Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Sacraments

All of the posts under the "Sacraments" category.

My Conversion Story

For the sake of the blog and the internet, I am going to keep this as the short version. My conversion story is incredibly long (I’ve told the whole story in about an hour and a half), so I will not bore you with all of the details.

Growing up, I didn’t really practice a faith. My parents were of two different faiths (mom grew up Methodist, dad grew up Jewish), and so they never really raised me anything. Luckily for me though, they did teach me morals while I was growing up. They did teach me to basically follow the Ten Commandments.

When you are a little kid and you celebrate both Christmas and Chanukkah and then Easter and Passover, it is super cool. You are unique because you get to see two sides. Now, I never went to church growing up, in fact, I think the only time I ever stepped in one was when I went to an aunt’s wedding, but, I was about 3 or 4, so I don’t really remember it.

Through most of my life as a kid and teen, I didn’t really think I needed to be in worship of God. I believed in Him of course, but I had to fill in some of my beliefs with what I saw on movies and TV. I got a lot of my beliefs from the Simpsons (I know, great catechesis there) and then a whole slew of different things.

As I got older and into middle school, I started listening to society and how society tells us we are to live within the world. Having no proper moral catechesis, I fell deeply into the trap.

When I got into high school, I really didn’t care much about religion. Though, I was a freshman when 9/11 occurred, and I became really intrigued about religion. In my social studies class, we began learning about various religions around the globe. I recall spending much time on Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, though I recall very little on Christianity and Judaism. For a little while, I thought Buddhism was the way to go. The idea of meditation really appealed to me. I told my mom one day while we were driving that I wanted to become a Buddhist. She laughed at me and told me that, no, I really didn’t, and then that was it, I no longer wanted to become one.

The following year as a sophomore, I had decided that I was going to start my own religion. It was going to include what I liked from Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. I still really liked the whole meditation aspect of Buddhism, so I was going to incorporate meditation in my Christian/Jewish religion. Ironically, looking back now, it is obvious that I was looking for Catholicism as we are fully Christian, with our roots in Judaism, and we meditate when we pray. Needless to say, I did not start my own religion (and thank God I didn’t).

As a Junior, we took a quiz in our government class to find out where on the political spectrum we fell. I scored 100% conservative. I realized that because I now stood out from my peers at school, that I needed to start having solid talking points in defending my beliefs. I started reading more, watching the news and just started getting good at debating. It was something I really enjoyed and was successful with it. I had many liberal friends that thought I would make a good president.

During this time I became more hostile towards Christianity and began publicly denouncing Jesus Christ as the Son of God. My logic was what I thought simple. God created Adam and Eve. We are all descendants of Adam and Eve. Thus, we are *all* sons and daughters of God. To some extent this is true. However, I now know that Jesus is THE Son of God, a direct line of God.

When I entered in my last year of high school, I met a girl in my class who I really liked, and began questioning what she would think of me. This led to deep reflection of what I personally believed and such. I wanted her to like me and I actually cared more about my actions.

I began talking with my friend Stephen on a very deep level about faith and religion. I knew he was Catholic and teased him all the time about it. Whoa, you’re Catholic? That must suck, you can’t do anything without it being a mortal sin! (How little did I really know). He took the teasing in stride, truly very humble and charitable. How many times do I get over somebody’s case when they tease me about being a Catholic?

One thing I used to do was go on websites that talked about haunted houses and ghost stories. It was very addictive and also very demonic. Looking into stories like this, you are inviting Satan and his minions to come and torment your life. Needless to say, this would be the turning point of my conversion process.

Stephen and I were talking on AOL Instant Messenger one day and he told me he was reading about Marian Apparitions.

“What’s a Marian Apparition?”

Stephen came up with a reply that really surprises me to how open he was to letting the Holy Spirit sink me in. “Its when the ghost of Jesus’ Mother comes and talks to people.” Hook, line and sinker. Yes, we both know that this is not truly correct of what a Marian Apparition is, however, Stephen took me where I was at, and gave me what I could understand. Conversion is after all, a step by step process.

