I am a Catholic. But I don’t come from a Catholic family.
I was baptized in 2nd grade of junior high. I join catechumen from my school, Budi Mulia junior high school.
But I know Jesus since I was in first grade of junior high. Just around 3 months in junior high, GOD came into my life through a teacher.
He is a Protestant preacher and a prayer, he’s 60-something. He collected students in break time in library. We gathered to read Bible and to pray. When a teacher was absent, he came to that class and told religious jokes and ended with prayer and I, personally, can feel GOD’s presence. He really brings GOD to us. I was caught.
I became one of his faithful ‘followers’. I went to library, not for reading, but to listen to him talking about GOD. I went to library every first break, second break and after school. I didn’t use my break time to eat or to study or to play. I fed my soul in every break time for almost 3 years. I read Bible almost every day at those times.
Even, I absent from my catechumen class to gather with them praying and Bibling(my own vocabulary for Bible reading). The school ended around 1, but I always went home around 3. We prayed, we felt HIS presence. Most of his ‘followers’ are senior high students, and sometimes, I was the only junior high one who joined them in the library.
In short, I had my wonderful time in my junior high. My first experiences about GOD.
Then, it’s time to graduate from junior high school. I had planned from long long time ago to continue to St. Ursula senior high school. This means, I have to leave my first community in GOD. “Will I be separated from YOU also, GOD?” that my biggest fear that time. On my very last day in junior high, I struggled in prayer to GOD, I said: “Lord, don’t let me be separated from YOU, I wanna follow YOU till my head turns white.”
Meanwhile, I started joining a Prayer Group (PD) in my parish since I was in 3rd grade of junior high. I just attend the PD every Wednesday. I came to PD to seek GOD, not frens. Though I had to leave my very first community, HE led me to another community, PDKM St. Alphonsus.
Then, I went to St. Ursula senior high. My prayer that time was: Lord, please send a teacher or anybody that also will gather us to pray. But GOD sent no one. But later GOD strengthen me and made me able to gather friends, to pray together. I just could only say: GOD gives much better than I pray. We gather once a month and the headmaster was very excited to this little prayer group.
First grade of senior high school, I had JUST became a Catholic. I was just Jesus follower, but had no church, though I was baptized in Catholic Church. Why? Because my very first community wasn’t a Catholic one. It’s actually ‘interdenominational’. And the most shocking me is about my teacher, the one whom I really thank to, and who had introduced me to Jesus. He was ex-Catholic, he moved to another sect of protestant church, as the little bird told me. I never asked him directly. Under his guidance, I know Jesus only. I didn’t know Mary. I didn’t pray ‘Hail Mary’.
Although, he was ex-Cath and he sometimes underestimated CathChurch in some of his preach, I still joined the catechumen class and was baptized as Catholic. I don’t know how it could happen. Haha, that’s really weird actually. He made a bit hurting opinion, but I put not much care on it, he told the other students in front of me also: Monica wants to be baptized as Catholic, because, she wants to go to Catholic senior high school, which will make her become easier to enter that school. I couldn’t say anything.
One day, come the most confusing day. Catholic or Protestant? Katolik atau Kristen? I should choose. Though I was baptized as Cath, I thought to move. What moving religion? I can’t believe it! What my PD friends said if I moved? I even had checked the schedule of another sect of church in pademangan. Lol. I doubt about my faith. I asked GOD, why there must be Catholic or any other churches? Why did YOU let the churches split? I came to GOD, I complained! I just can pray in the midst of confusedness. “Lord, what I want is just YOU. YOU, Jesus. I don’t care about the churches. I just want YOU!” but GOD very soon replied me in several seconds: “But you need the church.” And I said: “then lead me to the right one.”
My life goes on, I went to Catholic church not because I got an answer from GOD, but because: I’m terlanjur/ too late to be baptized as Catholic. Lol.
Then, I started knowing more and more about Catholic Church in my senior high time through the Prayer Group meetings and school’s religion subject. In second grade of senior high, I went to Gua Maria to pray for the very first time. I never pray to Mary before that. I felt a bit weird to sing a verse in SERVIAM song: “Maria Bunda pembimbing kami.”
Besides underestimating Catholic Church, I also underestimated the priest with some arguments against the Priest. That made me underestimated Catholic Priest and the Pope. Until one day, came a new priest in my parish, Fr. Kristo. He preaches just like my teacher preached. I listened to his sermon, the very first priest I knew and I appreciated. I started to open my eyes to Catholic Church. I told him everything and one day, I confessed all my sins against Jesus about HIS church and against Mary as well.
Now, I’m very radical to my Catholic Church. I am very proud to say that I’m Catholic. I love all the richness in the kind of spiritual activities and the very systematic hierarchy. I thirst to learn more and more about my Church, about the Church’s history, theology, liturgy, teachings, magisterial, the Pope, the Saints, and the plethora kinds of prayer in Catholic Church.