“I absolve you of your sins, in the name of The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit”
On December 24th 2001 sometime near midnight, Father Valentine Handwerker welcomed me back to full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. It was something that had been brewing inside of me for a while, inspired by both conversations with other catholics and to certain degree 9/11. In the end I’m sure all the credit goes to The Holy Spirit, since there had been for two or three years, obstacles to me ignoring the work of The Church in the world around me as I had done for so long.
So on that day, when my friend (and later best man at my wedding) asked me if I wanted to attend Midnight Mass with him and his mother at the cathedral in Memphis, I jumped at the chance. I decided I would insist the first priest I saw hear my confession. Left to divine providence, the first priest I saw was Father Val. Father Val had been pastor where I went to grade school. So it was the last priest I had known from childhood who welcomed my back to the church as an adult.
So that was my Christmas Eve of ten years ago. That means this year was an anniversary of sorts for me. My heart was full or love for God, His Church and the many people who have helped make the faith filled (but certainly still imperfect) Catholic I am today.