We talked a lot about Mary and Stephen lent me a book on Our Lady of Fatima. He said it was a short read and it would take only a few hours to read it. I said okay. I also asked him some questions that I was personally struggling with. He pulled out the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read out exactly what the Church taught. I was floored. The answer I heard was the answer that I knew was right deep down into my heart. It rung of Truth. The Catholic Church was right about something. My thirst kept growing and I wanted to know more, but, I of course fought it, after all, who wants to be Catholic?

A few days went by and Stephen asked me if I had read the book. I told him no, I hadn’t had time. Another few days went by and again Stephen asked if I had read the book. Again, I told him no, but was planning on it. Finally a few days came by and sure enough, Stephen was wondering if I had read it. Again, the answer was no. He then asked me if I was going to read it and if I wasn’t then he would like it back because he wanted to read it again. I told him I’d read it and felt like a jerk for taking so long (since it was such a short book). That night would change everything I previously thought.

Our Lady of Fatima

I was just coming down with a cold, and when I was growing up, my colds lasted at least 2-3 weeks. I read the book in about 4 hours and was absolutely amazed by what I read. Never before had I heard that we could offer up our suffering for those in need and not only that, but we could pray for others. The common theme was, if we pray for others, we can prevent them from going to Hell. I found this very admirable. I can save others from Hell, just by praying for them.

The next morning, I awoke, and realized I had just had a miracle occur to me. My cold, which was only 2 or 3 days in, was completely gone. I gave Stephen a call and he agreed, that sounded like a miracle.

Over the next few months, Stephen and I talked more about the Catholic faith. Stephen was incredibly patient with me and slowly allowed me to realize how much Jesus and I shared in common. He would more or less show me a Bible verse here or there on what Jesus actually said. The twist though, was that I would always agree. Stephen knew me well enough that He pointed out what Jesus and I had in common, so that Jesus and I became close and had similarities. I even began praying at night before going to bed, something I had never done before.

Stephen took me to a Mass one Sunday. On the way to Mass, Stephen gave me a Rosary, informed me that it had been blessed by Pope John Paul II and gave me a card that taught me how to pray. The Mass was very interesting to say the least. I had absolutely zero clue as to what was going on, so I watched Stephen the entire time. I felt holier just by being there, like I was a part of something sacred.

At this parish, the priest was from Sri Lanka, and I couldn’t understand anything that he said. However, during the consecration at communion, I noticed his voice changed. Every single word became distinct and clear, and his voice to me had changed. It was like someone had taken over. Stephen informed me that I couldn’t receive communion because I wasn’t Catholic and that I could either approach Father for a blessing with my arms folded, or I could stay in the pew. I asked if he could stay with me, but, yeah, that wasn’t happening. I went up for a blessing and felt weight come off my shoulders.

For me, it was incredibly difficult to accept Jesus as my savior. I had absolutely no problem with Mary as she is my mother and loves me deeply. I had no problem saying the Our Father, the Hail Mary or the Glory Be. Even the Fatima prayer (O my Jesus…) was of no problem for me to say. What was difficult for me was saying the Creed. When I got to the part though, when we say “And I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord”, I immediately panicked. I didn’t know what to do.

The next day I talked to Stephen, and he basically told me that he couldn’t understand how after everything we had talked about thus far, that I couldn’t make this claim. I felt bad. I had no problem accepting God the Father or even God the Holy Spirit, but accepting Jesus as the 2nd part of the Trinity was difficult.

That night, I really wanted to pray the Rosary for Mary. But, perfectionist me wasn’t going to skip the Creed. It was either all or nothing. Before I prayed the Rosary, I knelt alongside my bed and said the following to the Father.

“God, I’m not sure if you are going to accept this or not, but, I’m going to say the following words. If you are not approving, I am really sorry and I will stop. However, if you want me to say the words, allow me to know.” I said the creed, specifically “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son…….Our……..Lord…….” and immediately, felt a peace come over me. So, I continued.

Stephen and I kept talking more and more about the faith. We went to another Mass where Father must have been in his late 20s or early 30s. He seemed pretty cool and made it feel that being Catholic was actually really cool. This inspired me more. I watched Stephen like a hawk to make sure I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Again, at the consecration, Father’s voice changed. Every word was distinct and clear and his voice was not his own. I knew something was happening when these words were spoken, but didn’t understand what.

