As Catholics, we have a tendency to refrain from sharing about our personalrelationship with God. However, this is something we feel needs to change! Webelieve sharing our faith with others and being witnesses to how God has workedin our lives, can only help to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ!
In order to help facilitate this sharing, we will be featuring conversion stories and personal testimonies about how God has impacted the lives of our parishioners.
About a year and a half ago I was having a conversation with my brother-in-law, who had left the Catholic Church more than thirty years ago, about our family's involvement at our parish. I told of our boys serving at the altar and my wife and I being ushers and Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist.
It was at this point that he asked, "Do you really believe in transubstantiation?"
I paused, shook my head, and sighed, "I don't know. But what I do know is that when I hold up the Host and announce 'The Body of Christ' I can see the look of faith in the eyes of those who do believe, and it is POWERFUL!" I then said, almost under my breath, "I wish that I had that Faith." Little did I know that this would be one of those prayers that God actually does answer.
Over the next couple of months my wife, my kids, and I began to feel a heavy feeling of discontent with the church. We couldn't put our finger on why, so we blamed our pastor, our bishop, the Pope and the people that we served with. We were certain that it couldn't have been us. After about a month of these dark feelings, we all decided that we needed a break from the Catholic Church, so we started attending a Lutheran church.
At first we felt right at home. The service was very similar to a Mass, the pastor gave great sermons, the communion bread looked and tasted the same and so did the wine. After a couple of months of getting to know us, the pastor asked my teenage boys to usher and my wife and I to serve as communion assistants. That was when my wife and I began to witness a disturbing trend. When we held up the bread and declared, "The Body of Christ" there was no look of wonder and amazement, no "amen," no crossing of oneself or pause to reflect. The congregants would grab the wafer out of our hand, say "thank you", and rush back to their seat. I began to realize that, though we were praying together as a family and reading scripture together after dinner most every night, something was missing.
Some time after, a friend of the family had been called home to be with the Lord. We attended the funeral Mass, and when it came time to receive communion, though I knew that I shouldn't because I had left the Church, I found myself being lifted from my knees and walking up to receive. My family followed. Upon receiving communion an amazing feeling of peace and love came over me. It was as if Life was breathed into my heart. On our ride home my wife and kids all recounted the same feeling.
Several weeks later we took our kids back to our home town of Rochester N.Y. to show them "The Old Country." While there I took them to Mass at the old Saint Michael's Cathedral. It is a huge old gothic church built in the 1870s. The Mass that we attended was in Spanish, and though we speak very little Spanish it didn't matter; it was The Mass. We knew when to stand, we knew when to kneel. As we read the prayers in Spanish from the missal we knew exactly what we were reciting, and when it came time for communion, once again the Spirit came upon us.
After Mass I engaged in conversation with a few of the parishioners outside of the church. I told them of the journey that we had been on over the past year. One of the men pointed to the churchbuilding and said to me "Look at these stones, all cut by hand and carried up scaffolding by hand to build this church. Consider the beautiful artwork within; statues carved by hand and beautiful paintings on the walls and ceiling. These are not gifts to the people from the church. These are gifts to the church from the people." He continued, "You do not see such things in the protestant churches. The reason is this; when we take the Eucharist, Jesus becomes a part of us. His great love that caused Him to sacrifice all for us makes us want to sacrifice all for Him. All the buildings and riches of the Catholic Church represent the sacrifices of the faithful throughout the centuries. These sacrifices insure that the gates of Hell will not prevail against Christ's Church on Earth."
Two days later we were in Manhattan where we visited Saint Patrick's Cathedral. As we made our way up to the Altar we came to the area of Adoration. Upon confronting the Holy Eucharist we all fell to our knees. I said out loud what we all felt in our spirits. "It's time to go Home."
Now if asked if I really believe in transubstantiation, without hesitation I would answer that I don't just believe that it is real — I KNOW that it is real!BACK TO LIST