Teacher of the Year Essay

Submitted By lnsimm
Words: 1052
Pages: 5

Religious Experience Paper
Church Newcomer

Each individual in this world belongs to a different culture within his or her society. Everyone holds different beliefs, values, and norms that help build our culture. I recently had the opportunity to look further into the belief aspect of culture. To me, when thinking about cultural beliefs, religion is the first thing that comes to mind. Religion represents what an individual believes in. My recent experience took place on Sunday, September 29th at a Catholic Church in Manassas, Virginia. Driving into the parking lot of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, I noticed that there were only a few parking spots left – it seemed to be very popular. The people walking in varied from elders to young children, coming from all sorts of cultures and backgrounds. I previously took an Art History course where I learned some architecture designs; so I was surprised to see that the church’s design was large and French gothic. Looking at this beautifully designed cathedral makes one feel that they are undeniably treading on sacred ground. Once inside, enormous wooden doors welcome you into the main sanctuary. Once I went into the main sanctuary, I noticed how many people there were at the service. It was so crowded that people were standing in the back; and this was a massive sanctuary. The Catholic Church Service is known as “Mass.” The Mass, the formal, official worship service of Catholicism, is the most important and sacred act of worship in the Catholic Church. Catholics believes in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Just in one ceremony, many elements are included; the Bible (Sacred Scripture), prayer, hymns (songs), gestures, and sacred food. A Mass in a Catholic Church is divided into two topics. These are the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Word is focused on the lectern where the main vocal parts of Mass take place and is a time where God is thanked and praised. The Mass starts with the practice where everyone taking place in the Mass say's the prayers, "Lord have mercy," and "I confess." These two important prayers are said to ask God for forgiveness, to say sorry for all the things they have done wrong, ultimately to cleanse that person from sin. The people who attend a Catholic Church are called parishioners and they refer to the church as a “parish.” The service began with all the parishioners seated but then they stood and started singing as a precession of people came in. Rev. Michael Bazan, the pastor, was the last to walk in the procession to the Alter. I did not know most of the songs throughout the service, so I just stood and listened. As they were all singing I looked around the congregation and noticed that at Sacred Heart Catholic Church there were a number of different people that varied across many different cultures. They were very accepting of new members to the church, and were very willing to talk to me about their faith. The main focus during the beginning of the Mass is on Bible readings as a primary part of daily and weekly worship. There are three Bible readings, one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one from the Gospel. There is also the Sign of Peace. I did not know what the Sign of Peace meant as I observed people shaking hands, but soon enough I found out when people started turning to me. It's basically where everyone shakes hands with each other and says "Peace be with you." I felt that was one of the most humbling experiences I had while I was there. It made me feel more connected to the church and accepted within the community of people. In the particular service I attended, the main message I got out of the service was, “Be happy with what you have and appreciate it. Don’t ask God for more when you don’t use what you were already given.” I really enjoyed the message by the priest. There