After Mass, Stephen went to confession with Father and asked if I wanted to go. We had talked about confession before, and yes, I wanted to go! My sins get forgiven??? Heck yes! As a disclaimer, Stephen didn’t know that you had to be baptized in order to go, and I didn’t tell Father that I wasn’t a Catholic and I thought Stephen had told him. Needless to say, I made an unsacramental confession and Father went through all of the steps. I felt all of the weight come off of my shoulders. Even though my sins weren’t absolved due to the confession (because I wasn’t Catholic) I felt as if I had and knew that confession was real.

I went home and told my parents (remember, neither of them are Catholic) and needless to say, they flipped out. They couldn’t figure out why I would tell some strange man my sins. I was feeling such a high, that I just told them that he has the ability to forgive them, and I want that.

About a few weeks later, the travelling Fatima statue of Our Lady was in town. This is the statue that is said to have been seen crying during times. Stephen and I went and I was blown away. Her eyes were so life-like and I had never seen anything like this. How can a statue’s eyes look so real, that is, how does it look like she has tears in her eyes? It was incredible. Afterwards, Stephen introduced me to a family friend of his, his friend David’s mom. She welcomed me with such love and tenderness that I was amazed that a stranger could feel this way towards another stranger. I told her a bit of my story, up until that point, knowing that she wouldn’t judge me, but rather encourage me to seek deeper.

statue-of-our-lady-of-fatima

That summer, I met Stephen’s friend David and his parents (though I had already met his mom). We started a weekly catechetical class where we learned more about Catholicism. Each week I desired more and more to be Catholic. Eventually, my younger brother joined in and was learning more as well. David’s parents taught RCIA at the parish that I first went to Mass at, and since I was learning so much from them and they were able to answer all of my questions, I knew that that was where I wanted to go. I was concerned that some of my beliefs (though many were changing over to Catholic) would prevent me from being a Catholic in good-standing. They told me I should go through anyways and that I would learn more and my desire to want to be in accordance with the Church, would help me get there.

That Fall, I started up at Michigan State University studying Computer Science. Stephen had started up college out of state and David went back to college out of state. I was alone. Luckily, David’s older brother Jonathan was wrapping up his final year at Michigan State also studying Computer Science. We clicked really well as Jonathan was learning more about his faith and was able to teach me more.

I started up in RCIA and was learning a lot. I had several spiritual warfare episodes throughout my conversion, that I will tell only in person. Describing them would take too much time and this is a long story for a blog.

Jonathan and I became increasingly close as friends. He got me to pray the Rosary daily. He helped me grow so much spiritually that I still remember some of the fun conversations we had at his apartment, not to mention how I learned much about the faith and the issues that I was struggling with were aided by really good answers. He got me introduced to a Young Adult group from the area and they also assisted with good answers and great fellowship. I know it was Jonathan and another friend Julie who helped me to realize why contraception was not part of God’s plan.

I was finally received into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2006 (tax day in America, yuck). This was truly the best day of my life. Yes, I am married, but I can honestly say that choosing to follow Jesus Christ was the smartest thing I have ever done (I wouldn’t have my wife if I hadn’t). I was baptized, received confirmation and first communion at the Easter Vigil. It was powerful.

Every step of the way, my friends who all aided me (Stephen, David, Jonathan, their parents, Julie, and a few others) were incredibly patient with me. They were never judgmental, condescending or impatient. They constantly took me where I was at, and guided me to where the Truth was. For this I am eternally grateful. If you enjoy this blog, you can thank them with prayers.

In closing, I really do enjoy telling my conversion story. If you would like me to tell my conversion story (there is much more detail I left out for the sake of the internet), please don’t hesitate to contact me. This story isn’t just about me, but rather, how God, in His infinite love and mercy, can rescue the most unworthy of sinners, and bring them home to His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Jeff August 21, 2013 4 Comments Permalink

Comments on the Supposed “Split” Within The Church

I was asked a good question earlier in the week:

“What is this split between us traditional and the ‘liberal’ Roman Catholics? The Creed says ‘I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’.”

Simply put, what it boils down to is the traditional side being the actual Catholic, since the traditional Catholic is more than likely practicing the faith, according to the Church. The liberal Catholic doesn’t want to follow the Church and her teachings. The liberal Catholic is a promoter of heresy.

But, let’s look at this some more. Why are traditional Catholics, that is, those Catholics who do follow the Church and her teachings, being labeled as “traditionalist”? Catholics are supposed to follow the Church and her teachings and live those values out, right?

