As with any monumental event in one’s life, the day Kennedy was shot or 9/11, I remember the exact moment I decided to become Catholic. I remember it so clear, like it happened just yesterday.
I was madly in love with a boy and he was madly in love with me. We had never been on a date, nor had we even kissed but we adored each other. He told me he wanted to marry me. I couldn’t believe it! My heart swelled and happiness filled every inch of my being. I was just about to tell him yes when he said, “But…” My heart sank. What kind of person would put a “but” after a marriage proposal? Then he continued, “But, I can’t marry you unless you become Catholic.” Oh is that all! That can be easily fixed and besides we had time on our side; after all we were only in the third grade.
My next step was clear. I did what any respectable girl in the third grade would do; I shoved him away and ran home to tell my Mom. By the time I reached home, I had it all worked out. I knew I had to wait for a while to get married but I could, at the very least, get started on the whole Catholic thing. I couldn’t wait to tell my Mom the glorious news! Of course my Mom’s reaction was less than I expected. An argument ensued, I mouthed off to my Mom and I was sent to my bedroom. I was crushed! As I went storming off to my bedroom I declared “When I become eighteen, I will become Catholic, I will get married and there is nothing you can do about it!” for which my Mom replied “OK Honey, you do that.”
I didn’t become Catholic at the age of eighteen (nor did I marry). Decades later, I started attending Mass, praying and discerning whether or not I would attend the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) class. One day I was in the kitchen doing the dishes when the phone rang, it was my Mom. She started the conversation with “Guess what?” She proceeded to tell me that she, my brother and my brother’s family have decided to attend RCIA classes. My response was a joyful “Sign me up!” We had a wonderful conversation about faith and conversion. Before we hung up, I had to ask, “Do you remember that time in 3rd grade?”