Right after Easter in 1995 I found myself sitting in my Disciples of Christ church wondering what was missing from my life. I was active there, sang in the choir and attended Bible study for years. My mother had grown up in the same church, as did my mother-in-law. My parents were married in the chapel because the ‘new’ sanctuary was under construction in September 1948. Brad has fond memories of growing up in that church and has been an elder for many years now.
If the doors were open I was usually there, plenty to do and I loved it. So I was puzzled by the feeling that something was missing and I prayed about it a lot. The very next Sunday I sat in my usual spot, praying for God’s guidance and asking Him what He wanted me to do. I felt compelled to say “If this isn’t where you want me to be just tell me. I’ll do whatever you want, go wherever you want.”
Beginning on the drive home from church that Sunday and continuing daily for the next three weeks I heard, saw or read something about the Catholic Church at least three times a day. By the end of three weeks it wasn’t amusing. I was beginning to be concerned. Did God really want me to become a Catholic? There were no Catholics in my family. I had no idea what to do. I prayed about it and told God I didn’t know what to do or where to start. He spoke to me just as clear as day. I heard the words “Go to Mass” as if someone were sitting beside me speaking to me in person.
So, I went to Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church in my hometown. It was very interesting. Then I remembered there was a Catholic Church in the same town where Brad worked and drove past it the next time I picked up his paycheck. It’s only a couple of blocks south of the Police Department.
It was 8:45 am on a Wednesday and the front doors were wide open. The sign stated that Mass on Wednesdays was at 9:00 am. I parked across the street and walked in the church, noticing that everyone was seated in the back four rows of pews and sat down at the end of one pew. I knelt down and prayed for several moments. Just as I sat back in the pew I heard the sound of quiet footsteps. A lot of footsteps. I turned my head and saw two rows of uniformed students from the parish school filling down the center aisle and taking their places with their teachers.
It was the Children’s Mass. They did the readings and led us in prayer. The priest stepped down from the altar and spoke directly to the children, and us adults. It was a memorable experience. After everyone had left following Mass I sat where I was just looking around at the beautiful church, St. Mary’s, much smaller than St. Patrick Catholic Church in my town.
I spied a statue of The Virgin Mary with her hands outstretched standing near the door to the confessional. All of a sudden it hit me. Mary. The Mother of God. She was what was missing in my spiritual life. I knew I was where I belonged and walked over to the parish center right then and there to speak to the priest about becoming Catholic.
A year later I was Confirmed at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and took the Confirmation name of Mary Grace for Our Lady of Grace. That was twenty-five years ago. I attend St. Patrick Catholic Church now because it’s closer and since Brad retired I don’t go to the neighboring town much anymore. I can’t imagine not being Catholic. It’s been such a blessing to me over the years.
Whenever I am stressed or suffering from pain I always ask Our Lady to pray for me. I pray to Our Lord every day and thank Him for calling me to His church and giving me the strength to say “Yes” when He called me.