This would mean that the “traditionalist” Catholic, really is just a plain Catholic, that is, a Catholic who goes to Mass weekly, goes to confession as needed, spends time in prayer, is faithful to the Church, etc. Really, when you think of a Buddhist, you think of someone who is a…practicing Buddhist. When you think of a Muslim, you think of someone who is a…practicing Muslim. By this same logic, a Catholic is someone who is a practicing Catholic.

We like to put labels on groups of people to make them seem like they are our allies or our enemies. If “traditionalists” went by just plain Catholics, the threat of potential “liberals” hijacking Catholic to distort it seems greater. Case in point: The National Catholic Reporter (or Distorter (or Schismatic Reporter)). About 99% of the reporting is biased journalism wanting the Church to allow gay “marriage”, ordain women, allow priests to marry and the list goes on…and on…and on.

A Catholic, as stated earlier, would be a faithful Catholic. We don’t need to add any labels, really, except maybe “unfaithful”. You would have Catholics, and unfaithful “catholics”, that is, a catholic in name only.

What is interesting with this split, is how the Catholic and the catholic in name only argue with each other. The Catholic is always being told to calm down, listen to the Pope, not be so rash, be open minded, and other such things. Why is it that the Catholic, who already does these things have to constantly re-pledge their obedience to the Church? Meanwhile, the “catholic” never has to do this. They think for themselves, are “allowed to disagree”, etc. A perfect example would be the Catholic wants to receive Jesus kneeling, and gets denied (this is “okay”) but the “catholic” who is openly pro-abortion can receive Jesus. Denial of communion to the “catholic” would be viewed as a horrendous act. The Catholic would agree with me, but the “catholic” would accuse me of whining. To prove that I am not whining, and am merely opening up dialogue and am quite jolly, here is a picture of me being jolly.

Jolly Jeff

One way to help heal the split, would be to publicly excommunicate those who claim to be catholic from the Church. Now, excommunication is a form of help. It doesn’t sound like it is, but here’s how.

When someone is excommunicated, they are basically told that they are not in alignment with Church teaching, and are not able to use the sacraments until they have publicly repented and a bishop (normally there’s) has lifted the excommunication. This excommunication would force the Catholic in question to reexamine their motives and learn why what they believe is wrong. Excommunication, in essence, is there for the individual to learn from their mistakes, to come to know Christ and His teachings on particular issues. It also let’s others know that the individual is not to be trusted in religious matters and is discredited.

This split needs healing immediately. I mentioned in my last post how we need to start re-evangelizing our fellow Catholics. We all need to learn, live and love our faith. With this, we can win people over. Again, Christ is for everyone! Though you need to pray for those as well.

Jeff April 26, 2013 3 Comments Permalink

Let’s Be Honest, The Church Isn’t “1.2 Billion Strong”

I think its high time we stop using the 1.2 Billion number when it comes to talking about how many Catholics there are in the world.

Now, before you start commenting and quit reading, yes, I know, once baptized a Catholic, always technically a Catholic. But, here’s the problem.

It all comes down to the numbers. I understand the above logic/theology, it makes sense. When we are baptized, we are permanently marked by the sacrament and this can not be undone. You can’t be “unbaptized”. Even if you leave the Church and say…convert to Islam. You will still be a “baptized Catholic”. And here-in lies the problem.

When we continually pretend that all of these members are practicing Catholics, we do an insult to those that actually practice. Being a Catholic, actually means, practicing the Catholic faith.

We know that in the United States, only 30% of Catholics go to Mass on a regular basis. In Europe, the numbers are much lower (something like 10-15% in the European countries). On top of that, a number of Catholics use contraception, engage in pre-marital sex, and a slew of other sins. I’ll be very clear here. These are Catholics that have not repented. The Church teaches that if you die with unrepentant Mortal Sin, you will go to Hell. Jesus teaches this when He mentions the only unforgivable sin is blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is unrepentant  mortal sin. Jesus can’t forgive you if you aren’t sorry. Go to confession.

So, if we actually look at the number of Catholics that actually practice their faith and are repentant for their mistakes, the actual number of Catholics is much, much, much lower.

