As many of you may know I was raised, married and raised my kids the first part of their lives in the Freewill Baptist Church. In 2006 after a very long journey I came home to the Catholic Church. I will write about my conversion story in another article.
In my joining the Catholic Church I really offended allot of my family members who were all Protestants, especially my dad. He would call me often and try and talk me into coming back to the Baptist Church, and each time I would politely say I appreciated his concern but I was happy where I was. He would tell me that because I was Catholic I was going to Hell, that the Catholic Church was the Whore of Babylon that is spoken about in Revelations, and that the Pope was the anti-Christ. These are all basic teaching in the Baptist Church, and him being a devout Baptist believed them whole heartily.
Over time he seemed to back off a little instead of it being an almost everyday thing, he died down to maybe once a week, then every two or three weeks, but I always knew how he felt and always tried to be prepared for whatever negative comment about the Catholic Church that I knew at some point would come.
Ever so often I would invite him and my stepmother to come and attend Mass with me, and my stepmother did and liked it allot, she has a very open mind and even though she is a devout Baptist she does not hold negative thoughts about different denominations. My dad on the other hand would always have a reason not attend, there was something special going on at his church, he had other plans etc... but it never stopped me from inviting him on occasion.
I would pray a Rosary for him daily, and I would ask the Lord to please open his eyes to the truth about the Catholic Church, and I knew that in God's good time if it was His will, my prayer would be answered. I had been talking to my step mom and I ask her if she might help me to convince my dad to come to Christmas Eve Mass with me, she said she would talk to him about it, and I just played it off, thinking oh well he will just come up with another excuse, and I let it go at that. A couple days later my phone rang and it was her, and she told me that she had convinced my dad to attend Mass with us on Christmas Eve. She told him that it was only fair since I had on occasion went to Church with him. She told him that he needed to go and see for himself what went on, not just to depend on what other people told him, and so I was getting a Christmas miracle, my entire family, my parents, my husband and both of my kids were attending Christmas Eve Mass with me for the first time ever.
I don't know why, but over the next couple of days leading up to the Mass I was so nervous, I knew how the Mass was, and I knew how much I loved it, I was just praying so hard that God would open my dad's eyes to the truth and he could see for himself the love, and passion that Catholics have for the Lord. I wanted him to see the love that our Priest had for his congregation, the love that he had for the Lord, I wanted him to see the wonderful family that I had there in my fellow Church members. I just knew if he would go in there with an open mind he would be wowed by what he saw.
Finally it was time to head to Mass, as we walked in the Children were just starting their little play, I could not help but keep looking toward my dad and to see him smiling at the wonderful job the kids were doing just melted my heart. As the Mass began and the songs started,and the prayers were said, and the message was given I watched as my dad tried to absorb everything that he could, part of me thought that maybe he was trying to catch one of the things that he was taught about it in the Baptist Church, but as time went on, you could watch him relax and really get into the service.
After service was over, and we had walked out to the car, I could no longer stand it, I said dad so what did you think? And he looked at me and smiled and said ever so simply, "that wasn't bad after all", and for him that was saying so much. I ask him if he would ever consider coming back with me to visit again, and he said why sure I did not see anything bad in there. I then told him, well the next time that you hear someone say something bad about the Church, could you maybe tell them that you have been there, and seen it for yourself, and maybe before they go and believe everything that they are taught that they should go and check it out for themselves? He did not say anything but gave me that reassuring smile that I am so use to seeing when he knows the truth about something.