Yesterday I visited the area known as Old Town Toronto. It was a gorgeous day, with a chill in the air and lots of sunshine.
I went into the Anglican Cathedral of St. James, which was built in the 1850s. I took a flier-cum-tour guide and started to read it as I walked, looking at the stained glass windows, the retired colours of various Canadian regiments, and so on and so forth.
I was reading about the main altar and choir when I saw flash of green and gold go past. I carried on with what I was doing until I got to the Lady Chapel, located to the right of the altar. I then realized that the priest in a green and gold robe was looking at me and with a beaming smile said “We’re going to begin the Eucharist service, and you’re invited to join us”.
How could I refuse? Besides, there was one other guy apart from me. I put my camera away, found a seat and picked up a prayer book. I was a bit lost, so the only other church attendant sat next to me and showed me which page I needed so I could follow the liturgy.
Then it was time for the Eucharist. Uh oh! what to do? (I am a Catholic and we’re not supposed to risk damning our eternal souls by A) taking communion without confession, a sacrament through which your sins are forgiven, and B) let alone do it with the enemy! OK, no the enemy, but a non-Catholic church). But then again, there were three of us by then, so I couldn’t really sneak out the back. So I decided to just sit there with my best poker face.
My best poker face did not work. The priest smiled at me and said in a kind voice “You too.” OoooooK…. I thought I should be alright and not burn in Hell if I took communion since a priest invited me to and, besides, I was in the House of God, wasn’t I? (Actually, I’m not that religious but I can’t shake off my upbringing just like that)
I really did enjoy the service and realized I already knew the formulas! “Lamb of God…” is “Cordero de Dios…” etc. So towards the end I responded in Spanish (in a soft voice). The Anglican High Church and the Catholic Church have a lot in common, except a few pesky items like divorce, women priest, married clergy and a few sacraments, confession being one the Anglicans did away with.
The thing is, this is the second time something like this happened to me. A few weeks ago, when I was on Montreal, I visited the Anglican Cathedral at the time of Eucharist (unbeknownst to me), was invited to participate and since there were three of us, to take Communion as well. Maybe God is calling me?
Afterwards, I visited St. Michael’s, the Catholic Cathedral. Was I feeling guilty? I don’t know, but I just couldn’t go inside. The smell of burnt candle wax and frankincense were so overpowering they almost made me sick and I had to leave. I realized I much prefer Anglican churches, they’re full of light and devoid of all those suffering Christs and bleeding saints. I have nothing against them per se, I just hate those statues. And the Anglican lot are a lot less fussy and complicated, which I find refreshing.
So now I’m in a bit of a quandary: should I still be a Catholic or join the Anglican flock?