Let’s just assume that 10% is our worst case scenario (though, if you’ve read Matthew Kelly’s Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, it is probably a best case scenario). The Church really only has about a 120 Million.

If we ran a business with the logic that we can claim all of our money that we’ve ever had, even after we’ve spent it and given it to our employees, we would be in trouble, big time.

We need to address this problem. The 1.2 Billion number makes it seem like the Church is doing really well, when we know its not. The 120 Million number works better, as it points out how we need to improve. We need to reach out and evangelize those other 1.08 Billion Catholics.

120 million practicing Catholics in the world would be a good starting point of saying how “strong” we are. After all, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi say they are Catholic, yet we know they aren’t really. If we each spent time with a fellow Catholic friend, or even a non-Catholic friend (why can’t we Evangelize non-Catholics? (I wouldn’t be here if my Catholic friend didn’t evangelize to me)), taught them what the Church actually believed and got them to practice, we would multiple and be a 1.2 billion members strong. One by one and we will bring everyone to Christ, only one by one.

Jeff April 25, 2013 8 Comments Permalink

My Wedding Day Part Two: The Reception

Part 1. Again, as I remember stuff I will update.

After the Mass, Kathy and I exited the Church, followed by her bridesmaids and my groomsmen. We had a receiving line and of course, received everyone as they exited the Church. This was a lot of fun to be able to get to see everyone 1 on 1 even if for a brief moment. I originally did not want to have a receiving line as it creates clutter, but, I’m glad that we did as there were many people that I did not get a chance to talk to at the reception. This was a great way to see everybody, even if brief.

When the receiving line was finished, we walked down the steps of the Church and walked on down to the entrance on the ground level. There everyone was huddled around. As a special treat, Kathy’s dad had some doves that he was going to let out of a basket and they would fly off. It was kind of funny, when her dad first opened the basket, they just sat there, not sure what they were supposed to do, but after a few seconds they eventually took off in flight. It was pretty cool.

From here, most people left to go to the reception, meanwhile the bridal party and family stayed behind for more formals. My brother the best man and Kathy’s sister the maid of honor signed the marriage license as witnesses. We had a lot of fun getting the last of the formals done. After we got the family and bridal party pictures done, we dismissed them and let them head over to the reception. Kathy and I stayed behind with our photographer and videographer to get some last shots in of the church.

We took some good shots of us “leaving” the church (just going to the reception, not abandoning Catholicism) and headed on over to the reception hall.

It was totally awesome seeing everyone there. We did some looking around and mingling before our grand entrance. We walked in to “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith and did a little dance and spin on the dance floor for everyone.

There were many chimes on the glasses for Kathy and I to kiss, and so we made sure everyone got a show each time.

Father gave a prayer before we ate dinner, which was a very solemn prayer. Afterwards we ate (I’ll have to rethink what we had, I believe it was Chicken Parmesan, Honey Ham, Ceasar Salad, Green Beans with Shaved Almonds and Butter, Dinner Rolls and thats all I can remember).

After most people had finished eating we commenced with the speeches. Kathy’s parents were up first and they had some witty comments at my expense, along with some nice ones. It was very touching and since we had a “long-distance” themed wedding, they pointed out all the states that our guests came from as well as many statistics regarding our guests (Kathy is a Statistics major).

When Kathy’s parents had finished, they passed the microphone over to my friend Brad, who filled in for my brother for the speech. Brad’s speech was witty, clever and short, as he joked (Kathy’s parents had a bit of a long speech, but it was still good). Brad commented a bit on how of all the couples he knew that had gotten married, Kathy and I were the most perfect for each other and that we really practiced our faith. I didn’t realize that Kathy and I had demonstrated this, so, we were humbled.

After Brad finished, Kathy’s sister Mary came up and gave possibly the most touching wedding speech that I have ever heard. She spent the first half roasting me (there seems to be a pattern here) and the second half she talked about how generous Kathy has been with her in both her time and helping Mary with her physical disability. Mary’s speech was definitely one of the top three things people liked about our wedding.

Next, I was up to give my speech as the groom. I commented that after hearing those three speeches, that people would more or less have to suffer through mine, as I didn’t think mine would be that good (I still think it was my worst public speech yet, but others disagreed, go figure). I explained our wedding theme and thanked everyone for coming, thanked Kathy’s parents as well as mine. I was applauded and no one booed me off, so I guess I didn’t do too bad.

