Tuesday, August 5, 2014

¿Catholic or Not ... Just Semantics ? Xiomara J. Pages

¿Catholic  or not ... Just  Semantics ?

Xiomara J. Pages
August  5, 2014

(This article was written  after reading a  Posting about Being Catholic  that my youngest  son JP wrote on his wall  in  Facebook  and the  other  Comments  from different people and friends)

Usually when people, and specially people I love and respect, get into a conversation about Religion or Politics I am very careful  of what I say, and try to listen and respect everyone's point of view.  But  I would like to add my two cents on this  'conversation'.

Catholicism,  or being Christian,  is not  very popular  these days.  I was  born in a Latin  Country in the Caribbean,  raised in a home  with Catholic Foundations and much love and care.   My father was the eldest one of  eight children  to  a very practicing  Catholic Mother...So,  my parents were married by the Catholic Church.....and although  they didn't practice,   my sister and I   were  baptized, took First  Communion, Confirmation, etc. etc......

My Baptism, 1951

I married as well by the Catholic Church like my sister...but it was not a practice at my home to attend Church regularly,  only in Easter, Christmas, etc. or whenever we wanted to,  and attended  many times,  I remember,  to thank God for many good things that happened to us, or to pray for the sick or the departed ones in the family.    My Dad taught me to pray when I was about 3 years old , I still do every night, and as long as my parents lived  we always asked for their parental Blessing.  
I was not used to have confessions  (although my Dad's  godfather was a priest, Dad  was not too sympathetic  to  the Clergy ) and   my practicing Catholic paternal  grandmother  would take us to mass,  when she came to visit us in the city,  or  when  we  spent  Summer vacation in her town.   I grew up with very strong  beliefs in God,  in a very happy home with values and morals,  and respecting,  serving  and  loving others. 
When I met the father of my children (who was then a practicing Catholic from childhood),  we became friends and prior to be engaged and be married, I started being a practicing Catholic like him....I did it with  all my heart. I studied Bible courses, helped and learned in different Church groups and retreats.   There are things  I don't agree with in the Catholic Church,  but I respect it dearly.  I don't attack   nor criticize.

I  respect my friends and family members from wherever  they come from, in religious terms.  God respects our freedom,  and  gave me a mission, one of love for others, accepting and loving, building and not destroying nor hating... however,  I do understand very well,  I cannot call myself Catholic, because I stopped attending Church regularly  some time  before my divorce.

                                           My First Communion,                                                 June  5,  1957

So what I say is...that   I am a Christian (I believe in God, in  Christ with all my heart  and try to take Him with me in everything I say or do)  but  it's more accurate to say,  that  I was raised in a  Catholic background, practiced the religion fully and completely  before and during my  29-year marriage, did a lot of great  things for the Church and with the Church, as the Church did for all of us as a family...and now, after my divorce, I keep certain things, but I cannot call myself a  Catholic.. only that I was raised and keep certain basic fundaments of Catholicism.. I don't attend a  specific church  at the present,  I pray always, I am fully  aware  of my friends and my family's needs and do all the good things I can for them and others,  thru  my life, my  journalism and  books, my motivational speeches, my cultural and artistic  groups,  etc. even what I  post in my   Facebook  and  my  blog and website or my radio programs.

 I take care of a  34-year  old daughter with a rare disorder from birth...  people from different practices of Religion come and visit us, pray with us, and   help us  with physical and emotional needs (money, incontinence supplies, nutrition shakes,  singing, praying, etc),  and only God is my strength to bear everything difficult  in my life and to enjoy life to the fullest.   I don't feel  I am in sin, only that  I chose to be away from the Rituals, the Mass, @  the Catholic  Church  (although I attend mass sometimes if I want to, the same way  I visit the churches of some of my friends as well).....because I am always doing my mission (God's call to help or support  everyone I meet, everywhere, even  in the streets, in my path thru this life).

Xiomara con Sandra su hija, 2013.

I know many people who say they are CATHOLICS, but they believe in                  Re-incarnation,  or attend Yoruba rituals, or are  Spiritualists, or go to Buddhism's Meditations,  or talk about Metaphysics, etc.  I am fine with all of them, I respect them,  but  I  know very well, a practicing Catholic  do not do these things, yet they  call  themselves Catholics or even 'practicing Catholics".

I am glad  I raised my  children  in the Catholic Church and  taht  they attended Catholic Schools until High School...  I am grateful for  all the help I received from that Church  in their raising.... 

            Xiomara con su hijo menor JP, 
                                        Mayo, 2012

I pray for everyone.  Now days I pray for Cuba, Venezuela,  Ukraine, Israel and the innocents in Palestine  as well, for the Christians who are persecuted throughout the world...  and  for so many other countries,  I pray for  peace in the world, and for every good thing in the Planet or the Universe.....but  I  also believe in democracy and freedom, which I couldn't  have in my native land, and  had to go  thru a lot  to come to United States of America and later here to establish myself.....  so I respect everyone,  But JP,  my son,  just posted a point on his Facebook wall, about  what it means to be Catholic...and   that  is not just  Semantics.  That's all !!

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