I want to say before I start my column that I mean no disrespect to anyone, or any church denomination, I am writing about my personal experience here. There are many great churches out there, and I have had the pleasure of visiting several different denominations before I came home to the Catholic Church. But after experiencing the true teachings of the Catholic Church I can see where many protestant denominations are wrong, and the sad thing is that they are not aware that the messages that they are preaching are filled with half truths and flat out lies.
As you can guess from the title, I am the only Catholic in a large area of Protestants, and this is a point that really stands out. You walk into one of their homes and you will see a King James Version Bible sitting on the coffee table, and maybe a picture of Jesus or a Cross on the wall. But if you step into my home you will see a Crucifix in every room, a statue of the Blessed Mother, pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and several pictures of different Saints hanging on the wall. You will also see a set of Rosary beads placed in every room of the house, and a Catholic Catechism laying next to my Bible on the Coffee table, oh yes and we can’t forget the bottles of Holy Water stationed at different parts of the house as well. If you look at me, you will see at all times that I am wearing a brown Scapular, a Miraculous Medal and a Crucifix around my neck, and you can be sure that I don’t leave my house without a set of Rosary beads and a bottle of Holy Water in my purse. These are all things that bring me comfort, they distinguish me as a Catholic Christian, and I am proud to display them, but because I choose to do so, I am what you would call the black sheep of the area.
I was raised a Freewill Baptist, was married in the Baptist church, and raised my kids for the first part of their lives in the Baptist church, it was all that I knew. As I grew older different events started happening in my life that would lead me away from the Baptist church and home to the Catholic Church. And it would be these same events that would start the process of turning people that I care about deeply against me. My extended family on both my mother and fathers side were raised in the Baptist faith, and my husband’s family was raised Pentecostal, and this was something and still is something that they are very passionate about, so for me to go and join the Catholic Church well in their eyes that was like the unpardonable sin. I have friends and family to this day that will tell me that they love me, and that they hope and pray that I will come to my senses and rejoin the Protestant faith before it is too late for me. I kindly nod my head and say thank you, we can all use prayers, and let it go at that, but you know it is very hard on me at times.
A while back all of the tension started getting to me so bad, that I tried to give in to it and I told my husband that I would just return to the Baptist Church that I had grown up in so that everyone would be happy and stop using me as their discussion piece. I contacted the Pastor of the church, a man that I have known all my life and told him that I would like to return to the church and he said something to me that shocked me so much that I did not know what to think or say at the time. He told me that before I could come back to the church and take membership I would have to stand before the deacons and trustees and he himself and ask them if it was ok, and see if they thought that since I was a member of the Catholic Church that I could be a Baptist again. At first after the shock wore off I became very angry, but then as I prayed about it, I started to come to the realization that maybe God was using this to show me that I am were I truly need to be, where He wanted me to be, and to try and leave the church would be going against His will for me. I contacted the minister back and said that I had changed my mind and that I was no longer interested in returning and went back to the Catholic Church with a renewed since of where I was meant to be.
It is still very hard on me at times, especially when I will see a member of my former church in the super market, or walking down the side walk and rather than passing me, they will turn and walk the other way to avoid me. These same people that once hugged my neck will now pretend like I no longer exist, and it is those times that I begin to feel that loneliness again, but it is also during those times that I fall on my knees and pray and ask God to help me through this hard time and make me stronger so that I can deal with situations like this, and you know He has never let me down. Being the only Catholic living around allot of Protestants can be hard at times to bare, but you know it is during times like that I am so thankful that I am in the Catholic Church, because you never have to worry about the Catholic Church turning its back on you, it will always be there for whatever you need, it is the Catholic Church that helps me not to mind being the only Catholic Among Protestants.
Copyright 2011 Anne Chester