We cut the cake, had desserts, and began with our first dance “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban. We really enjoyed that, and then had the father/daughter and mother/son dances. We did them both at the same time just to be a little different.

People took awhile to get out on the dance floor, but once people got out, it was quite hopping. Kathy and I made sure to spend some time to talk with our guests, but sadly, didn’t get to talk to everyone. We were thankful to have the receiving line as we at least got to spend a couple of seconds saying hi and thank you to our guests.

The reception was a huge hit and a lot of fun. I really miss just being able to go carefree at my wedding. Kathy and I actually celebrated 3 months yesterday (October 14) and we watched the video. It was excellent. I do miss being able to just be a goof ball and to have fun. I think I need to cut back a bit more from time to time and not be so “serious”.

Finally, at the end of the night, when Kathy and I were ready to call it, the DJ put one final song on “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers. It was so touching and since Kathy and I knew it would be our final dance for the wedding, we decided that we would remember this moment for the rest of our lives, and that when we are struggling or in an argument, that we would come back to this moment at how happy we were and remember why we love each other so much. If we have to, grab the song and play it for the other. This way, the music itself would bring us back. I will admit that it has already worked on an occasion when Kathy and I were arguing. It helped calm us down and then we were able to resolve it. I’m thankful that I was inspired by the Holy Spirit to think of this. We now consider this our “second song”.

Again, I will be editing this as I remember other things.

Jeff October 15, 2012 5 Comments Permalink

My Wedding Day Part One: Mass

I’ve been writing this off and on for the past month, month and a half and decided that I just need to publish what I have, and update as I remember more details. When I make updates, the changes and additions will be in bold.

Ah, my wedding day. July 14, 2012. Quite easily, the best day of my life. As those of you who are married, or are in the process of getting married know, it is quite possibly the most stressed out time of your life. It was for me, and I don’t tend to get stressed easily, although, I’m sure that those closest to me would disagree.

Throughout the entire engagement process, I was more involved with wedding planning than the average guy. I don’t say this to be boastful and prideful, but I state this to show that I was serious about the marriage (I still am mind you). So, I’m sure I was more stressed about how things were going, I wanted to know a lot of the details so that I could help my bride-to-be de-stress and to let her know that I was there for her and want to make decisions with her for the rest of our lives.

I’d say that men, if you are engaged or are single and are called to the vocation of marriage, you really really should help your bride out on a lot of these things. Yes, society makes it seem that planning the wedding is her work, but a marriage is a two way street, constantly giving and receiving of each other, through all of the enjoyable moments, as well as the not so enjoyable moments. There are a lot of fun memories that we have created by being together. Living outside of the Twin Cities, we don’t spend too much time shopping and spending time at different places, so Saturdays became our “shopping dates” in which we would knock off items off of our master to-do lists and get lunches and sometimes dinners out at local fare.

Leading up to the wedding, I was really stressed out. Kathy was far more stressed than I was, but it felt like a big deal for me, as nothing was going right. We were arguing over a lot of little details (mind you, we never argue) and it seemed like my input was being ignored. Looking back now, I realize that it wasn’t really that I was being ignored, but rather, Kathy had her mind and heart set on something, and my view was contrary to that (and we failed to communicate that these items were important). Had I known what I know now, a lot of petty arguments could have been avoided. However, it did teach us good conflict resolution skills and the importance of communication.

I was incredibly fortunate enough that my family drove out to spend the entire week before hand to help out and to just hang out. It was awesome.

But, let’s fast forward to the wedding day. I woke up rather early, 8 AM. It was a beautiful morning. I had a good breakfast, eggs and bacon and I believe some hash browns. I believe I even got myself a cup of coffee as well. The morning kind of dragged a bit, the anxiety was probably the most obnoxious part about the entire morning. I was super excited and more or less couldn’t wait for 2 o’clock to hurry its way on.

At about 10:30, I went with my dad up to the gas station (separately) and got the car washed. I figured it’d be wise idea to get the car looking good for the wedding. Afterwards I got showered and dressed, and after that, it was about time to go to the Church to take the pictures. Kathy and I had decided that we wanted to not see each other until she was walking down the aisle. Thus, we had to take pictures separately so as to not waste too much time after the wedding for our guests.

