic girl makes her Confirmation around 8th grade. Well, by that time we had moved to a small country town – where Catholics were hard to come by.

Anyway, during high school I began thinking about what I really believed. A friend of mine church hopped a lot. So, one day she invited me to go to her church of the week, a Pentecostal Holiness church.

Boy, was I in for a treat! Let’s just say when people started falling out on the floor and the preacher began speaking in tongues I started getting scared. I was not at all prepared for this.

A few years later I began attending a Southern Baptist church, mainly for the youth group. I had some friends there and I enjoyed attending the youth functions. Even after graduation I came back as a chaperon.

By the time I returned home after going away to college for awhile, something had changed. I had changed.   And I no longer felt this was the place for me. I began searching…

Several years later I found myself at Our Lady of Lourdes. After a few weeks, I was attending RCIA classes regularly.

As I took this journey back to Catholicism, I found myself understanding things differently that I had as a child.

The RCIA teacher – a convert no less – had a way of explaining things that made sense to me, probably the first time I truly began to understand the religion I’d been familiar with my entire life. By Easter, I was prepared to make my Confirmation.

As the years have gone by, my attendance in church has fluctuated. I’ve found that there are a lot of people raised as Catholic that are no longer “practicing”. That phrase is just odd to me. For me, it’s personal. Going to church every week doesn’t get you any closer to Heaven and not going doesn’t send you to Hell.

I feel like you can have a relationship with God without organized religion. It bothers me when people stand on their soapbox and shout damnation to those that choose a different way to worship. It’s a personal choice and we should all respect it.

I was married in the Catholic church and I consider myself Catholic. Not because I was raised that way, but that’s what I chose. I feel comfortable in the Catholic church. I like the reverence and tradition. I wouldn’t say I ‘like’ going to confession, because the guilt is no fun, but I do think that it holds me more accountable for actions and generally reminds me to be a good person.  It may seem weird to someone else,  just as the others churches practices were uncomfortable to me.  This is what is right for me, but we are all different and each and every one of us should be able to choose for ourselves.

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