A young man, adrift, hopes to return to the Catholic Church

Father John A. Kiley
Posted:

“Hello, Father Kiley? This is Peter Gilmore. My aunt said that I should call you about being a God-parent for my cousin Patrick’s baby.

The trouble is, Father, I’ve never been confirmed. I was baptized at Holy Redeemer and made my first Communion at St. Mary Magdalene’s. I started the confirmation classes but the lady in charge said that I had missed too many classes because of hockey and baseball so I dropped out and never went back.

“I really haven’t been to church much either. I believe in God and I really got a lot of nice memories about Sister Agnes John and Father Hayes. And I’ve been going out with this girl who goes to the Gospel Temple in West Greenwich and sometimes I go to church with her. And the truth is when I leave there I feel like I’ve really been to church. The music is so powerful and the people are really into it. A couple of times we went to Mass, but she said she didn’t know what was going on and didn’t understand why she couldn’t receive Communion and the priest mentioned money or something. She also couldn’t understand what all the statues were about. When she goes to church she prays to God. She said when Catholics go to church they pray to Mary and the saints, and I really didn’t have an answer for her. She said Jesus kind of put his mother in the background: ‘Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is mother and brother and sister to me.’ I remember her quoting the Bible. And that’s another thing. Everything’s the Bible with them. With us it’s the pope and the Church and the priests. That’s what she says anyway. I mean I really want to be a godfather to Patrick’s baby. They’re having their marriage blessed and everything. They want to bring the kid up right. They don’t go to church much but they’re still Catholics. She has an aunt who is a nun in Canada and Patrick graduated from LaSalle so they want to stay Catholic. “

“The godmother is her best friend. They grew up together in Pawtucket. Her friend is Jewish but they are going to talk to the priest to see if something can’t be done.

“She’s a very good person. I like her. She helps out at a food pantry in downtown Pawtucket. So she can set a good example for the kid. I want to set a good example, too. But I’ve got so many questions. My sister and her boyfriend got married by the justice of the peace. They said the priest wouldn’t marry them because they were living together. They said that a lot of their friends who had gotten married in the church were divorced already so a church marriage really didn’t make that much difference. But I think they would still like to get married in the Church. They plan to have a baby and then buy a house and then have a big wedding in St. Bernadette Church. They went to a wedding there once for some friends and the aisle was so long and the flowers looked so nice on the altar that they figured that’s the church for them.

“You remember Andrew Morrison. He’s a Baptist minister now. I remember when we were serving Mass together that he always paid better attention then I did. He was always telling me what to do. He was very religious. Then he got involved with drugs and alcohol. He went to some rehab place in New York and they got him reading the Bible. He said he didn’t see anything in the Bible about confession or about praying to the saints or about cardinals or about purgatory and Masses for the dead. He also said that there were a lot of bad popes and that the church put many people from other religions to death a thousand years ago and that the Vatican has a lot of gold and silver hidden way that could be given to the poor. He said the Baptist preachers don’t wear any special clothes like the priests do. No offense, Father. But he said the cassock you wear was something from the middle ages. It makes you different from other people. Jesus wasn’t different. He was a man of the people. And I know Jesus wasn’t married but the Apostles were. And that’s a manmade rule that priests can’t marry. My aunt said that’s why there’s no vocations. The Church should let people marry. Jesus’ mother Mary was married and, oh, by the way, it says right in the Bible that Jesus had brothers and sisters. It says it a couple of times. So Mary being a virgin is something the Church made up later on. They thought it would make Jesus more special than he was.

