Aaron – Southlake, TX

Door Number 1, Door Number 2. This is where my conversion began. My grandpa is/was a Southern Baptist pastor. My wife grew up Catholic. I told her at the beginning of our relationship that I would not convert to Catholicism. She said that’s fine, she’s not ever going to ask me to (though our kids would have to be raised Catholic if we ever married). That’s fine? That response surprised me, and it would not be the last in my journey to the Truth.

My conversion to the Catholic faith has been filled with facts, truth, compassion, and love.

Door number 1 (Eternity in Heaven), door number 2 (Eternity in Hell). That’s fact/truth. When I heard it, I was far from conversion, but my fiancée at the time, now wife, was Catholic. There was no chance I was taking a chance that I would be the cause for my love going through door number 2 by missing Mass or any Holy Day of Obligation, or even an important celebration for that matter. It was cut and dry…and having been in the Navy…that was quite refreshing. Just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it, come rain, shine, or random ice storm.

We went through marriage prep with Father Ken in Muenster. In my mind, I was checking another box for my soon to be wife so that we could get married in the Catholic Church…it’s what would make her and her WHOLE family happy, so yeah, I’m gonna do what it takes. The amount of love they have poured out upon me, I’m gonna love them back, as hard as I can. The main thing I learned in marriage prep…my vocation in life is to get my wife to heaven. What a responsibility! I would not want that objective entrusted to anyone else.

After the wedding, we continued our disciplined attendance to Mass, Holy Days of Obligation, and other celebrations. I prayed that the Lord would move me to conversion if that is His will…and He did…through The Eucharist. I felt myself constantly drawn to The Eucharist, through reading, Adoration, going to the chapel to be near The Eucharist when possible…I yearned to consume my Savior. Hence, my being drawn to Saint Alphonsus De Liguori.

In the Spring of 2015, I went to Father Flynn asking if we could expedite my confirmation and bypass RCIA so that I could partake in The Most Blessed Sacrament and join God’s Church ASAP. He spoke to the Vicar General, and the verdict was…RCIA. No skipping the line. Naturally, I was not excited about the verdict, but I would go through whatever process was necessary, and I thank God for guiding that decision.

It started with 10 weeks of SEEK. I was skeptical at first, thinking it was Christianity for beginners. Oh how was I wrong. I learned about the foundation of the Catholic faith deeper than what I already knew. For example, Rijo taught me a more intimate way to pray that actually brings me closer and more face-to-face with The Trinity on a daily basis. I grew up fearing prayer, always so stressed that my prayer would never be heard because it would never be prayed the right way, with the right words, with enough conviction. The Catholic Faith, the Saints, my wife, SEEK and RCIA…all of them helped drive out my fear of prayer and helped establish this grace from God as a staple in my life. Thank you.

The people I met in SEEK and then RCIA will be a part of me forever. The teachers, sponsors, and converts are imprinted on my heart. I mentioned facts, truth, compassion and love…they embody all of the above. RCIA not only educated me more deeply on the Truth, but also made me feel that I was gradually joining the Church more and more every week. I cannot state enough the appreciation I have to all those involved in SEEK/RCIA…my love for all is deepened because of you.

It was a special week leading to the Easter Vigil. On Holy Thursday, an ex-Army priest washed this ex-Navy Catholic candidate’s feet! I was so nervous the day of Confirmation. So many of my family members that are not Catholic were in attendance, excited to be a part of such an important step in my life. I was so worried that they would not understand the significance of the many readings, the procession, the candles, the sudden darkness to light…but a calm came over me. I suspect my guardian angel and wife had a little something to do with it. I realized that all that matters is that I am completely focused on this wonderful sacrament of Confirmation and Communion…a smile of peace came over me. After skipping over to the other line to make sure that Fr Flynn gave me my First Communion, I fumbled and may have forgotten what to do and say, mainly because I was in awe of the body and blood of Jesus, but my angel got me through, and tears of joy, reverence, and appreciation overcame me as I knelt.

At the end of the Vigil, every member of my family could not stop praising how beautiful the ceremony was to them, and they could tell how significant and special it was to me. We took pictures. Catholic and non-Catholic family and friends gave me wonderful gifts. My mom even gave me a St. Alphonsus medal with the date of my Confirmation engraved on the back. That night I dreamt the entire Easter Vigil again, so I was blessed to enjoy it at least twice.

My conversion has been filled with facts, truth, compassion, and love. God is love. St. Francis of Assisi is full of love. RCIA is full of love. I am blessed to have a heart full of love, and I thank all of you, from my overflowing heart.

Aaron entered the Church at St. Francis of Assisi during the Easter Vigil on Saturday, March 28, 2016.