Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Annulment verdict is in! Now what?

If you've followed my blog for very long you will already know about my journey to join the Catholic Church. If you haven't I'll give you some background information :-)

For the past oh.. 6 years or so I have been drawn to the Catholic Church. It started as a passing curiosity and grew into a deep love of the Church and her teachings.

I finally decided a little over a year ago to truly take the plunge and officially join the church. I had been attending RCIA classes off and on for those 6 years. I understood what I was getting myself into. I longed for the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and I longed to feel like part of the church I had grown to love.

If you aren't familiar with the ins and outs of the Catholic Church, it can get a little complicated sometimes :-) I was married previously. I married when I was 19 and a single Mom. We were married for 6 months. Someday I may post more about that part of my life. Needless to say, you cannot join the church if you have been married before. The Catholic Church recognizes one marriage. No exceptions. I agree! I believe marriage is sacred and not something to play around with. Unfortunately I didn't believe this when I was 19.

So, I began the journey to Annulment through the Catholic Church tribunal. This was a long process. It involved rehashing my failed marriage. It involved looking at my faults and really discecting everything that happened during that year of my life. It was unpleasant, it was hard, it was depressing! My ex-husband would not cooperate with the process in any way which led to delay after delay.

My RCIA class was accepted into the Church during the Easter season. This is when I began pulling away from the church. I got scared. I was afraid. What if I invest everything that I have into this church only to find out that I can never fully belong? I felt unsure of myself, unworthy and stained. I struggled. I looked at other churches. I attended other services. I continued to read my bible, I continued to pray but eventually I stopped going to church completely.

I've missed it. I planned to go to a special Mass this week and was unable due to a prior engagement. I actually contacted my sponsor and even emailed a lady I had grown to really like who worked in the office at my parish.

Then it came

It was a simple envelope

The return address label stated clearly that it was from the Tribunal of the Richmond Diocese

It was stamped with a red ink stamp "CONFIDENTIAL"

This was it!

My annulment was APPROVED!

The tribunal ruled that my first marriage was invalid. Its a long story and if you guys want details about how the annulment process works, just ask and I'll write up more detailed information for you.

So now I'm left with a sigh. It's approved! I can finally enter into the Catholic Church. I can fully participate in the Mass, I can finally feel like I belong.

Then the questions came... the doubt... and even a little anger.

I had a decision to make. I had put that part of my life on hold and the decision had came. I could truly decide where I wanted to invest myself. What church will I commit my life and my time to? I don't take these things lightly. I want to give of myself. I want to truly function as a part of the church that God leads me to.

I've always been drawn back to St. Francis and as I watched a National Geographic show on the Vatican today I received an email from our RCIA teacher from last year.

"Congratulations!" he said. Basically everything was in order and just as he promised, they wanted to do the Rite of Reception as soon as possible. "What are you doing on November 21st at 8:30am?" he asked.

Well, considering that Nov 21 is my birthday and The Presentation of the Virgin Mary..

Could this be a sign? :-)


Mary333 said...

What a great birthday gift to you!

Katie said...

Sounds like a sign to me! :)

GrandmaK said...

Seems to me to be most providential. My best wishes to you!!! Cathy

Sue said...

Congratulations to you!!! Your question caught my eye on Sister Mary Martha's blog, because I am entering the Church on the very same day!

(If you click on the link to my blog you won't see anything about it on there, because some of my immediate family members aren't ready to have it out there with certain people we know in real life who read my blog.)

Anyway, I and my daughter, who is already baptized, will enter together. I will receive my First Communion, and she will enter the First Communion class with my boys who will baptized at Christmas time, then they will all have first Communion in June with the other church kids. My husband is on his own, slightly slower journey, but I go in with his blessing and pray for him to come in his own time.

I will pray for you over the next couple of weeks as I prepare my own heart. God bless you!

Thou Art Jules said...

Sue! Thank you for stopping by! I know what you mean about immediate family. I have not really spoken about my conversion with extended family and although I have maintained a public blog, I haven't really given the web address to many family members.

I just read a book by Leona Choy about her conversion. Are you in the states? I'd be more than happy to send it to you now that I'm finished with it! I will be posting the review here shortly on the blog so you can check that out and see if it sounds interesting to you.

My journey has lasted for about 6 years now total but I know that HIS perfect time is not always when we think it will be :-)

God Bless! I hope to hear more from you!

Sue said...

Thank you for the offer, but I actually live in Japan - of all places to become Catholic, huh?! I actually came here as an evangelical missionary wanna-be. This truly is a God thing (I know it always is, but still...).

If I'm not mistaken, I think I heard Leona Choy tell her story on The Journey Home on EWTN (I've listened to almost all of their archives!). I will add her book to my Amazon wish list.

I will remember you in my prayers this Sunday. God Bless!

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