Our whole family was received into the Catholic Church on Pentecost Sunday, May 22, 1994. Today is May 22, 2004 — ten years later. This year Pentecost Sunday falls on May 28 and our parish has invited our family to bring up the gifts at Mass. We were six then; we are twelve now — two in utero. My oldest daughter and son are both married, faithful Catholics, each with a baby and each with another on the way.
We have invited Rob Corzine to join us. We invited him to join us 10 years ago and we “adopted“ him as part of our family. He joined the Church with us on May 22, 1994. He is now Scott Hahn's administrator. We have also invited all of our sponsors — beloved friends.
Ten years? It went so fast! I still feel like a new convert!
We felt like new converts at our 5 year anniversary too, and the wine just about spilt all over our priest Fr. Ed Fride — the wonderful and faithful priest who brought our family into the Church and who will celebrate Mass this Pentecost. On our 5th Anniversary they invited our family to bring up the gifts and we did. I was carrying the jug of wine. But, halfway up the isle I broke into a sprint up to surprised Fr. Ed and with tears gushing from my eyes I gave him a huge bear hug.
I thanked him profusely for helping us into the Church and squeezed him until my family caught up with me. Then I let go of Fr. Ed and handed the wine to the deacon. Fr. Ed later said he wondered where the wine went and if it was running down his back. It was a joyful Mass.
This week we get to do it again — a decade after the mercy of God opened our eyes and brought us into port. (It you want to read the story of our first Mass it is in our book Crossing the Tiber.) Fr. Ed is again at our mercy, but this time I have decided to put the kids all out front with me in the back with my very best friend — my wife Janet. That way I can still cry but at least I will have 10 people in front of me to block my sprint to the altar. I hope I can contain myself.
“Dear Lord Jesus, thanks for the mercy and kindness you have granted our unworthy family. Thanks for my dear wife, for my Catholic family, for Fr. Ed, for Christ the King, for Pope John Paul II, and for bringing us home to the Catholic Church. Our lives are yours! Use us for another 10 years and beyond until we all meet you in glory! Amen!”