Fandango’s Flashback Friday: 2/19/21

This was originally published on one of my old blogs in 2011.

Not In Any Of The Usual Ways

Those of you who have been reading my blog know that
I am a Jewish convert to the Catholic Church. What you
may not know, however, is that I am also a revert. Yes,
I was, for several years, NOT a practicing Catholic.
I can’t go into why I left the Church. All I will say is
that it involved several people from my parish, one man
in particular. (No, not a priest. I want to make that clear, in the light of the recent scandals.)
Okay. The important part, the crux of the matter, is what
led me back to the Church. Let’s just say, I was not brought
back in any of the usual ways.
I didn’t discover EWTN while channel-surfing; in fact,
it was several years AFTER my return that I started watching
EWTN.
I didn’t find, hidden in a drawer, one of my old rosaries
or medals.
I didn’t come across one of my forgotten Catholic books.
So, what, or rather who, got me back into the Church?
Well, first of all, of course, God.
But who was His instrument? Well, hold on to your hats!
I was moved to return to the Church by a Catholic character by the name of Joe Carlino on the now defunct soap opera, “Another World”.
Joe was very much a Catholic character. Not that he never did anything wrong; like all well-written characters, he had his flaws.
But what I remember most was how often he prayed. And it
never seemed forced; it seemed like the most natural thing
in the world for him to pray.
Not that watching Joe live out his Faith got me back right away. No. It took a couple of years. I felt a tug, but I wasn’t
QUITE ready yet.
Or so I thought, until February 17th, 1997, when Gabe McNamara, the captain of the 23rd Precinct, under whom Joe served as a detective, was shot.
I still remember the scene at the hospital. The doctors were
working over Gabe, and Joe was standing there, to the side,
praying, and praying, and praying. By the time Gabe was
pronounced dead, there wasn’t a viewer of “Another World”
who did not know the Hail Mary.
And, as Joe prayed, I heard myself praying with him. Yes, I
knew it was just a tv show, and yet, it seemed so RIGHT to
be repeating those words, those words I hadn’t spoken in
years.
I thought, and I prayed, and, one week plus one day later,
I walked over to the Rectory.
The next morning, I went to Mass and received Holy Communion for the first time in too many years.
God DEFINITELY moves in mysterious ways sometimes.

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