I was raised in the Catholic faith, nuns and all. My life focused around the school and the church called St. Mary’s. Those days and years will always be etched in my mind. They were probably the happiest and most secure times in my life.
The earliest Pope that I can remember was Pius XII. He was Pope from 1939 to 1958. I was born in 1941. The thought occurs to me that Francis may well be the last Pope I ever know. He is 77. This possibility is just fine with me.
You see, in the early ‘60’s, I, along with thousands of other Catholics, left the Catholic church. A big reason for this movement was the 3rd Ecumenical Counsel. All of a sudden, after adhering to all the traditions and rituals of the Faith, it was all changed. The reasons given were to bring Catholics closer to the Mass and their Faith. Ironically, the opposite occurred, as thousands of cradle Catholics left the Church.
Now, years later, to return to this Faith of my childhood takes an act of congress to get back into the good graces of the existing hierarchy. This is an experience so frustrating that it continues to keep shut out those Catholics who want to return. I read where the number of these Catholics is so numerous that if they joined together, they would be the largest denomination in the world, second only to the Catholic church. Amazing!
I look at that place called St. Mary’s where I spent so many good years and wonder if the present caretakers have any idea who we are and what we accomplished. Don’t hang out a banner that says’ “Welcome Home,” then blind those who try to return with your lengthy bureaucratic ways. Instead, accept them with open arms as Jesus would.
I look forward to the day when Francis catches up with you. Somehow, I have a feeling archaic attitudes are going to topple and give way to a more loving and receptive way. Maybe it’s time to email Francis. I have his email. Maybe, I’ll give him my phone number. I hear he makes a lot of phone calls. Thank you Lord for sending our way this man named Francis.