By JULIE LE, Special To The Bulletin | Published April 12, 2012
Growing up, I always thought my religion was Buddhism. But as I grew older, I started to wonder why we did not go to the temple as much and why we did not follow certain practices as Buddhists. My parents explained to me that although we believed in Buddhism, we practiced more by praying to and worshipping our ancestors.
My husband, Steve, was raised as a Catholic. When I met him, I started to attend Mass with him at the Vietnamese Catholic church. Since I was born and raised in Georgia, I sometimes struggle with the Vietnamese language. As a result, I did not understand much at the Masses celebrated in Vietnamese. When I asked Steve if he could take me to Mass in English so that I could understand more, he took me to Mass at Holy Cross Catholic Church. I had better understanding of the Mass, but I still did not understand Catholicism and all of its rituals and beliefs. I always had questions, but I never really had a desire to inquire more about the religion. Still I continued to attend Mass with Steve.
‘The Lord Never Intrudes’
In 2011, after being together for almost 10 years, Steve and I decided to get married. Our wedding would be on November 5, 2011. Steve spoke to me openly about getting married in the Vietnamese Catholic church and agreeing to raise our kids Catholic. I was not forced to convert to Catholicism before getting married and I had free will to make a decision. I agreed to raise our kids Catholic because I wanted them to grow up having a faith.
After agreeing with Steve in raising our kids Catholic, I started to have a lot of questions about the religion.
Steve reached out to Holy Cross Church to inquire about RCIA. Before joining the initiation classes, I met with Teresa Vigil and her father. I had a lot of questions and I was still unsure of joining the classes. Teresa suggested that I attend a few classes to help me make my decision. Teresa and her father said they could not force me to do anything, they could only pray for me. Teresa told me, “The Lord never intrudes in our lives. He knocks and patiently waits for us; we have to open the door and let him in.” My husband and I really appreciated hearing that.
‘Having A Faith Has Changed My Outlook On Life’
As I started to attend RCIA classes, I became intrigued and very interested. At first, I was more so interested in learning about the Christian faith. The Rite of Acceptance was a very special and emotional time for me. At that moment, I felt as though I finally found my faith. It meant a lot to me because growing up, I never truly had a faith. In my heart, I felt God was reaching out to me and answered all of my questions. I started to understand all of Catholicism’s rituals and beliefs; Catholics really have such a deep devotion to their religion and I really admire that.
Being in the RCIA has taught me a lot about Catholicism and I will always continue to have questions, but that makes me hungry to learn more.
Having a faith has changed my outlook on life and I never knew the power of praying and believing. I truly believe God has answered all of my prayers and I am forever thankful and appreciative. I feel a special deep connection with God. This has been a very meaningful experience for my husband and me; it has definitely brought us closer together. I look forward to the day that I get baptized so that I can be closer to God. I am thankful for the RCIA team for helping me with my journey to faith. I truly believe they were angels sent from above to help deliver God’s words.