My First Convert

She was already a Christian. She was my mother, and had me baptized in the Catholic Church. And then, in Manhasset, she and Dad took me out of the Munsey Park School when a parent came into our class to bawl out the teacher (yes, in front of the students) and put me and my brothers in St. Mary’s. We grew up with a Protestant outlook in an Irish and Italian Catholic environment, and she listened with interest when we came home after school.

She spoke with the nuns about our education, and she liked what she heard. She realized they made things easier for her, and she heard about our preparation for our first Holy Communion. She watched when the bishop gave us our confirmation (in those days he gave you a ceremonial slap on the cheek), but I don’t know if it was she or we who first suggested she go to Fr. Concannon for instruction on becoming a Catholic.

It wasn’t an easy step. I saw how hard it was for her to explain her move to our Protestant relatives, who had the greatest respect for her. It was one of those big, hard to understand events in life.

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