Okay, well technically it wasn’t my first, as my Grandfather’s funeral back in February would be my first visit during a Protestant service. Last night though, was my first visit to an actual protestant worship service. Now why would I, a Catholic seminarian make a visit to a protestant worship service. Surely I am not considering converting.
No, I am not considering converting, but I am very happy that I was able to attend. One of our class projects for Dr. Kevin Schemenauer’s Theology 105 Class at Marian is to visit another faith’s worship service, interview the pastor (or equivalent), and write a paper on the experience. Because I was back home I chose to go to a church, where I knew a lot of the people and had heard about it through them.
So I researched the church a little online, texted one of my old teacher’s and now great friend to find out about times and such, called the pastor (who I have known from school events) and headed 1.2 miles down the road from my house to Life in Christ Church. Upon arrival at the church I was greeted instantly by a greeter at the door, welcomed inside, given a welcome mug, introduced to an usher who directed me to some old classmates, offered coffee and water, and then ushered to my seat up at the front next to the pastor, his wife and a few of the music leadership.
Coming to the church as being a somewhat well-known Catholic in the local school, now a seminarian and seeing friends and people who I had met after giving my baccalaureate address at graduation last year, I am pretty sure that some were wondering as to why I was there. Not to worry though if anyone asked I did share with them, the purpose of my visit.
Needless to say I had a very enjoyable experience during the service, I was grateful to all who made my visit comfortable and extremely thankful to Pastor Chris for talking with me and answering my questions afterwards. Life in Christ has a beautiful comfortable setting and is doing great things in our community, including feeding many elderly who can’t afford food and bringing souls to Christ. Many for the first time.
This brings me to my next point, while as a Catholic some of the aspects of the worship service at Life in Christ might have not been my cup of tea (which I like Mint by the way…haha) but I could recognize the different aspects of how through the way they worship they were bringing souls to Christ. When I was talking to Pastor Chris after the service he made a comment that I hope I can paraphrase correctly, as it really sat with me. “We may not do things like everyone else, but that’s okay because we are all on the same team. We are all trying to bring our faith to others.”
The importance of Ecumenism in today’s culture is one that is highly prominent. As a Seminarian who watched and looked up to Pope- Emeritus Benedict I saw the ways in which he brought souls home to Christ and tried to bring many back into the folds of Christ’s church. I was able to witness this especially by attending an Anglican-use Mass a while back. In today’s culture so many are thirsting for God. So many of our youth are looking for that something, or someone to whom they could receive love from. In visiting Life in Christ Church I witnessed a way in which Christ was calling that group of people to himself. Through visiting Life in Christ I witnessed many who were searching for that someone whom they could receive love from.
It is time for Catholics everywhere to stand-up and embrace some of the ways in which other faith’s are bringing souls to their church. I hope that through Pope Francis many will embrace the call to spread the Gospel of God and that Francis will continue the mission of Benedict to reconcile all to Christ and bring them home to the church that Christ founded.
As Maundy Thursday is the day of the birth of the priesthood and the Eucharist, let us all give thanks to the many brothers and sisters of Christ who though they are separated by faith now, we pray that in time all will come home to the church founded by Christ 2000 years ago. I give thanks for all who made my first “visit” to a protestant church an enjoyable experience and urge them and all to continue bringing soul to Christ. I look forward to the future where God-willing if priesthood is my calling I can work with other ministers in the area in bringing more souls to Christ and calling all home.
I give thanks for my parent’s and family’s faith which they passed onto me. I am so thankful for the Eucharist in my life and for being able to receive Christ, body, blood, soul and, divinity into my body at each Mass. Have a blessed Maundy Thursday everyone and don’t forget to go to Mass tonight!
And once again thank-you all at Life in Christ and to Pastor Chris for assisting me and welcoming me into your community for the night. Keep up the great work!
-In His Mercy,