Being raised Catholic, I remember my CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) days. My mom would pick us up religiously (pun intended) every Wednesday for religious instruction. We would be dropped off and for an entire hour we were immersed in religious studies in preparation for communion, then finally confirmation. I remember my mother saying, “When you get married you can have a big elaborate wedding because you’re a part of the church”. I really felt a profound love for church and after all of those classes I continued attending. Church was a safe haven for me.
I enjoyed the way church made me feel. I can’t describe it but I felt clean after leaving and I felt as though I was protected. Attending Saturday evening mass with my mother was something that I looked forward to. Everyone knew us as the mother and daughter who sat at the first pew. I recall observing the lecturer and saying, “I can do that better than him with feeling and expression” because I just loved reading the bible and the stories that were told. Deep down I have always been a storyteller myself. Church allowed my stories to brew inside of me and gave me a sense of inspiration.
Working up the courage one day I approached the lecturer and the father and asked if they were looking for someone else to lecture on the weekends so that people can be introduced to other voices. They wanted to hear me speak and read for them several times and finally gave me the chance. I loved being on the podium and reading the word. At that time my dad had become very ill with his battle with cancer and I still felt compelled to read although I was questioning my faith. I had never questioned my faith but this time I did because I wondered why it had to be by my dad, I was angry! Not knowing at the time that he was needed desperately somewhere else. Church became hypocritical for me for how could this happen to my dad?
A few days before my dad passed I remember it was my turn to lecture and I wasn’t feeling up to it. I had received so many beautiful comments from the elderly on my articulation, and how they loved the way they could understand me and feel the word. It was inspiring and I enjoyed doing it. That day it wasn’t in me and when I went to speak nothing came out. Tears began to stream down my face and I walked off. It hurt that my dad was suffering and I believed in God but he let me down. Church became my enemy.
As the years went by I lost hope. I never returned to church like I did back then. The death of my dad has led me to stop going to church. I have since moved from my parish and never went back. There has never been a parish quite like that one. I’ve been to church about five times since 1999 including the baptism of my oldest son. My youngest son isn’t baptized. I have to come to terms with my spirituality and know that someone is in charge of those beautiful sunsets and sunrises but have not forgiven for having my dad taken away from me. Not sure if this all makes sense but I went from a person who loved and believed in church and God to losing hope. Someday I will go back…hopefully and when I do I hope to attend with my entire family. As Christians around the world attended mass on Easter Sunday I spent the day with my family but I always maintain those memories of church with me.
Care to share: How do you feel about attending church? Has your faith ever been questioned?