To our new brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith: We’re all family here
Cause of Our Joy l Katie Faley
I was raised in a family where home meant everyone was welcome. The door of my childhood home was always revolving with family and friends and friends that felt like family. Home is a place, a feeling, a family, and an entire existence. Home is everything.
For me, the Catholic Church has always been home. And one of the best parts about home is that it’s always growing. Somehow it expands to fit every single person that wants to come in the door.
THE JOY OF HOME
I was looking at pictures from the Easter Vigil a few weeks ago, and I noticed something about all of the new Catholics. Their faces were all so joyful.
It’s kind of a mix of a lot of looks, actually. Some faces were bewildered at the holy water just having been poured over their heads. Some faces were immediately looking at their loved ones and sponsors. But all of them looked joyful.
It’s true of the grade school students that received sacraments at the vigil, too. They look so ready and confident to stand up on that stool, make themselves tall enough, and lean over the baptismal font for the sacrament. And that first picture snapped after the priest has poured the holy water over their heads — full of brightness. It’s like a light was turned on in their face.
Studying these pictures and the faces of these new members of the family got me thinking.
Converting to Catholicism is so cool.
I was born and raised Catholic. I’m incredibly grateful to my parents for raising me in the faith. They gave me more than just a lifestyle; they gave me a foundation for eternity. And that’s a gift. As an adult, I’ve chosen to remain Catholic, and I continue to choose it every day.
But, something about an adult, teenager, or even a child who wasn’t raised Catholic wanting to learn more about the church AND choosing to be Catholic gives me so much hope. They have such a gift, too. They freely chose the foundation of faith. They used their conscience and critical thinking skills, and they chose it all on their own.
Of course, I’ve heard so many who were received into the church who were led to the faith by the influential people in their lives. And that’s the beauty of the church being home. There are always people there to help and guide us, even before we’re officially part of the family. The Olive Garden slogan could easily be ours as a Church, “We’re all family here.”
ONE BODY, MANY PARTS
I love and appreciate that infant baptism is a part of our faith. It is so meaningful that parents want to welcome their children not only into their family, but also into God’s family. They stand up and promise to raise that child to know and love God.
Something about an adult, teenager, or even a child who wasn’t raised Catholic wanting to learn more about the church AND choosing to be Catholic gives me so much hope. They have such a gift, too. They freely chose the foundation of faith.
It gives me hope in the future of the church.
The church is full of converts and reverts: St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Edith Stein, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, just to name a few. There’s a lot of holiness that has come out of conversion stories.
Like St. Paul writes in First Corinthians, “As a body is one though it has many parts . . . if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.”
So, to anyone who just joined the fullness of the church this year, know that I’m particularly joyful you’re here.
I’d love to know all of the conversion stories. Feel free to email me about your conversion or reversion story if you feel like sharing with me, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KATIE FALEY is a member of St. Mark Parish in Peoria and a writing coordinator for OSF HealthCare. She has a master’s degree in theology and theological studies from the University of Notre Dame. Write to her at email@example.com.