8.29.2005

paths home

By the time I was a Junior in high school, I had pretty much abandoned the Catholic Church as having any relevance to me or the world around me. The reasons for my leaving (and staying away for close to 10 years) are varied and complex. As a young woman in the church, I didn't feel particularly appreciated, included or wanted. The church also seemed so focused on sexual morality that it ignored some pretty significant larger social sins. Also, I'd learned during this time period that someone very close to my heart had been molested by our parish priest when he was an altar boy. Understandably this revelation cemented my anger and disillusionment with the institutional church. I had no use for it.

As I entered my mid 20's I found myself drawn more and more into a relationship with God. But I stayed away from the institutional church. I didn't see what purpose returning to the fold could serve. And I was still pretty darn angry. I was your quintessential alienated cradle Catholic yearning for a spiritual home.

And then God led me to St. Philip Neri Parish and the Paulist Fathers. How that happened is another post, but through their Landings ministry and charism of reconciliation and reaching out, I found my way home. And we all know where that path has led, to an acceptance and understanding of the incredible idea that God loves all of us (even me!) unconditionally and a desire to share that love with the world, possibly as a woman religious.

Why do I tell this story? I just heard through the grapevine that Paulist Father Jac Campbell, who founded the Landings program that reconciled me to the Catholic Church, has passed away in Boston. I never knew him personally, but give thanks for him and his ministry which has helped many inactive and alienated Catholics, including myself, to their way home to God's love.

My prayers are with Fr. Campbell's family and his Paulist brothers at this time.

Peace,
Susan

2 comments:

andrea said...

I heard about Jac Campbell at Mass yesterday and felt such a loss myself. I never met him and never went through the Landings program, but it still had an effect on me. When I was thinking about coming back to the Church but not quite there yet, I wandered into a church one day to pray. Trust me, this was not my usual habit! On the way out I picked up whatever literature they had in the back of the church and one of the flyers was about Landings. It felt like it had my name on it. Andrea...yes, I'm talking to you. Look at this. It's not just that you can come back and no one will bar the door. We're actually putting out the welcome mat and holding the door open for you. Think about it, OK? We want you.

As I said, I didn't go through Landings. But its existence was a part of my coming home and I'm thankful.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.

Jim said...

While I did wander from the Church I never lost my "base" ie., faith. However it did take a crisis to bring me back and now I feel great! I thank the Lord that he can forgive a sinner like me.