Unequally Yoked: A Catholic Marries an Agnostic (Part I)

***This is the first of a three-part post chronicling the spiritual journey of our marriage. Born and raised a devout Catholic, I didn’t take my faith as seriously in college and began dating a pro-choice agnostic. This is the story of how we balanced the yoke. If you’ve ever wondered if a Catholic can marry an agnostic without compromising the Catholic’s faith, read on. Our story may help you discern whether a marriage of “mixed cult,” or between a baptized and unbaptized party, is a good idea.

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the first of my parents’ six children.  My dad worked as an engineer, and my mom was a stay-at-home mom.  My parents were cradle Catholics, married in the Church, and all six of us were baptized as babies.  My dad had attended 12 years of Catholic school, and was well-formed in his faith.  Though Catholic, my Mom’s family stopped attending Mass when she was a teenager.  As she got older and without a supportive foundation at home, Mom fell away from the Church.  My Daddy always went to Mass, even when he was sick.  Momma chose to attend a Protestant church, and my brother and I always chose to go to church with her.  It was more fun, after all.  The preacher sent the kids to “children’s church,” where we got grape juice, goldfish crackers, and talked about God.  It was SOOOO much more fun than Daddy’s “boring” church!

When I was in third grade, my dad invited me to attend First Friday devotions with him at his parish.  I will never forget those special nights with him.  We attended Adoration and Benediction together, and I was mesmerized by the incense, the chanted prayers, the Latin, and the solemnness of this type of prayer. Even though Dad’s church was “boring,” those Friday nights really stirred my soul.  Looking at the Blessed Sacrament in the beautiful Monstrance, I was transfixed.  I didn’t know it yet, but I was falling in love with Jesus. Continue reading

My Very First 7 Quick Takes #7QT


Today, I am ridiculously excited to roll out my very first 7 Quick Takes! Seems like a fitting way to end my first official week of blogging here at OeLeM. And thus, without further ado…

— 1 —

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In a nod to my #7QT host blog, Conversion Diary, I recommend that you get your hot little hands on a copy of Jennifer Fulwiler’s memoir Something Other Than God. It’s a quick read. I laughed, I cried — I couldn’t put it down, then proceeded to buy two more copies to send to friends. (Also, watch the video in that link. You won’t regret it.)

— 2 —

Last weekend, I was blessed to be able to attend the Fullness of Truth conference held at our home parish of St. John Vianney here in Houston. The topic was the New Evangelization, and how we as Catholics have a duty to evangelize not only those who have never heard of Christ, but specifically to those who have heard of Christ but do not yet truly know Him. It was my first time to hear each of the three presenters speak, and I was inspired by the talks from Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Michael Barber, and Dr. John Bergsma. The talks for the weekend aren’t uploaded to the Fullness of Truth site for purchase yet, but they should be soon.

— 3 —

Fortnight for Freedom graphicJune 21st marks the beginning of the Third Annual Fortnight for Freedom, led by the United States Conference of Catholic bishops. According to the website, “The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2014, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The theme of this year’s Fortnight will focus on the freedom to serve the poor and vulnerable in accord with human dignity and the Church’s teaching.” Check out their website for ideas to celebrate, discuss, and pray for religious freedom in the United States. What is your parish, or family, doing to observe the Fortnight?

— 4 —

I visited London for the first time recently, and one of the things I fell in love with over there was a little eatery called Pret-A-Manger. It’s a Subway-meets-Panera-meets-Starbucks kind of joint, and they are all over London. They have many different varieties of deliciousness crammed into their cafes, but my favorite takeaway was a yummy beverage called “Yoga Bunny Detox.” No, I’m not kidding:

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Oh, to have a Yoga Bunny Detox and a Salmon and Dill Mustard wrap right now…alas, the closest location to this girl is in Chicago. That’s a bit far from the Texas coast, y’all!

— 5 —

My daughter Elizabeth makes her First Communion next spring, and I am already getting excited! I’ve started a whole Pinterest board devoted to possibilities for the dress. I would love to do something that incorporates my wedding dress, but it’s satin, and I had more of a cottony look in mind. Maybe something with smocking? Anyway, the big day is still a way off, but we’ve already started reviewing her Catechism questions. She has eagerly been explaining to anyone who will listen that she is going to be able to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus “in just a few more months!” Seeing her so happy at the mere thought of receiving Our Lord is such a joy to me.

— 6 —

Happy feast of St. Anthony of Padua! St. Anthony is the patron my husband chose for his very own when he was Baptized and Confirmed last year. We celebrate feast days of our patrons in a big way around here — almost as big as our birthday celebrations! This often means that, just like a birthday, I’m up at the crack of dawn baking or cooking a special breakfast for everyone before I leave for work. It’s important to us that we impress upon our children that the Saints in Heaven are our friends and our intercessors, and to make their presence tangible for the kids. We started this morning off with Pain Perdue, or “Lost Bread,” which is a fancy way of saying “french toast.” The bread is considered “lost” because french toast is traditionally made with stale, or “lost” bread that would otherwise be thrown out. This breakfast is the perfect start to the day set aside to honor the patron saint of lost souls and lost articles! We will also have some goldfish later as a snack, in recognition of St. Anthony’s sermon to the fish, and then Daddy gets to choose what’s for supper. If there’s time, we will also attempt to pot some basil plants, another tradition associated with the feast day. And just before bed, we will curl up for some of Fr. Lovasik’s great storytelling as we learn about this great saint!

— 7 —

As I mentioned in my Intro post, I am a huge fan of the Divine Mercy devotion. I particularly like to pray the chaplet during the Hour of Mercy at 3pm every day, but this is not always feasible in the workplace. There are meetings, conference calls, and other types of distractions that keep me from faithfully keeping this devotion during the workweek. Often, I don’t even realize it’s so late in the afternoon already. So, what to do? For now I set an appointment on my calendar, which is synced to my phone and desktop, that reminds me at 3:00 to focus on the Mercy of Christ for one minute. This can consist of something as simple as repeating to myself, “Jesus, I trust in You,” or, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” I also try to focus on the small Divine Mercy holy card that I have taped near my desk. One minute isn’t much, but it’s better than forgetting altogether or rushing through the devotion just to get back to work faster. I’d love to hear your ideas on how to observe certain prayer times (Divine Mercy hour, the Angelus, Liturgy of the Hours) in the chaos of your day!

Thanks for a great first week of blogging — have a wonderful and safe weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!