You asked what caused me to leave the Church and how I came back. That’s a good question. I left for several reasons. One, because many of my friends, although nice people, had also drifted away. The reason for some of us drifting away, I believe, is that during the seventies, there was much confusion and dissent coming from the Church itself. For example, one of the nuns whom we loved at Ursuline quit the order to get married. That was a shock. Another nun told us that we didn’t have to read the Bible because it was written by a bunch of men and wasn’t the final authority. That was confusing. In Religion class, we spent a long time listening to the album, Jesus Christ Superstar, instead of learning our faith. We even had a class on methods of birth control. Priests didn’t wear their collars, felt banners were hung on the altar…However, there was also much good there, which is inherent to our faith and cannot be hidden. There was an atmosphere of peace and forgiveness, which none of us ever forgot. Most of my friends eventually made it back into the Church, especially when they married and had children. I think things improved in the 80’s and 90’s, because I had a friend who graduated from Ursuline 13 years after I did, and she said that they had returned to more dignified ways. She was devout, and never did leave the church.
But the seventies were just a confusing time, what with sorting out Vatican II. I remember kneeling at the altar to receive communion on the tongue with my grandmother, and then things changed and we all stood up. The songs changed too, and not for the better. My parents never went to church, for a variety of reasons. My mother had decided to become an alcoholic/agnostic, and my Dad just didn’t go, because they were using birth control and couldn’t go to communion. At college (LSU), church was very “uncool”, and I felt that I’d never fit in, so I tried to fit in by doing what other people did. I made alot of mistakes. I thank God that I never had an abortion. Some of my friends did, and they are in such pain to this day.
I really came back when I had a baby. That opened my eyes to Jesus, because he came into the world as a baby too. My husband was not Christian (we are not married now), but I felt strongly drawn to go back. She was baptized and has received all of the sacraments, although he didn’t approve at first. Also, I had the memory of my Grandmother, who had been Christ on earth to me. I had read C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books as a child, and the allegories stayed with me all my life and eventually led me home. Finally, I went to St. Richard’s Church in Jackson, MS, where I live now, and went to confession. I met Monsignor Noel Foley, now deceased, who welcomed me back with open arms, and was an icon of Christ to me. All of the priests at St. Richard, are anointed in an extraordinary way. The presence of the Holy Spirit can be felt palpably when one walks into the church. There is also a retired Irish priest named Monsignor Glynn, who says mass every day at 6:30 am, visits the parents who drop the kids off at school, and sees the kids in the cafeteria and brings them little prayer cards. My daughter, age 9, adores him and sees him as a living saint, which he is. I am tremendously grateful to our priests, and I know how hard it is for them in these troubling times. I was even a bit suspicious of Msgr. Glynn at first, until I began to know him. These are priests that you can go to with anything. I am so sorry that they have suffered insults and abuse because of the horrible actions of a few. I also believe that many of the child and adolescent abuse problems were spawned in the 70’s, because of dissenting teaching and culture in the seminaries. Anyway, I am back now, and very proud and grateful for my faith. The difficulties that the church has gone through have only made me more determined to uphold our 2000 year old faith.
Sincerely, G ” title=”Smile” />