Saturday, April 19, 2014

One Year Later, It's Finished - A Conversion Story

*Disclaimer before reading…it is very choppy. I started writing this right after conversion and finished it a year later!

A little more than a year ago, I was content at my Protestant church and attending my weekly Bible study with Chris and our friends. As the ‘worship’ music grew louder week by week, and I had commented on the connection card every week how loud it was, I became less comfortable with the way I was worshipping, and felt a void. I also felt that void in our Bible study. There was a church-wide study going on, instead of a group-specific study. They glued a disclaimer in the front of it, telling us that there are some parts they don’t agree with one hundred percent. I was confused and somewhat angry. Why is there a difference in doctrine between “Protestant Church A” and “Protestant Church B?” The gears in my head started turning…I had longed for tradition and reverence and I wasn’t feeling that with our Protestant church.

Backing up a bit, Chris had been interested in the Catholic Church, had a ton of books about Catholicism, conversion stories, and had been trying to get me to go to a Catholic church pretty much since we’d been married. I thought it was too weird and too structured, and that I wasn’t able to worship how I pleased. And the crossing one’s self, and the genuflecting, and the same prayers every week. How could this be counted as worship?

As I had discussed with Chris the issues I was having, he agreed, of course. He was probably like, “FINALLY!” Ha! He made a pile of books for me to read and we started a list of other churches to visit. My list had Protestant churches, and his did not. At the time, I didn’t realize that I didn’t want to be Protestant anymore. I was like, “Hey, let’s check out the church my parents were married in and I was baptized in! That would be so cool!” Chris said that he wanted to either be Catholic or Orthodox. “Okay, I’ll give them a shot, but I don’t want to go back to Holy Rosary because it’s way too blue!” I said.

We narrowed our church search to four churches: St. Patrick, St. Andrew, Holy Disciples, and All Saints. We had been to All Saints before for their Christmas Eve Mass. There were a few reasons we decided not to attend there. First, the altar is in the middle of the church. The pews are also really squished together, which makes it difficult for our toddlers to stand and walk around as they please. No one really talked to us, either. Holy Disciples was next, but their church is more of a large gathering space with chairs set up and the altar up front. St. Andrew was great (I threw up there, thanks to being pregnant with Nora at the time). We also didn’t really feel all that welcome, probably because we were giving off that Protestant vibe.

As we drove to St. Patrick, I had a feeling this one was it. I had seen the church before, and it is absolutely beautiful. Also, what Irish girl doesn’t love an Irish saint? We headed in and felt instantly welcomed. I was still uneasy attending a Mass because I couldn’t fully participate…I still didn’t know the order of the Mass (and couldn’t receive the Eucharist yet) but I still felt like this was the one God was calling us to. After Mass, a woman came up to us and complimented us on how well-behaved Hannah was, and said she hadn’t seen us before and welcomed us. Wow. That was the kicker!

We grabbed a parish bulletin and headed home. We pretty much emailed the RCIA instructor straight away about enrolling.
I had picked up a book called “Surprised By Truth,” which I’m sure many Catholics have read. Chris is friends with Paul Thigpen, whose story was in there, and his was the only one I read before deciding that yes, indeed, I wanted to become Catholic.

Fast forwarding to the beginning of RCIA. We weren’t new believers to Christianity, so a lot of the history we had already known.

Nora was born at the end of October.

We learned about the Mass and the Sacraments.

We had the Rite of Election, the Rite of Sending, and the Chrism Mass.

We had our first Reconciliation.

Holy Thursday Mass, Good Friday service. And then the Easter Vigil. Everyone cried.

Chris and I (Michael and Veronica) were Confirmed, and Hannah and Nora were baptized.

We received the Eucharist. We were now fully Catholic. And boy is it amazing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pocket Rosary or Chaplet Giveaway...NO JOKE!

I've decided to direct my uneasiness today by offering a giveaway! I couldn't decide on whether to give away a pocket rosary or one of my chaplets, so I'm leaving that choice up to the winner! (US residents only, and no previous winners will be eligible.)

You can tweet about the giveaway, follow me on Twitter (@kinyonallison), leave a comment below Which would you choose if you won? or like my Facebook page! Contest will run through today and I'll announce the winner tomorrow!

Here is a photo of the choices! (Matte emerald Czech beads, amethyst opal Czech beads, rose pink fire polished beads, dark garnet fire polished beads, blue turquoise Czech beads, and the St. Dymphna and St. Jude chaplets)

Now for the Rafflecopter! a Rafflecopter giveaway