This Easter, I have been a Catholic for 10 years.
My last service as a Lutheran pastor was on Palm Sunday 2001, and that year I attended the Easter Vigil at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour as a self-identifying Catholic. It was some time before I was received into the Church by Confirmation (June 16, 2003), but I can say that I have been “Catholic” for 10 years.
They’ve been interesting years, but joyful ones for the most part. I have never regretted my decision, although of course I miss ordained ministry. I don’t miss all the stress that went with it (Holy Week and Triduum with three parishes was always a bit of a difficult time!), but I do miss preaching and teaching, and of course being able to determine the liturgical life of the parish to my tastes (a benefit every priest or pastor or minister has by virtue of being “pope” in his own parish). But I have learned a lot in these years about living the vocation of a lay Christian, including a bit of humility (yes, really!).
When I first raised my desire to become a Catholic, the priest to whom I confided this (who is now happily my boss) described himself as “a happy Catholic”. I think I can confidently say that this is now a description I can own for myself.
The Church is a funny old girl, but I have never regretted either my choice of motto, which I use for this blog “Sentire Cum Ecclesia”.
For those who want the full story of how I came to enter the Catholic Church, I refer you to my “retroblog”, Year of Grace.