OUR LADY OF Lourdes Catholic Church, Monroe, N.C. Altar. File from Twitter.
House stuff duties.
I haven’t been back since 1983 in May. I haven’t been even near Wingate/Charlotte, NC since 1983. Why? I had a bit of a rough go because when I was a sophomore at then Wingate College and now Wingate University, there were few Catholics. It was a rigid Baptist University/college in a place that was just coming out of the old 20th Cent North Carolina.
I was Catholic I told them. It was no big deal to me, except it was a big deal to them when I had no car on campus and tried like heaven and hell and purgatory to get to Mass. I had to bribe them with all sorts of things to get there . They were suspicous and didn’t want to take me.
I don’t know how many dinners I had to buy and movies I had to go into hock to get to get to be able receive the Eucharist. I used to take some of the worst staunch Baptists and Evangelicals with me.
Everyone was suspicous. They were suspicious until it came time to pay up. They were always suspicous. To them I was the devil until they got their meal.
I was 19 at the time. I got tired of it. I went to this college because well, I was a laid back individual and just knew that no matter what I would get into college, somewhere. I didn’t want to stay in Florida in the heat another moment. ( I still laugh at this because I came back. Hence the name, Findmeinflorida.org and this is how this blog got its name. )
Funny, I never could understand why these Evangelicals could not understand how and why Jesus would give his very self. One guy said he didn’t think he was “good enough” to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
It is all “spiritual” for them. There is no physical, except for long ago 2000 years ago. You are on “your own” and you had better have a flag and work hard.
I still roll my eyes at the whole thing.
I left and went to Franciscan University in Ohio. I wanted a Mass for my B.A. Baccalaureate.
But you know what? I am still thankful for those professors who believed in me. Yeah there were a few who were Catholic and more than likely went through what I did.
And there was a dear friend of mine who introduced me to John Michael Talbot’s music. I kept in touch after I left and transferred. But then I lost touch.
Thank God for Facebook. I found her but I also found out that she died of cancer about four years ago. It was sad. But I was glad because she was one of those I bribed with dinner so I could go to Mass and receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
When I left she wrote me in the late 80s. You made me understand that I was good enough for the Jesus of the Gospel to come to me, was the gist of the message.
Ok, gal. You are home. You beat me. I got you to Mass but you beat me. Thanks a lot Annie.
I am shaking my head. The school has changed a bit and many of my teachers have retired or they are about to retire.
Many of them who believed in me and gave me a hard time and challenged me are seriously dear to me.
We went to Europe in late 1982. We went to Dachau and Munich and Amsterdam and Austria. It was my first “official” trip overseas.
But when I went to the Cathedral in Munich, it was the same Christ Jesus and the same Mass but in German.
My traveling Baptist buddies had to come to terms with that. And the fact that I almost tripped when I bowed before the Tabernacle. And the fact that then Cardinal Ratzinger was also in town the same day as when we went to Mass. But the leader went to another Mass at St Michel’s kirche, yet our yet to be Pope Benedict Emeritus/Ratzinger was waiting for the leaders the door even when the leader tried to dodge him.
Our English speaking tour guide from the US Consulate was on to their game. He snitched on them after I introduced myself.
It was last time I saw Joseph Ratzinger. He was the celebrant at my Aunt Dee and late Uncle Bruce’s wedding in 1969. I will never deny that I went to that one — ever.
Anyhow, I have had my deals with people who do not believe in the Eucharist. That Wingate episode in my life was the most intense ever.
Whole ordeal made me appreciate the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood. It is not a symbol.