My mom and dad were Lutheran so my mom dragged me, kicking and screaming to Lutheran Church every Sunday. We attended Outer Drive Faith Lutheran Church in the Northwest section of Detroit and I also went to Lutheran Schools from Kindergarten through the 10th Grade; Greenfield Peace Lutheran, Elementary School and Lutheran High West.
My parents were divorced when I was about 5 years old, so I struggled as a child of divorce, but thank God every day for a strong Woman of God in my mother. When I reached the ‘mature’ age of 13, I then told my mother, “I am tired of going to this boring Lutheran Church.” Immediately she retorted “BOY, you are GOING to go to someone’s church!” Now mind you, I was never afraid of my father, who was (after his retirement) 6 foot 3 inches tall and had ballooned up to about 360 pounds. Dad was a mammoth of a man, who had a true passion for Golf. Dad, in the early to mid 1970’s was hitting drives, LEGITIMATELY averaging almost 305 yards, and this was during the time of WOODEN Woods, yet I was not afraid of him; I was TERRIFIED of my mother, so when she TOLD me I was going to go to someone’s church, I said the magic TWO-Words…. “Yes Maam.”
I called a buddy of mine, Maurice and told him I needed to go to church with him, so he said yes. Now mind you, I had been raised in the Lutheran church; very VERY solemn, conservative, (we were Missouri Synod Lutherans), boring… in and out in an hour and that was it. Maurice had taken me to his church. Now mind you this was about 1978 and there were no such things as ‘Mega-Churches’ at that time, but he belonged to Greater Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan and I walked in the door of that church and saw almost 2,000 people all on their feet, jumping, shouting, singing, dancing and praising the Lord. There was an 80 person Gospel Choir along with a musical accompaniment of approximately 8-10 different instruments. It was like a CONCERT on Sunday… this was my first real exposure to worship. I previously I had just ‘gone’ to church or ‘attended’ church, because it was something you were ‘supposed to do’, mandated by my mother, yet this was a different, more personal experience if you would. It personalized a ‘relationship’ with Jesus for me in the celebration of Him and Worshipping Him.
Fast forward to about 1984 when I got into the U.S. Army (honorably discharged 5 ½ years later) Military Police Corps, there were only Protestant services and Catholic Services. I went to the Protestant services and did not really care for it; went to the Catholic service and thought to myself, “this is similar to what I grew up with”, we even said in the Nicene Creed, “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church”, so I took from that, meaning “I must be catholic!” Little did I know there was and IS a difference in the meanings of the word catholic and Catholic. When you see catholic (small letter ‘c’) this means universal; when you see Catholic (capital C) this means the Catholic Church.
So I proceeded to attend Catholic Churches and when I had to re-enlist for my second tour of duty in the Army, I even changed my dog-tags from Lutheran to Catholic! So, I was Catholic… (Or so I thought), Uncle Sam stamped it on my dog-tags! Mind you, I was living a ‘worldly life’ if you will, still focusing on worldly aspects; clubs, drinking, partying, women, etc., yet just ‘GOING’ to Church on Sunday’s, not taking it very serious. I even had someone when I was stationed in Indianapolis, who was Catholic explain to me the devotion of Saint Christopher, which I had embraced at the time and wore a St. Christopher’s Medal around my neck. (This would be the Baptismal Name I would choose when I came into Full-Communion with the Church several years later). I moved to Oakland California where I resided from 1988 to 1998. I continued in living a ‘worldly life’, not really getting serious in my Faith, but sought out and found a wonderful Catholic Church of which I attended regularly. You see, living on the West Coast, NFL Football games would come on television about 9 or 10am, so I could go to Mass on Saturday at 5pm and still be good to sleep in and watch TV on Sunday… shows you were my priorities were at that time!
I moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1998 and found a Church. Lord have mercy, this was no ordinary Church I had ever been to! St. Alphonsus Liguori “Rock” Church in St. Louis, Missouri is an African-American Catholic Church; meaning there is emphasis on the ‘Afri-centric’ Worship experience. It is 100% Roman Catholic, but a very UPLIFTING and true WORSHIP experience. From the very first Sunday I walked into the Rock Church, I knew it was something special. It reminded me of that Baptist church I had attended in Detroit as a young man; this Church had a 40 person Gospel Choir, uplifting and joyous music and a Priest that was TRULY on FIRE for Preaching the Word of God!
I wanted to become involved in the Church and become a member… well… I got BUSTED! They asked if I was Catholic and I responded YES; after-all, I had been attending Catholic Church for almost 19 years and it was even stamped on my dog-tags that I was Catholic. I truly believed I was Catholic at that time, until they asked me about these things… they are somewhat important…. Starts with a ‘S’ and ends with an ‘s’…. SACRAMENTS! They asked me about those, and I was busted! I had no clue what they were speaking of, and was told I needed to go through R.C.I.A; Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.
When I got into R.C.I.A., I then realized what had been calling me to the Catholic Church ever since I was a little boy; John 1:14 “…and the Word became Flesh and made His Dwelling among us…”. The Eucharist; the TRUE Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It was not just ‘communion’, it was not just bread, or a cracker, or a wafer and wine, it was the TRUE BODY of Jesus and it was and IS the TRUE BLOOD of Jesus!
This knowledge transformed my life, my ways of thinking, living and what I was going to do in the future. I often tell people, I fell in love with my Catholic Faith so much that I wound up marrying my R.C.I.A. instructor! I came into Full Communion with the Church on Holy Saturday, April 19, 2003, and for the next several years I had prayed that God would send me a Beautiful Woman, a Holy woman, a Spiritual Woman; a woman I could continue to grow and learn my Faith from. I thought the Lord was going to have to let me marry a Nun! He gave me my beautiful Bride, Donna L. (Grant) Lane, and we were wed in St. Alphonsus Liguori “Rock” Church on May 27, 2006.
Jesus said, in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…”, and the Church has given me the Vision of how Jesus has and continues to make a Way out of no way for me in my life; how Jesus has shown me Truth in His Church and in my own personal life; How Jesus gives us eternal life, if we continue to do His Will and Follow His Church; He gives us the ‘fullness of the means of Salvation’ within His Church. The Eucharist! The Body of Jesus; the Blood of Jesus; the Soul of Jesus; the UNENDING Divinity of Jesus is all contained within the Eucharist! Why am I Catholic? I will give you one guess; it starts with an E and ends with a T!
There is no other way back to God, without going through Jesus; and we (Catholics) have Him present with us at the Celebration of the Mass! I no longer just ‘go’ to Church or ‘attend’ Church; I RUN to the CELEBRATION of the Mass each Sunday and every day I possibly can. I RUN to be in COMMUNION with Him; I RUN to be in His Presence in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Alter; I RUN to prostrate myself in front of “My Lord and My God!”
This is why my wife and I have dedicated our lives (Qorban), to God in serving Him. I travel the World doing Men’s Conferences, Parish Missions, Catholic Revivals; preaching His GOOD NEWS of Salvation to others; encouraging and uplifting others to understand the DEEPER meaning and DEEPER relationship that God desires to have with ALL of us! Cradle Catholics and Converts alike, we must have a DAILY Conversion of Heart, Mind and Spirit; a DAILY renewal of Heart to the Lord; a TOTAL, COMPLETE and RADICAL Trust in the Lord, is what He calls for us to have; to give our lives totally and completely to Him… after-all, Jesus gave His Life, totally and completely for us!
Why I became Catholic; “and the Word became Flesh and made His Dwelling among us, and we saw His Glory, the Glory as of the Father’s only Son, FULL of Grace and Truth!” ~John 1:14
If you would like more information on Richard's Ministry or perhaps how to invite Catholic Evangelist Richard Lane to speak at your next Men’s Conference, event or lead your next Parish Mission, please see his website at http://www.CatholicEvangelist.net