As a native of French Quebec, I arrived in the United States in March of 1998. There’s been since then lots of water under the bridge. Some rough, some calm and although I didn’t always realize it, it was always flowing in the same direction. Flowing towards a life of greater holiness, a life more in line with God’s plan for me.
I was raised in a home where speaking of God was sort of taboo. My mom had been a cradle Catholic but renounced her faith when she married my dad who was Protestant. We didn’t go to church but my dad’s mom held some kind of religious service in Italian in her basement to which she was the “pastor”.
We never really spoke about religion. My mom knew all her Catholic prayers but her faith was weak. Before long my grand mother had convinced her that her Catholic religion was wrong. Sadly in many ways we were raised anti-Catholic. I never really thought about it. There were Protestants & there were Catholics & the Catholics were wrong. Pure & simple!
We didn’t know anyone that went to church – not even any of my mom’s 8 siblings! However, all my cousins were raised in the faith and had First Communions & Confirmations. I didn’t have a clue what that was and I don’t remember that any of my cousins were really able to explain it to me. But I remember feeling that I was missing out on this big time! They got to wear a mini wedding dress with white gloves.. not to mention the party & the gifts!
When I met Scott, he made it clear to me that he didn’t care which religion we belonged to – the important thing was that we would worship together. I thought that was alright – so long as it wasn’t Catholic!
While in Florida we attended a non-denominational church that I loved! However when we moved to Texas late 1998, we could not find a church that we felt comfortable in. We “church hopped” for over a year! Then one Sunday Scott suggested that we attend Mass at the local Catholic church which was less than 5 minutes away.
I think it’s important to note that although Scott wasn’t a confirmed Catholic, he’d been “practicing” the faith for over 20 years. He realized after spending a year away from the Church that he really missed Mass! My heart wasn’t into it but I love my husband dearly so I gave in! Okay, lets give it a shot!
We made our way to Saint Anthony’s Church in Wylie, our home town. It was a beautiful new church. On it’s property stood the original wooden church, built back in 1916! We immediately felt compelled to enter… unbeknown to either of us, it was the year of the Great Jubilee – a Catholic event that happens only every 25 years!
…To start the celebration of the Jubilee year, the holy door in St. Peter’s Basilica is open with the words of the Holy Father taken from [Psalm 118:20] “This is the gate of the Lord”.This gate is a symbol of Jesus who says “I am the gate, whoever enters through me will be saved, he will go in and out and find pasture” [John 10:9].The holy door will be closed again at the end of the Jubilee year on 6 January 2001 on the Feast of the Epiphany.The meaning of the opening of this door is the invitation to every heart to answer Christ who is standing at the door knocking [Revelation 3:20].
To this day I can remember exactly how I felt as I walked through the front doors! It was like something warmed my chest & I felt heat radiate out of me! It almost felt like I was lifted a few inches off the floor! I immediately knew in my heart that I was home & this is where my faith journey was to begin…