I was one of the first ones at the Church, with the exception of our wonderful wedding coordinator Michelle, and Dan our videographer. My brother Sam and I went down to the “basement” to get the water and snacks that we had brought the night before for the rehearsal. We noticed two of the bridesmaids (Francie and Kirsten) as well as an usher Peter down there hanging out.

We went back upstairs and divided the snacks and water up in half, half for where I would hang out with my groomsmen, and the other half where Kathy and her bridesmaids would end up. I helped set up a little bit, then went and hid so that I wouldn’t see Kathy arrive.

Slowly my groomsmen started to arrive, Nic was first, then my friend Brad. Brad is a funny guy because when he usually goes to weddings, he generally wears a polo and shorts (especially in the summer), so Sam came up to me and said “Brad’s here, and he’s wearing a t-shirt and shorts”… “What?!”. “Yeah, he’s going to go get changed now”. Oh okay, good. I thought that that was a funny moment.

Eventually Father showed up. I was glad to see him. We talked a bit before and he decided to tease me a bit by asking “Are you sure you want to go through with it?” to which I immediately responded “definitely!” and to add more comedy he went “really?!?”. He is pretty good at ribbing me, but then again, everyone is, I just make it easy. He then said a few things about how he felt that Kathy and I were a great match and that we’d have a wonderful marriage.

My side did pictures while Kathy was hiding, at least the pictures that did not include Kathy. Kathy also did pictures that did not include me while I was hiding. It was a fun little game of hide and seek. The Church was also incredibly hot, as they did not have air conditioning. What they did have was lots of electrical fans that they were going to use all over the place, so that did help, but being in a black tux didn’t.

Finally at about 1:55, 5 minutes before the wedding was about to start, I started to get incredibly nervous. Father had mentioned that I would walk out when he did as the music was about to start praying. Before though, I realized I hadn’t spent any time praying, so right then and there, I did. I prayed that I would always be a good husband to Kathy and that I would treat her right. I also asked for the ability to be a good father to our future children. Then, I walked out of my side, and Father walked out of his.

My first thought was “wow, how the Church has filled up”. I saw a lot of my friends from out of state visiting, as well as my family, Kathy’s family and how everyone was pretty much ready to go. It was really exciting to see a lot of my friends. I saw my “big sister” Al-Lee, and she got her camera out so I made sure to make a couple of good faces for her.

The music began to play, and one by one, each couple (bridesmaid and groomsmen) started walking up after the parents walked up. I knew that soon, after they all finished walking up, Kathy would soon be walking down the aisle.

After everyone finished walking up, the doors opened up, and in the distance I saw Kathy and her dad. I was stunned, Kathy looked incredibly beautiful, my bride, my almost-wife. I was beaming. Kathy had her hair done completely different than I had imagined, but she still looked amazing, and to top it off, because of all the fans, Kathy walked out and it blew her hair around a little. It was truly awesome. I watched as they walked down, her dad smiling and happy. We shook hands, and Kathy and I joined each other, arm in arm. We walked up to the altar and the Mass began.

The Mass went extremely smoothly and incredibly well. I wasn’t sure what kind of Homily Father was going to give as he likes to rib me a lot, but he gave quite possibly one of the most pro-life, traditional Catholic homilies I have ever heard. It was awesome. If only each Sunday all Catholic priests gave homilies like that.

We got to the part where we exchanged our vows. Kathy and I repeated after what Father said, and  we spoke it loud and proudly. I’m pretty sure everyone was able to hear it. After our vows, that was it, we were officially married, but, we still had the rest of Mass to get through. We went to the statue of Mary and gave her red roses. We prayed that she would assist Kathy to be a loving wife and an amazing mother. I know the prayer was recorded by our videographer, but I don’t recall what exactly was said. We walked back, finished the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and received Jesus, fully present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

After everyone who was Catholic received communion, Father announced us and Mr. and Mrs. Jeff and Kathy Stempel. Father then said “you may now kiss the bride”, as Kathy really wanted that, and Catholics don’t generally say that anymore. Obviously we kissed, and exited the Church. We were ecstatic.

(Check back for more updates, as I remember more details as well as look for part two, the Reception).

Jeff September 17, 2012 1 Comment Permalink

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