When I was a Baptist and switched to become a Presbyterian, I was the only one doing so. None of my Baptist friends were heading in the same direction, and they all thought I was nuts. When I was a Presbyterian and switched to become Anglican, none of my Presbyterian friends were heading in the same direction, and they all thought I was nuts. Some even refused to speak to me again. When I was an Anglican and I made the final switch to become Catholic, something different happened. There were many other Anglicans who were making the same switch. In addition, it was not just a “switch” this time. It was the culmination of a journey.
Having been through various trials in my previous “switches” and having felt so alone, there were times when I thought to myself, “am I and my family the only ones thinking this way?” and it left me uncertain more than once. I believed that I was heading in the right direction and trusted that God would help me to find the truth (whether I liked that truth or not!). Yet I felt down deep inside that there must be others who saw the need for communion with the Church Jesus started.
When a Catholic friend (who had formerly been one of my parishioners when I was a Presbyterian pastor) told me about some Anglicans who wanted to become Catholic, things changed. I started reading about this online, and talking to people on the phone who were thinking the same way that I was. I spoke to a couple of Pastoral Provision priests who had travelled the same journey that I had, and they were encouraging to me in numerous ways. I realized that I was not the only one who thought like this. I realized that the work that God was doing on my heart was going on in other’s hearts as well.
And that is what comes to mind this year on our American celebration of Thanksgiving. I am thankful for those others who travelled on that same path that I did. I am thankful for all those who sought full communion like I did. I am thankful for those scattered brothers and sisters who eventually became members of the Ordinariates. I think of you this year, and greatly appreciate the encouragement that you are to me. I rejoice in knowing that you are all “out there” and that the Church is bigger than this little corner that I live in. So this year, I give thanks to God for all of you; for your journeys have helped to sustain my journey. May God bless you richly.