“The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” recently changed its name to “The Community of Christ”.
On the rare occasions when I attempt the impossible task of imagining what heaven might be like, I envision saints — but not the dour, stern, serious saints of so much artwork. I imagine smiling saints with a humorous twinkle in their eyes. Saints such as Aidan, Cuthbert, Columba, and Patrick; an eighth-century pilgrim to the Holy Land from Byzantium (more of him later); and closer in time and experience, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.
Why smiling saints? Because, looking back along my path to the Catholic Church, I can see the instances of humor that God used along the way, glinting like flecks of gold sprinkled in a vein of quartz.
Deeper in Christ by Chris Birkbeck On March 22, 2008, just two months shy of my thirty-sixth birthday I entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. I stood before the altar and, in front of the full parish congregation, testified and professed that I believed all of the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church […]
Growing up in a Conservative Jewish home in suburban Toronto, I was a regular attendee at synagogue on Sabbaths and High Holy Days, and I lived a committed Jewish life. My father is a Polish Holocaust survivor from Auschwitz, and my mother’s family escaped the organized massacres of Jews in Russia.
My sister and I were raised in Canada in a Jewish, Yiddish-speaking environment where all our friends were Jewish, and Israel was our raison d’être. Christianity was the religion of the outsiders, the faith of anti-Semites and Jew-haters, the creed of the Crusaders, Inquisitors, Persecutors, and Nazis. Yet my mother would remind me continually that “Jesus was a Jew.”
Once a minister of the Episcopal Church, I am today a Roman Catholic Priest, serving as pastor of the parish of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas. As it turns out, becoming a Catholic priest brought me “full circle.” Allow me to share with you how and why.
My friend, Sean, watched his father, Henry, die. Henry had been a WWII hero, a flying Tiger. Henry radiated Yankee independence, frugality, and self-sufficiency. He built his own house in Connecticut. He loved time in the woods. He raised his children well. But now he was gone.
Sean’s mother, Mary, continued to live in their family home for the next few years, until she chose to move to Florida. My friend, Sean, helped her clean out the decades of belongings and collections from the family home so she could sell it and relocate. Fifty years of memories had accumulated in that old house.