Decision To Attending A Church

Submitted By morganmarie13
Words: 1393
Pages: 6

Growing up I was not forced to be a certain religion by my parents. Sure we read excerpts from the Bible, sang songs about God loving us, celebrated Christian holidays, and were taught to believe in a higher power, but we never attended a church service as a family. As I grew older, I made the decision to attend youth group meetings at the First Baptist Church in my hometown. I now realize that I made this choice based on the social aspect. I share this because it made me eligible to attend a Christian worship service. I have always felt somewhat out of the loop, because it always seems like everyone around me knows more about religion, specifically Christianity, than I do. When I made the decision to attend a Catholic mass I asked a friend, who has been a part of the faith since she was little, to go with and help me understand things a little better. I did not think that I would feel out of place with Anne there. I definitely was wrong and realized how hard it is to even try to pretend you know what is going on. I wish I had read the chapter on Catholicism in How to Be a Perfect Stranger first, so that I could have maybe understood the process a little better. We made the decision to attend mass here on campus at Smith Chapel. On Sundays, Father Ray, a local Catholic priest, comes to campus to give the homily. This threw me off, as I assumed that Chaplain Fritz would be the one leading the service. Anne explained that only ordained priests are allowed to preach and deliver communion at mass. I thought that this might be due to the fact that not all religions offer communion. Also, because they believe in transubstantiation, which means they think that after the wine and bread is blessed, it becomes the blood and body of Christ. As we walked in the door, people handed us a sheet of a paper and a hymnbook. The paper had different prayers and statements that the congregation said at different points, one of them being the Nicene Creed. This stuck out to me as something that we had discussed in class. The creed is basically a proclamation of faith that is widely used between the East and West divisions of the church. I found myself reading its lines many times, because of the statement “and from the Son.” It is hard to believe these few words, known as the filioque, can create such a huge uproar. As we learned in class, this line was added onto the creed by the Western Church, which created hard feelings in the Eastern Orthodoxy. According to Fisher’s book, Living Religions, this is because the Eastern Orthodoxy continued to teach, “that the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the father.” I think this shows how strongly people believe in their faith, because of how much controversy it created. Next, we entered the main chapel where people were freely sitting in rows of pews. Anne explained that an actual Catholic church has a tabernacle, which is missing at Smith Chapel. From texts in class I learned that casual dress is acceptable, which surprised me. I guess growing up I always pictured everyone at church being dressed up in special “Sunday clothes.” As people entered the chapel, they walked up front to a table that contained what Anne referenced as hosts. They took one and moved it into the paten, which holds the bread. It was the pieces of bread that are a part of the communion later in the service. She explained that usually in a Catholic church there is holy water that a person blesses himself or herself with, and that the host count is nonexistent. At this point, I started to realize that it might have made more sense if I would have gone to the Catholic Church here in Indianola. However, I did not realize at the time how many unique things I would have discovered there (which I apologize for). I will probably go to mass at the actual Catholic Church sometime to view these differences. Once everyone was seated and it was starting time, congregants stood up and began a hymn. It was really interesting to see just…