My spiritual journey has been through various fazes throughout my teenage, but primarily my young adult life. I am an individual who thoroughly enjoys cultural and religious history and have always placed myself (though not always comfortable) in situations to experience the diverse religious culture of friends and acquaintances I have come across in my life. To make a long story short I will say that I was baptized Catholic, however my family walked away from the church when I was 7 years of age. Needless to say, at age 30, about a year ago I reentered a Catholic Church for the first time since I was 7 years old to attend Mass. I only entered prior to that for a couple funeral services, one in particular my grandmother back in 2003.
Anyway, I found myself drawn to Mass and began receiving Holy Communion again, as it is my right to do so. I began attending daily Mass and would often find myself entering the Cathedral about 3-5 times a week including Sunday's. Something always seemed to be missing, and when I actually scheduled a meeting with the priest, it seemed draining. We spoke, however he did not seem very interested in the conversation. This was in the middle of the afternoon in last summer. I even noticed yawns out of him as he sat directly across from me. I have worked in social work for a decade so I understand what sort of energy his job entails, however it was the breaking point for me. I found myself attending mass consistently for about 6 months straight several times a week, but always felt as though spiritually something was missing. Receiving communion was the highlight for me throughout the week and always felt amazing, I must say.
I always battle with logic, reason, faith, and psychology when approaching religion in general, any religion that is. I ask a lot of questions, dig deep for answers and attempt to give all the respect and tolerance they deserve. My journey back to Catholicism lead me to dig deeper into Orthodox history and roots. I also visited a couple Eastern Catholic Churches that were wonderful experiences, however, I never found myself returning after one visit. It is very hard to feel welcomed in Church in general. I then began this past fall to take "inquiry classes" at a local Eastern Orthodox Church (Once a week every Saturday along with attending evening Vespers) that I was greatly interested in, however the classes were rushed. The priest seemed to blow through material and it was not inviting, and seemed as if he was attempting to give us a "fly by night education," one I am not looking for and did not get too much understanding out of. That was something that always turned me off about organized religion as a whole. I have in my journey visited an Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church back on the East Coast where I am from and honestly feel it was the most accepted and welcomed I ever felt in a church. I only visited once, and several men next to me in the church helped me out with my placement in the hymns and during the sermon, myself and two other men, non-Egyptian (we were the only three non-Egyptians in the church) were lead to the front of the church and assisted by a translator just before the sermon. Again, even more reason why I never felt so accepted in any place of worship, ever, besides a mosque I attended once with a friend. The overall experience was lovely. I spoke to the priest, Father Yusef prior to entering that Sunday and he was more than happy to answer questions, speak to me, and went out of his way to return my call after I left a message for his daughter days prior. I apologize right now for making this much longer than I thought it would be, but do want to add, I have always remembered that experience as being very welcoming and most of all the closest to GOD I have ever felt in a place of worship. The reason I write is because I plan on attending an Coptic Orthodox Church here on the West Coast. I plan on speaking to the priest before I attend, but wanted to know what the process of conversion is for an adult? I should not use the term conversion, but acceptance into the true church of Christ? I know there is information on this site, but it is mostly directed to Baptism and Confirmation of children. I would not know what the proper steps are I need to moving towards communion with the church. Any information would be helpful. I plan on calling the priest later this afternoon.
Blessings my friends.