Long Time Away

Dear Grace,
I have not been to church in about ten years and feel that I just do not fit in, but I do so miss singing, praying and worshiping with fellow Christians. I have always wanted to learn about Catholicism. I am a real eyesore to look at and don’t want to be stared at, but I am wondering if I could find acceptance in the Catholic Church and a place to hear God’s word and teaching. Can you offer any advice or direction?

What a good way to begin the New Year! I am glad that you have written, because I am sure there are others who may wonder the same thing — they want to inquire and do not know how. Without a doubt, you would be accepted and welcomed in the Catholic Church. This is why she is called “Catholic” — the word means universal. She is for everybody! I can assure you that it will not matter what you look like or if you are wearing a tie, coat or jacket. What is most important is what is in your heart.

In the Catholic Church, there is a process known as RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), which is specifically for persons such as you, who are inquiring about entrance into the Church. You would receive instruction in the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church as well as everything it would take to become a full member.

The best thing to do first is to make an appointment to speak to the pastor of the Catholic parish closest to you. And please do not feel badly that you have not been in church in a while. Today is what counts! The priest will be so happy that you have a desire to worship God in His house and with all your other brothers and sisters in Christ. The words on his lips or in his heart will be, “Welcome home.” I will be praying for you and hope that you will write again and tell me how it all worked out.

© Copyright 2004 Grace D. MacKinnon

For permission to reproduce this article, contact Grace MacKinnon at grace@deargrace.com.

Grace MacKinnon is a syndicated columnist and public speaker on Catholic doctrine and teaches in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Her new book Dear Grace: Answers to Questions About the Faith is available in our online store. If you enjoy reading Grace’s column, you will certainly want to have this book, which is a collection of the first two years of “Dear Grace.” Faith questions may be sent to Grace via e-mail at: grace@deargrace.com. You may also visit her online at www.DearGrace.com.

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