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Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Protestant Pastor Comes Home

Tonight the 2nd annual Called to Lead conference began at Holy Name Church in Wayzata, MN.

I arrived early to avoid rush hour traffic and so had time to browse and spend time with Jesus in the adoration chapel.

While I wandered, a woman near me happened to mention to one of the vendors that she was a Pastor for a Protestant religion. I wandered away and then as I was praying in the chapel, the thought came to me that I should ask her what brought her here?

Well, shortly after I left the chapel, she directly crossed my path. I took the opportunity and verified what she had said- that she is a Pastor? She verified that she is an ordained minister for the United Methodist Church. I asked her what brought her to a Catholic Bible Conference?

She explained that she was raised Catholic and through all the tumult among those of her religion, she has found herself returning to Rome. She explained that her conference in her state voted to not support the marriage amendment, and that being a female pastor, people constantly assume that she is a lesbian and she is for gay marriage. She is sick of the fact that there is no substance in her religion, and she has recognized the truth of the Catholic faith.

We ended up sitting together this evening as I did not attend the conference with a group, nor did she. We entered the pew, but she did not genuflect, explaining to me that she was "not there yet". I had not questioned her; she brought this up on her own while I did genuflect. I simply told her I understood. Why would one genuflect if they do not believe in the True Presence?

She was not familar with the process around the Exposition and Benediction, so I acted as "tour guide" and gave a brief explanation as to what would happen. I explained that when Jesus entered, we would all kneel and then follow the directons of the presiding priest in prayer or adoration.

Something made me bend towards her and make a brief confession...I revealed that sometimes when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, I cannot stop the tears from flowing. I have no idea what made me bring this up, but she seemed to understand.

I had to leave after a short time of adoration in order to drive home...for morning comes early. When I left I said goodbye, and saw that she had been crying...and I know the reason why. I know why I had cried all those years at Mass and why sometimes I still do.

Because faith is not about the intellect, or politics, or anything else. It is a gift of God's grace, and even if we can't recognize Jesus with our eyes, our souls recognize Him and respond in with a prayer far deeper than words.

My friends, we have another Sister in Christ who is coming home. Please keep her in your prayers.

UPDATE God is good, my friends! Today at the conference I sat down on a bench to organize a few things, thinking to jot down a few notes surrounding my own personal impressions, when someone sat down nearby. I happened to glance up and saw my new friend, the converting pastor! We greeted each other and she wiped tears from her eyes, smiling. She had just come from the chapel, I gathered, and explained that she had gone to Mass this morning, went forward for a blessing but did not recieve communion. She revealed she was in tears and she realized that she needed to make this huge leap of faith...and come home. She's going to do it and she's asking for help.

She has spoken with Marcus Grodi and Jeff Cavins of the Coming Home Network because she has to quit her job. She wants to come home...but she has to tie up loose ends and if her local conference knew she had converted...they would fire her in a second, leaving her with nothing. She is scared, but she trusts in the Lord...let us all, then offer special prayers for her.

I really want to be sure you all understand how momentus this is...this is not just a person who is choosing to convert and is afraid to tell her family...this is a woman ordained in another religion, Pastor of her own church, a religious leader in her own right. She is leaving her "ordination", she is leaving her career, her lifestyle, all to come home to the Truth. She lives in a parsonage (rectory in Catholic parlance), and thus, she is losing her very roof...all to accept and follow Jesus.

She needs all the prayers she can get. Please, everyone, offer some special prayers for our sister in Christ. Maybe one day Marcus Grodi will feature her story on The Journey Home...but for now, let her remain the anonymous female pastor, finally coming home to Rome.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post.
I sometimes feel the tears are "washing away" our past sins. I will pray for the one more soul who's comming back to the sacraments.

Unknown said...

Me too, Adoro! The Gift of Tears.

Keep us posted on that conference. They have some dynamite speakers.

Anonymous said...

I am a man in his 50's, a cradle Catholic, educated by Jesuits in high school and college, with a graduate degree to boot. Only very recently have I finally understood that theology has no answers, that all it can do is enable us to think about the questions in a disciplined way. The answers do not come from the head, but the heart, they come only to those who have been graced with faith through no particular merit of their own but the extreme good fortune to have been called. That is why you cry. You are so lucky.

Anonymous said...

I am offering all my Rosarys this weekend for this woman! We reverts have to stick together but she has a lot more at stake than I did. Prayers going UP!

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

What an amazing story! How wonderful to be a part of such a big event. Keep us posted!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Praised Be Jesus Christ! Adoro, if you hear any more on this amazing woman, let us know.