Since my mother had told me that I could never become Catholic, I spent much of my life as a Baptist. I enjoyed the Bible Study, the emphasis on having a personal relationship with Jesus, the rousing praise choruses we sang, and the frequent luncheons we celebrated. We were “brothers and sisters in the Lord”. At every Wednesday evening prayer service, one of the elderly ladies would pray earnestly for the conversion of : “that Roman Church” This puzzled me. Were all Christians not ” brothers and sisters in the Lord ” ?
I was the Communion Steward for the Church. My job, once a month, was to pour grape juice into thimble sized containers, and to slice bread into tiny cubes. These would be consumed by the congregation as our “communion ” to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us. I remember the Saturday I felt confused after readying this communion. A few hours later, I drove over to the local Catholic Church, and waited in the parking lot.
Father Joseph was the priest there. He was jovial and outgoing. In the summer he was out on the lawn, greeting the parishioners warmly as they arrived for five o’clock Mass.
I approached the priest cautiously. I told him that I wasn’t Catholic, but asked if I could enter the Church anyway.
Father Joseph was delighted ! “Come in”, he said, “you are welcome here ! ” As if he knew what was on my mind, he said: “The Catholic Church offers true Communion. I will give you lessons in the Catholic faith “. I enjoyed that first Mass, and, true to his word, Fr. Joseph instructed me in Catholicism after weekday Masses. He gave me lots of reading material, and patiently answered my many questions.
Several months later I was confirmed. I now understood the sign of the cross, and I knew that Communion, or the Eucharist, was more than grape juice and cubed white bread. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.