My idea behind attending a religious service other than that of my own church upbringing was for two specific reasons: 1) It was an assignment during my Master’s program that I “faked,” thus leaving me with a guilty conscience and 2) There is a mansion on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay that I drive past all the time which happens to be a Buddhist… temple? House of faith. It looks super fancy with all the mercedes, lamborghinis, ferraris, bugatti’s in the parking lot and a huge glittering sign written in a language I cannot decipher. Thru googling alone I discovered it was Buddhism, but no where on it’s gated entrance or on the internet does it say I am welcomed. Phooey! I want in!
But alas, I decided I rather put my money in an offering basket where it was welcomed and needed. Believe it or not, I’ve never attended a Catholic Sunday Worship Service. Weddings, Funerals, Quinceaneras, sure. Mass? no.
This experience was more intimidating for me than one might think, too, because I chose a Church that was incredibly small with not many regular attendees. Living on the outskirts of Pescadero, a town of 600, I had heard through the grapevine that both the Catholic Church here and the Community Church here are hurting for members. Maybe not so much donations (tho that is nice too) because the churches are overseen and managed by an alliance of Churches that keep small places like these afloat. For me, my personal preference has been to go unnoticed at church. I don’t know why. Maybe I know why but rather than explain it. Nonetheless, to walk in to a Catholic Service where I don’t know customs/rituals/etc. and hope to go unnoticed amongst the 25 or so in attendance, well, that’s not going to happen. And it didn’t happen. I don’t know why I thought it was such a big deal. Maybe because I didn’t want to give them the false hope that I’d join the Catholic Faith and boost their numbers. I didn’t want to be honest either and tell them they were part of my own little social experiment.
But it didn’t matter in the end because no one asked. Besides some smiles and hellos, no one wanted more from me. It turns out Catholicism at this church is much like my own home church. I enjoyed the service, the message and reconnecting a little with something I’ve been lousy at keep up. Mornings are hard for me to get up and get 2 girls going with. Though I’m not looking to make excuses because I know many women take no issue with wrangling much larger families than my own to church.
I suppose if I could do this task over, I might really go for the gold and attend an Islamic service. If I am welcomed. I think I was hoping simply to expand my horizons and worldly understandings.