“My uncle told me that I could start being a good Catholic again by going to Church this Saturday. He said it was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day. I didn’t think they had them anymore. I though the bishops did away with them because nobody was going to church on those days anymore. But me and my friend Frankie went to get ashes last year and the church was packed. So maybe they’re still on. We had to wait ‘til the Mass was over though to get the ashes. So, Father, can you help me out? I’d really like to bring this kid up a good Catholic or a good Christian or whatever”

“Hello, Father Kiley? This is Peter Gilmore. My aunt said that I should call you about being a god-parent for my cousin Patrick’s baby. The trouble is, Father, I’ve never been confirmed. I was baptized at Holy Redeemer Church and made my first Communion at St. Mary Magdalene’s. I started the confirmation classes but the lady in charge said that had missed too many classes because of hockey and baseball so I dropped out and never went back.

“I really haven’t been to church much. I believe in God and I really have a lot of nice memories about Sister Agnes John and Father Hayes. And I’ve been going out with this girl who goes to the Gospel Temple in West Greenwich and sometimes I go to church with her. And the truth is when I leave there I feel like I’ve really been to church. The music is so powerful and the people are really into it.

“A couple of times we went to Mass, but she said she didn’t know what was going on and didn’t understand why she couldn’t receive Communion and the priest mentioned money or something. She also couldn’t understand what all the statues were about. When she goes to church, she prays to God. She said when Catholics go to church they pray to Mary and the saints, and I really didn’t have an answer for her. She said Jesus kind of put his mother in the background: ‘Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is mother and brother and sister to me.’ I remember her quoting the Bible. And that’s another thing. Everything’s the Bible with them. With us it’s the pope and the church and the priests. That’s what she says anyway.

"I mean I really want to be a godfather to Patrick’s baby. They’re having their marriage blessed and everything. They want to bring the kid up right. They don’t go to church much but they’re still Catholics. She has an aunt who is a nun in Canada and Patrick graduated from LaSalle so they want to stay Catholic. The godmother is her best friend. They grew up together in Pawtucket . Her friend is Jewish but they are going to talk to the priest to see if something can’t be done.

“She’s a very good person. I like her. She helps out at a food pantry in downtown Pawtucket. So she can set a good example for the kid. I want to set a good example, too. But I’ve got so many questions.

“My sister and her boyfriend got married by the justice of the peace. They said the priest wouldn’t marry them because they were living together. They said that a lot of their friends who had gotten married in the church were divorced already so a church marriage really didn’t make that much difference. But I think they would still like to get married in the church. They plan to have a baby and then buy a house and then have a big wedding in Saint Bernadette Church. They went to a wedding there once for some friends and the aisle was so long and the flowers looked so nice on the altar that they figured that’s the church for them.

“You remember Andrew Morrison. He’s a Baptist minister now. I remember when we were serving Mass together that he always paid better attention then I did. He was always telling me what to do. He was very religious. Then he got involved with drugs and alcohol. He went to some rehab place in New York and they got him reading the Bible. He said he didn’t see anything in the Bible about confession or about praying to the saints or about cardinals or about purgatory and Masses for the dead. “He also said that there were a lot of bad popes and that the church put many people from other religions to death a thousand years ago and that the Vatican has a lot of gold and silver hidden way that could be given to the poor. He said the Baptist preachers don’t wear any special clothes like the priests do. No offense, Father. But he said the cassock you wear was something from the middle ages. It makes you different from other people. Jesus wasn’t different. He was a man of the people. And I know Jesus wasn’t married but the Apostles were. And that’s a manmade rule that priests can’t marry. My aunt said that’s why there’s no vocations. The church should let people marry. Jesus’ mother Mary was married and, oh, by the way, it says right in the Bible that Jesus had brothers and sisters. It says it a couple of times. So Mary being a virgin is something the church made up later on. They thought it would make Jesus more special than he was.

“My uncle told me that I could start being a good Catholic again by going to Church this Saturday. He said it was the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day. I didn’t think they had them anymore. I though the bishops did away with them because nobody was going to church on those days anymore. But me and my friend Frankie went to get ashes last year and the church was packed. So maybe they’re still on. We had to wait ‘til the Mass was over though to get the ashes.

“So, Father, can you help me out? I’d really like to bring this kid up a good Catholic or a good Christian or whatever.”