I’ve told you all before: I’m a cradle Catholic.
That’s what they call those of us who were born, raised, and remain Catholic. Fitting, as we are also one of the Christian denominations that practices infant baptism.
Cradle Catholics grow up in the church, typically sitting there in the pew, right beside our parents. In general, Catholicism doesn’t lend itself toward “church nurseries” and the kids remain right there throughout the Mass.
We attend church school classes, which we often call CCD, and we go to Mass with varying regularity– some, like me, are raised in a family that attends every Sunday, even when away on vacation. Others might only grace the inside of a church for the major holidays. That’s just the way it goes.
But, either way, this is what I really want you to know–
The people who have arguably taught me the most about my faith? The people who have helped me resolve the tough questions? The people who’ve strengthened my convictions and helped me feel more confident in what I believe?
They’re not who you think.
They’re not the other cradle Catholics.
They’re not my former church school teachers.
They’re not even the priests.
Though all those people definitely had an important role in my faith journey, they’re not the ones I credit with helping me grow the most.
The ones who’ve helped me learn and grow and question the most?
Are the converts.
The converts– and the curious– teach us so very much.
I cannot begin to express my appreciation and gratitude to those who, as adults, begin to wonder about Catholicism and venture through that door. These are the people who allow themselves to explore and learn and decide, not as tiny children or adolescents or even teens, typically, but as grown-ups.
Their “CCD” experience is different. Their exploration is different. Their questions are different.
And they teach us so very much.
So today, as a most-definite cradle Catholic, I extend my sincerest thanks to the converts and the curious–
you make a beautiful difference in the world.