The following is a guest essay from Shari Summerson while Fr David is on vacation.
“…in my hour of need.”
The Catholic Church has changed tremendously since I left the church in 1963. I never left God and I did attend other churches, but I carried around a heavy burden of resentment for fifty-four years. I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools, but when I was seventeen and pregnant the church, in my eyes, let me down. The priest in my area would not marry my fiancé and me because the church believed that we were too young to commit to a lifetime together and the church doesn’t believe in divorce. I was heartbroken and left the faith. I carried that grudge for years, but still felt like I was Catholic even though I thought they had abandoned me in my hour of need.
I said in the beginning that the Catholic Church has changed tremendously, and so have I! Over the years I developed the attitude that I didn’t need a formal setting for my faith, that I could just pray on my own and that was enough. Then I saw the power of prayers and the strength in a community praying for my survival.
I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2013 and became very sick very quickly. By November of 2014, I was dying and waiting for a lung transplant. All of my family, friends, fellow teachers, and students prayed for me. I believe that God listened and saved me. On December 7, 2014, I received a lung transplant which was a miracle from God. I had been in a medical coma for ten days and December 7 was the day that I was going to be removed from life support because of deterioration, and that was the day a lung came. I feel that only a miracle from God can explain this.
Like I said before, I felt like I was always Catholic and I had decided that I needed to give back to show my gratitude to God. I started looking around for churches and with some encouragement from my son, I decided to come and pour my heart out to Father David. He was just the right person, I know that God led me to Our Savior Parish. Father listened to me and encouraged me to join the RCIA classes so I could better understand all the changes that had taken place in the Catholic Church since Vatican Council II. The classes and the fellowship of the parishioners have given me renewed hope and have strengthened my faith. I am finally relieved of the hurt and resentment that I carried for years.