For so many of us, our grandmothers are such an important figure in our families. The role of a grandmother is vital. The one person in the family that holds everyone together. As a child, my grandmother always taught our family the importance and value of having religion be the foundation to our home.
My grandmother was a Christian women who practiced the Pentecostal faith, a very strict religion. Sometimes I would wonder why the religion was so strict or had such high expectations. We were human after all, we made mistakes. My thoughts would always wonder. Maybe she just wanted everyone to follow the same expectations she had for herself. My grandmother never wore pants, till this day I have never seen her in anything but a dress or a skirt. She never wore earrings. The only jewelry I ever seen her wear was her wedding ring. She wore the bare essentials of makeup. I never heard my grandmother get upset, she always spoke in a soft voice. She always had long hair. She was as natural as she can be. There was a period of time where I really thought my grandmother was a Saint.
I must admit that I always wondered, is this how religion is suppose to be. Even with all of my questions, concerns, or fears I still looked forward to attending my weekly Sunday Masses, my weekly Youth Group meetings, and my weekly Youth Chorus practices. Yes, I was in the choir. I do not have a great voice, but I can remember always singing in the front of my church leading the congregation into the adoration of the word. Unbelievable, but I was one of the soloist. I was excited that my voice captured so many people’s hearts. But I was also terrified seeing the church members react as they felt the holy spirit, as they would say. I loved the years I spent in my youth being apart of my church. I was very involved in my church, spending time giving back to the community, making new friends, being apart of a family outside of my own.
As a young adult I drifted away from church. I really can not explain what happened other than the daily commitments, working a full time job, trying to attend classes, and having children became the priority. I sometimes wondered was it the priorities that became the conflict or were they excuses that I would come up with. After years of trying to bring religion and church into my home and family. I began to realize that I did not go to church because I was not feeling anything. I can remember attending mass and saying to myself, why am I here. I don’t feel anything. This is just another task on my to do list. I personally knew that I was wrong and I needed to change something. Somethimes you need to go through something big to realize that you need change. The truth is that sometimes, that big thing is what we need, it is what pushes us to seek something new.
I received several invitations and after a couple I gave in. I had the opportunity to visit a Roman Catholic Church and attend a mass. My fiancé was Catholic, attended several masses at this parish, and his children were attending classes to receive their sacraments. He was not a practicing Catholic, but he supported my journey to faith. I was reluctant to attend, the truth is there is no way that my Pentecostal family would even understand. I can recall sitting in the mass just wondering why was this so different then what I was used to. There was no one preaching and screaming, there was no loud music with a band, there were no parisheners feeling the holy ghost as they claimed. The mass was organized. Each parishioner recited in sync the prayers and songs. The music was calm. The atmosphere was holy. It gave me a feeling of peace.
The decision to change my religion not only would affect me, but my family. I would sit and wonder what awful things my family would say. Would they be disappointed? After months of anaylizing and researching. I wanted to attend masses and practice a religion because it made me feel something. I did not want it to become another task on my to do list. After visiting several masses and following my heart. I decided that I would joing the RCIA program in my local parish to seek my sacaraments to become a Roman Catholic.
My son was never baptized as a child. I just was not in the position. It really had haunted me throughout the years. In the religion that I was practicing, you did not baptize a baby when they are born. They were presented in the name of the Lord. Making the decision to change religions was not only important for me, but for the children also. This would be a decision that we would make together. It was important for me to go through this journey with my son. We spoke about religion, my personal experiences, his thoughts, and decided to go through this process together. I chose my sister-in-law as my sponsor and my son chose his grandmother as his. The process of being baptized along my son was truly a beautiful experience to add to our memories together and cherish forever.
As a mother, it is important to provide my children the tools needed to have a balanced life, that will grow to be great adults filled with all of the fundamentals needed to be successful in life, most importantly filled with the inner peace.
We proudly attended classes and masses each week for an entire year. On March 26, 2016 Easter weekend we proudly were baptized together and received our sacrements to become practicing Catholics.