Why I dig being “catholic”

“Is this even a Catholic church?”

I overheard the comment on the way out of mass – our weekly commitment to helping the kids develop a relationship God. I’d like to say that we started going to mass because we were both raised Catholic and inculcating a religious identity is important to us.

But, truth be told, we were both raised by immigrant parents, which means education is a high priority. So when Nick started coming home with not-so-smiley faces on his 1st grade religion worksheets, these less-than-an-A-is-an-F parents knew we had a serious problem.

Thanks goodness my mom found us a church. We weren’t strangers to the parish – after all, our 3 children had all been baptized there – but we weren’t active parishioners either given Rome’s less-than-stellar stance on homosexuality. Still, with selective enrollment HS looming ahead, we knew we had to keep the academics in all areas up.

(The Lord works in mysterious ways. And the way He got us through the door was through our over-achieving egos.)

catholic.
Small c.
Definition: including a wide variety of things; all-embracing.

The older gentleman exiting the church was talking, so I’m not sure if he meant capital C or small C.

To me, they are the same.

When I look around the church, I marvel at the rich expression of the Divine in this life…

The extra room the choir makes for the Gundam-sized chair of one of its members…

The tireless sign language interpreter who models responses the rest of the congregation adopts as their own…

The bilingual song selections the choir director breaks down phonetically for those whose Spanish mainly consists of “taco”, “salsa” and “Corona”…

The patient, step-by-step training of Down’s Syndrome parishioners so they can be altar servers or Eucharistic ministers…

The interfaith outreach that encourages us to dive deep into all religions – not just own own…

The thoughtful – and sometimes uncomfortable – homilies on social justice – immigration, labor law, gay rights…the list goes on and on – and so do some of the priests! – that call for us to express our faith, not just profess it…

And when we join hands for the Our Father, we embrace squirming children and marginal homeless alike, followed by a Sign of Peace that erupts into a full-on Love-In as friends and acquaintances cross the aisles to deliver handshakes, hugs, and hearty slaps on the back.

It is a place where this “non-traditional” family of 5 can sit in the front row with nary an eyebrow raised.

“Is this even a Catholic church?”

As God is my witness, it is.

4 thoughts on “Why I dig being “catholic”

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