Today's guest blogger D. L. gave this talk to the RCIA about the universality (Catholicity) of the Church and she graciously offered to let it be a guest blog entry today.
“I want to say something about this part of the Creed because I have found this to be so meaningful to me. Having grown up in England as a member of the Church of England I had never experienced the feeling of a ‘Universal Church’ however many of the traditions were similar to the Catholic Church.
“So when my Father’s business opportunities started our families travels and moves I experienced a connection with many people of different faiths eventually meeting my husband in Casablanca, Morocco. Angelo was Catholic and was a true example to me. We were married in a little Italian church in the heart of a Muslim country where the priest performed our ceremony in French. There, I began to see what his faith meant to him.
“When we transferred back to Akron, Angelo met with Fr. Byrider to register at St. Sebastians. Over the next few years raising our children in a Catholic school I began to feel the need to learn more about the Catholic Church. Several times I heard Fr. Byrider tell the ‘same’ story of a woman who he asked why she had not become Catholic and her answer was ‘No One Had Asked Her’! I think at that point I felt by the example of my husband’s faith I cane to realize that it was his way of ‘asking’. I truly believe the Spirit works through others and somehow the time was right.
“For many years Angelo continued to travel to different countries and told me how in Tel Aviv as their Holy Day was Saturday – he had to take the time to fund a bus on Sundays to go to a Catholic Church in the next town. The thing happened often in other countries such as Argentina, Romania, Iran, and Japan.
“We also traveled to Greece where my parents were living, made a return trip to Morocco and of course the UK. Everywhere Mass would be said in whatever the language was in that country but it still was the same Church.
“When looking for the true meaning of ‘Apostolic’ it is referencing The Twelve Apostles of Jesus, or something related to them. Our Catholic Church has the doctrine connecting it to the original Twelve Apostles’, true teachings of Christ. Through the world the apostles preached and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. This Apostolic succession is the line of bishops all over the world that we have today stretching back to the apostles. This is something that is impossible in the Protestant denominations most of which do not claim to have bishops.
“To those of you preparing to become full members of the Catholic Church it is my hope that you will have the opportunities of experiencing our Church in many different areas of the worlds as I have – the language you may not understand but the Church is the same wherever you go. To belong to a parish, become active in your faith, you will gain friendships forever. I once heard Fr. Glen Murray speak and his words are what I live by, ‘Get out of the pews and into your shoes.’
“The unanimity of the peoples and nations keeps me here, as I hope it will you. St. Augustine said of the one true Church, ‘Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age keeps me here – the very name Catholic (universal) belongs to this Church alone. Welcome.”