Catholicism


In the final analysis, for the believer there are no questions,


and for the non-believer there are no answers.


-The Haffetz Hayyim


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Sunday, July 14, 2001, I visited The Church of The Little Flower located at 2711 Indian Mound Trail, Coral Gables, FL 33134. The Church is open for worship everyday between the hours of 6:00 AM and 9 PM. There are three masses held daily. Two of them are in English and one of them is held in Spanish. The English masses are held at 6:15 and 8:00 o’clock in the morning. The Spanish mass is held at 5:00 in the evening. On Friday and Saturday the Church customarily hosts sacramental weddings. Baptisms are customarily held on Sunday afternoons. Sunday is said to be the first day of the week. Sunday masses are held at 7:30, 9:00, 10:30, A.M. and 12:30, 5:30 and 7:00 PM.


Catholicism is the first sect of Christianity. Similar to Jewish and Muslim tradition Catholicism is monotheistic. Unlike Jewish and Islamic beliefs, Catholicism’s perception of G-d is three-dimensional. The Catholic’s three-dimensional view of G-d is called the “Holly Trinity.” The Holy Trinity consists of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the second person in the Holy Trinity. The Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ without sexual relations by the divinity of the “Holy Spirit.” Jesus was sent to the people to be the redeemer and he did so by sacrificing his life. The sacrifice of Jesus redeemed his followers and grants them the opportunity to be the children of G-d. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is believed to have been three days subsequent to his death. Other Christian sects began to branch from Catholicism during the eleventh century Orthodoxy.


Catholicism has come a long way since it’s earlier times, with its diminishing dogmatic views. However in recent years the Catholic Church has begun to regress in that very same aspect after overcoming the suppression it had on other beliefs. Within the same geographical area Catholic churches slightly vary from one to another based on the influence of the parish leader. Some Churches are more conservative than other, the songs and hymns might vary however fundamental scriptures do not change between churches.


Having been raised in a predominantly Catholic community, on numerous occasions I have attended and participated in various church events such as baptisms, weddings (where I was Best Man at Church of The Little Flower for my friend Angel Larramendi’s wedding), and common Sunday masses. On previous occasions, because of insecurities with my own religious beliefs in Judaism, I’ve been very reluctant to enter a place of worship with an open mind, heart, body and soul. I attribute my unwillingness to participate in any ceremony outside of Judaism to the fact that I was aware of my susceptibility to being influenced by other faiths. As Sunday July 14th approached I was apprehensive about attending the services because of my newfound promise to myself to actively participate with an open mind in the services.


As I walked up the limestone steps last Sunday morning a sense of holiness began to engulf me. Entering the threshold of the Church gave me a feeling I had never had before in any place of worship. The scent of incense, the flickering candles, the stained glass windows and the holy water - an ambiance to which I was once indifferent – now became enticing. This new experience padded my senses with warmth. As I observed members of the Congregation dipping their right hand into the holy water and then genuflecting, I followed their actions. I had always felt as though I was distinguishable as a Jew because of my lack of ritualistic knowledge and perhaps even because of my ethnicity. This visit to the Church, whether my faith by origin was apparent or not no longer mattered to me. I was there for the same reason everyone else was; because I truly wanted to establish a connection between G-d and myself. Ultimately, I was soul-searching for a house of worship through which I could establish a relationship with G-d. If doing so entails my attending a Catholic Church, Muslim Mosque, or Hindu Temple, for example, then my religious-search goal served its purpose.


On my many visits