May 14, 2010

Be Our Guest / Joanie Nobbe

My call back home to the Catholic Church

I was raised in a Catholic home and even went to Catholic school. My parents made sure that my sisters and I attended church and went through the sacraments.

But they seldom went to Mass with us.

When I became an adult and was able to make decisions on my own, I quit attending Mass. My parents showed me that adults didn’t go to church. Although they had great intentions, they led by example.

I went on to marry outside the Church, and not only did my husband and I not share the Christian faith, he wasn’t that sure he even believed in God at all.

After a couple years of marriage, I started attending a Baptist church with his mother, where I became reacquainted with the Word.

Our marriage was troubled from the start, and after four and a half years of both emotional and physical abuse, I left him.

Then God brought Sam into my life. He was part of what I would classify as an amazing Catholic family.

They accepted me even though I was a non-practicing Catholic and was divorced. They never made me feel bad about my past. I felt like I belonged in their family from the beginning.

After months of dating, Sam proposed and that brought up the conversation about religion. I was still attending the Baptist church, although from time to time I would attend Mass with Sam. I was firm about not wanting to return to the Catholic Church, and wasn’t prepared to budge.

Sam asked me to go to church with him for a while, and then he said he would go to the Baptist church with me awhile and we would revisit this conversation. I started attending Mass weekly with Sam, and began thinking about the marriage that I wanted with him.

I looked at my future mother and father-in-law, and saw their strong, God-centered marriage. I realized that I needed to be able to share the faith with my husband.

Being raised in the Catholic Church, I felt comfortable there. It was like coming home. I got so much more out of Mass than I did as a child.

After attending Mass for a month or so, I called Father Gregory Bramlage and talked to him about renewing my faith. He stated that I would just need to go to confession then I could resume receiving the sacraments. I hadn’t been to confession in years and couldn’t remember how, but the priest was great and patient.

I believe that God sent me a precious gift in my husband. Sam and I have been married almost seven years, and we have been through a lot together.

Our faith in God and the Catholic Church has gotten us through. We hope that, with our living example, our daughter, Grace, will grow up with a love of God and her Catholic faith.

(Joanie Nobbe is a member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Enochsburg.)


(Related: Catechism shows importance of being married in the Church)

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