Sunday, April 12, 2009

My visit to the Catholic Church

So much has changed over the years when it comes to most of the major Christian churches, and that was evident during my recent work with a Catholic church in Syracuse N.Y.

My former elementary school, St Rose of Lima, combined with another local school St Margaret's, invited me to be the guest speaker at their annual workshop on Faith and Spirituality.

It was quite an honor to be asked, as it had been a number of years since I had been there, and to bring in a speaker who just happens to be an All Faith Minister, was a beautiful sign at how the church has continued evolving.

What really blew my mind though was when they asked if I would do the sermon at the mass following my workshop! At first I was sure I was misreading the email!!

My sister, Marydiane Scheemaker, was the go between, as she's a teacher at St Rose. When she assured me that this was the case, that I would be doing the sermon based on a reading from the Gospel according to Mark, I was elated!

The nuns and teachers there, all 50 of them, including one of the priests from St Margaret's who was just an amazing man, were such a joy to work with, and overly supportive of my day with them.

Oftentimes, we pay too much attention to the media hype when it comes to all that is wrong with our religions these days, or from caustic comments from disgruntled congregants.

Or, worse yet, we only remember from our childhood what we DID NOT like about our religious upbringing, instead of what was beautiful about it.

I thank both of these churches for their open arms, and how they are changing with the times, without losing their beauty.

In our church, the Church of Spiritual Light, we relish the chance to honor many rituals from the Catholic church, the church I was raised in, as well as many other religious and spiritual rituals from a variety of faiths.

And do you know what?

They are ALL beautiful, ALL from God.

Love, Rev. David Essel