My name is Greg. I am a 25 year old member of _____ parish and I have been what I would call a true Catholic for only the past seven years or so. I was baptized as a baby and raised "Catholic", but, unfortunately, all this meant was that I was forced to go to Mass about 50 out of 52 Sundays a year. That was all. No prayer, no confession, no talk of God, nothing. I went to a "Catholic" grade school and high school, but this didn't exactly help much. I heard that Bishop Fulton Sheen once said that "if you want your children to have to fight for their faith, send them to public schools, and if you want them to LOSE their faith, send them to Catholic schools." How very true I have found this to be.
My faith as a teenager, just like the faith of 98% of the rest the diocese I'm afraid, could pretty much be summed up by saying that, for whatever reason, I was "proud to be Catholic, but it was too bad the Church didn't know what it was talking about when it taught that..." and an endless laundry list of things like birth control, celibate clergy, the infallibilty of the pope, and so forth would spew forth. The "old man in the Vatican" had a very misguided idea of what spiritual life should be like for us Americans and for youth, the rosary was a boring habit for old ladies with lots of extra time on their hands, and the Eucharist, tragically, was nothing but a piece of bread. The idea that it could actually be (is) a Person never crossed my mind!!! (And I was raised in a Catholic home and in atholic schools!)
Praise God, shortly after turning 18, somebody up above called my number! I came upon a Catholic bookstore with lots of really good, orthodox Catholic materials in it, and the owner of the store "just happened" to attend a weekly prayer group that she invited to attend. I accepted the invitation to the (Rosary praying) group, wherein some article of the (real) faith was taught each week, along with the prayers of the Rosary, and sometimes even Mass, and very quickly began ascending the spiritual ladder. Boy do I have a different view of Catholicism now! Praise God, praise God, praise God!!!
But anyway! Now understanding the tremendous gift that "old man in the Vatican" is to the Church in these times with his faithfulness and keen spiritual insight, that Mary is really alive and well and very much present to us a powerful intercessor (and not at all boring!), and that, as amazing and incomprehensible as it is, the Eucharist is Jesus Christ "in the flesh", I want to thank you so very much for your faithfulness to the true Catholic faith. No, we have never met, but I know what kind of priest you are. Heading up a Courage group in the Archdiocese of Seattle, one of the homosexual capitols of the world, takes a great deal of courage indeed! There seem to be so many ministries to homosexuals which, at best, "maintain the status quo", and, at worst, teach that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable. "Courage" in the Seattle area is vitally needed and, I'm sure, not an easy thing to be in charge of. In addition to this, I just recently was visiting a website called CatholiCity (are you familiar with it?) and was checking out their links to toher sites when I came upon yours! Just the simple fact that your site would be linked by this site told me a lot to begin with. Then browsing through some of the material you have on your site and some of the links, really just confirmed what I already believed. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much! I know you have impacted many lives for Christ by your faithfulness, and I'm sure Jesus is well pleased. Keep up the good work! You are in my prayers.