Dear Padre

I am a parishioner at St. Stephen the Martyr in Renton. I reside in Kent. I am 24 years old and employed as an accountant in a firm in the downtown Seattle area. I am engaged to be married and my fiance lives in Tukwila (we are getting married in August after my fiance finishes her studies at the UW).

I have been Catholic all my life however during my college years I spent some time in an Orthodox church. I had a friend from high school whose father was an Orthodox priest. While attending the UW he invited me to attend a service at the church. I really liked the liturgy and there was a sense of mystery that I felt the Catholic church was lacking. After attending the church for about six months the priest asked me to become a reader (the lowest level of deacon in that particular church). I did so and I served for another six months or so. The attendance at the parish was relatively low and I began to miss the Church that I loved. After serious prayer and the lack of growth at the Orthodox parish I felt that God wanted me back at the Catholic church. I returned and I feel I have a much stronger faith than ever before. I feel for me to leave the church again would be heretical.

I still miss that lack of mystery that existed at the Orthodox church, and I feel I have to take an individual initiative to get that feeling back (praying the rosary, reciting the Animi Chrisi after Eucharist, etc). I am also turned off by dissent within the church ( argument for women's ordination, inclusive language, etc). I find that the more I pray, the less these things bother me and I tend to put more faith in the leaders within the church.

I check your web site daily as it is one of my favorite bookmarks. As a priest, do you know any good books I can read regarding "orthodox" Catholicism? I also am particularly interested in the history of the Saints.

Thank you for your time and your service to the church. I pray that your web site continues to be a sucess.

God Bless,