My family and I became Catholics 15 years ago. As a welcome gift, my sister gave me a T-shirt emblazoned with "The Top Ten Reasons to Remain Roman Catholic."
Now that I have a few years under my belt, I’ve come up with some reasons of my own.
So here they are: Cram’s 35 Reasons to be Roman Catholic.
1. Catholics have the world’s best pipe organs.
2. The Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church.
3. The Mass is steeped in Scripture.
4. Gorgeous windows.
5. Apostolic succession, which is a direct line from the apostle Peter to the pope.
6. The tabernacle.
7. There’s a saint for every interest. Did you know there are patron saints for swine, fear of wasps and unattractive people?
8. Confession. It is not fun, but what a fantastic deal!
9. The rosary.
10. Donut coupons on the back of the parish bulletin.
11. Incense, bells, candles and other sensory reflections of God’s richness.
12. Daily Mass. It is an unspeakable luxury.
14. You can sing badly and no one minds.
15. Advent, which invites us to prepare our hearts for the Savior.
17. Catholic funerals are the best anywhere.
18. Our priests. They rock.
19. Our deacons and their wives. They rock, too.
20. Nine o’clock Mass doesn’t start until 9:06.
21. Children’s voices.
22. The communion of saints praying for us. As my T-shirt says, talk about friends in high places!
23. Two thousand years of history, tradition and teaching.
24. Pope Benedict XVI is our very own German shepherd.
25. You can attend Mass anywhere in the world and you will recognize the liturgy.
26. Stations of the Cross.
27. Lent: a much-needed season of penitence and preparation.
28. The Catholic Church’s leadership in the fight against abortion.
29. Scripture. It’s one of the most underused gifts in all of Christendom.
30. Devotion to the Blessed Mother.
31. No one does weddings like the Catholic Church.
32. The Triduum, the three days from Holy Thursday to Easter, when we journey with Jesus from the upper room to the empty tomb.
33. Infant baptism.
34. Catholic hospitals, schools, charities and outreach programs.
And the very best reason to be Roman Catholic:
35. The Eucharist, body, blood, soul and divinity.
The Eucharist is Jesus himself, and we are privileged to receive him every day if we wish. It reminds me of a rabbi who once told his Catholic friend, "If I believed what you believe about the Eucharist, I would crawl on my belly to receive it."
We have such treasures as Catholics. What are your top reasons for being Catholic?
Regina Cram lives in Glastonbury and is a freelance writer.