I am an adult convert to Catholicism, as is my wife. She entered the Church after we were married and knew even less about Catholicism than I did when I entered, which wasn’t much.
Because she knew nothing about the Church, every new thing has provoked wonder or befuddlement, or both. So, for example, when we started going to Mass together, we settled on a beautiful Church where the congregation received communion at a lovely altar rail. She had been to churches where people stood in line and received communion like a mechanical assembly line, so one day, after getting her blessing at the altar rail, she sat back down next to me in the pew and whispered, “That altar rail thing is a good idea. They should tell other churches about that.”
Sighing heavily, I told her that most Catholic churches used to have altar rails, but they tore them out. “Why?” she gasped with a puzzled expression on her face. “To make it more efficient I guess?” I said meekly. “But it doesn’t!” she replied insistently. My wife has no religious background, and she’s not at all what anyone would call “traddy” (she was a Goth-chick slam poet), but she always prioritizes people over process. She recognizes the work of stupid bureaucracy when she sees it, and I have found it is best not to try to explain why some bureaucrat would do something so obviously stupid; best just to leave it alone. So I just shook my head and whispered, “Yeah, well, it’s hard to explain.”
Ever since my wife entered the Church, she has has been filled with questions — things she thinks should have been covered in RCIA, but to her constant exasperation, weren’t.
So, for example, my wife wonders every year what to get our godchildren for holidays. “Why didn’t they cover this in RCIA?” she asks, clearly perturbed that something she thinks other “cradle” Catholics know all about was left out of her Catholic education. I don’t know what to tell her, because although I was given the honor of being godfather to a friend’s baby daughter years before I got married, it never occurred to me to ask whether I should get her a gift on holidays. I pray for my goddaughter all the time. But gifts? Was that supposed to be part of it? They never covered that in RCIA. It’s just not something that ever occurred to me. But my wife gets frustrated with this question every year.
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