Growing up I understood two things about my friends who were Roman Catholic: they could not skip church on Sunday morning, and they could not eat meat on Friday. The first prohibition made me sad for them—and for me when I spent the night at their house on a Saturday night. The second rule made me happy because I had choices like grilled cheese and pizza for my school lunch on Fridays.
After college, I met and became engaged to Jerry who was not only Roman Catholic, but he also attended parochial school from kindergarten through high school. Catholicism was a big part of his identity. I knew that it was time for me to have a better understanding of this type of Christianity, so I attended nine months of weekly catechises (weekly classes on Catholicism that those interested in converting must take) at the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). At the end of the class I had a much better appreciation not only of Roman Catholicism, but of Protestantism and Methodism as well.
RCIA taught me that whether Roman Catholic or Methodist, there were many things upon which we agree. I decided to focus on those things rather than on what we disagreed upon. Sure, it was difficult to be told during the baptisms of my nieces and nephews that I could not celebrate communion with the rest of the family, but I understood why and respected their traditions.
Eventually Jerry decided to join Floris United Methodist Church, and we raised our girls as United Methodists. Their grandmother taught them the rosary, took them to mass and shared her beliefs with our girls. Roman Catholic practices have enriched my prayer life; I have meditated on the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday and used a rosary to focus my prayers. The influence of my Roman Catholic family has been an amazing blessing for me and for my girls.