I guess that my interest in the Catholic Church started when my son had to spend 3 months in Children's Hospital several years ago. The hospital was about 3 hours from my home and I stayed there with him so I had to be separated from my home church, and seeing as how the hospital was located in a bad part of town, you just did not get out and wonder around so I could not get out and find a Freewill Baptist church to go to.
My son liked to walk the halls of the hospital so we spent almost all our time up and down the halls. About a week after we got there we were on one of our usual walks when I came to a Catholic Priest who resided over the Hospital Chapel there. We got to talking and he invited me to come to Mass, well I told him I appreciated the invite but that I was a Freewill Baptist not a Catholic. He laughed and said I don't think that God will strike you dead for attending Mass, and he also said I have never been to heaven but I don't think that there is a gate for Baptists, and a gate for Catholics, I laughed and said ok why not I can try anything once.
That next evening my son and I went to the Chapel for Mass, I must admit that I was nervous but excited at the same time. I don't know why I thought that it was going to be so different from the Baptist church, when in essence it wasn't. The message that the Father gave was a very good one, and just watching the people partake in the Eucharist was awesome. After Mass I thanked the Father for inviting us and I ask him if it would be ok if we came back and he was like sure, we shook his hand and then we went back to my son's room.
All that night and the next day, I was constantly thinking about the Catholic church so I decided to go to the hospital library and do some research about the church on the Internet. The more I studied the more fascinated I was by it and the more I wanted to learn about it. We would attend Mass each and everyday and in the meantime the Father and I would have long discussion's about the church, he answered alot of my questions and gave me alot of literature on the church which I would take be to my son's room and soak in.
Well after 3 months my son was able to come home from the hospital, and I found myself having to go back to my little Freewill Baptist church. Every time I would go I longed to be able to go to a Catholic church, but was not aware that there was a Catholic church close enough to me to be able to attend. I called the Father at the hospital and told him my deli ma and he researched and discovered that there was a Catholic church within 20 minutes of where I lived, and when he gave me the news I was so excited. I got in touch with the Parish Priest and he invited me to come to Mass there which I was more than happy to do.
The first time I entered the church I felt like I was walking into home, it just felt so right, I was so very happy yet sad at the same time at the thought of hurting all the people that I loved at my home church. At the same time the church I had went to all my life was in the middle of transitioning from a Freewill Baptist church to a regular Baptist church, they had dropped out of the conference that they had belonged to for years and decided to go about things on their own. I did not agree with this, I thought that if they did not have someone over them that things would start to turn ugly, and to a degree it did at least that is what it seemed like to me. Even though I was still attending my local church I would also visit the Catholic church very regularly, and my desire was to be able to join the Catholic church, and seeing as how I live in a very anti-Catholic area I was I guess afraid to take the leap, I was afraid of all the talk that I know would start if I left the Baptist church, so I tried for several months to ignore my desire to attend the Catholic church and I stayed in my Baptist church miserable. I loved everyone there, I considered them my family but I still felt so out of place and as I said I just could not come to except them changing as much as they were.
After much prayer I decided to go to the proper people in the church and tell them how I felt about some of the things that were going on in the church thinking that maybe they were not aware of what was going on, but my comments were not taken well, I instead made the very people that I loved very angry at me, so much so that I felt that it was time for me to leave and so I did. My heart was broken because I in essence felt like an orphan, I had no church to call home, and the very people that had once thrown their arms around me and told me that they loved me now ignored me. I got very angry and hurt and so for awhile I just quit, I did not attend any church, I was afraid that they were all going to be like the one I had just left and I could not take getting close to people and having my heart broken again. But our wonderful God had different things in mind for me, He helped me to see that He really wanted me in the Catholic church so I went back on my knee's explaining to the Priest what had happened and he welcomed me back to the Catholic church with open arms, I was finally home and I will never leave it again.
The Catholic church is a wonderful church, full of love and devotion to our loving Jesus and to our Wonderful Mother Mary. And I feel that in the area I live in especially it is given a bad name because rather than people checking out the church for themselves they rely on the words of other's who themselves have never checked the church out or someone who has a grudge against the church and that is so sad. I have often heard our Parish Priest talk about other denominations, and rather than talking bad about them, he always refers to them as our Christian brothers and sisters, how sad I find it that other's can't share his Christian love.
I truly believe that God means for me to be in the Catholic church and I will do all I can for it. It is a church of love, support and encouragement and it is a place that I am proud to call home.