"You've never been to confession?!" I asked, clearly surprised by this.
"Nope, I'm Protestant. What's it like?"
As a Catholic girl I have lost track of how many times I've had to go to confession. When you're a child apparently you have a lot of sins to confess to. Nothing a few prayers can't fix. The first time you go to confession is right before your First Communion. I was seven years old and terrified. We all stood in line waiting to go into the box where we would confess our poor little hearts out.
When it was my turn I thought I would be sick. I was that nervous. I think this is why I remember my first confession so well. I did not want to barf on the priest. Surely God would be very mad if I barfed on a priest. We are given the choice of having the screen between us or confessing face to face. I decided to face him head on. No screen! I thought hiding my face would make me seem more guilty.
"Bless me father for I have sinned."
"Go on child. Tell me what you have done. God will forgive you."
"Well, sometimes I'm not nice to my litter brother. I should try to be nice to him."
"And I yelled at my mom and felt bad. She put me in time out."
And I continued to spill my little seven year old heart out. Everything I'd ever done wrong. From doing poorly on a spelling test to sneaking cookies before dinner. I was as bad as they came.
"The lord forgives you my child. In the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit, amen."
"Thank you father."
The relief I felt when I was done was overwhelming. I made it and I didn't barf on the priest! And God totally forgives me for sneaking cookies before dinner. What a great day!
The funny thing is, my mother was raised Protestant but converted to marry my father. My brother and I were raised Catholic (this is Boston after all) but I'm interested in learning more about the Protestant religion.
I found pictures online of the church I went to as a child where all of this took place.
Over in the right corner is where terrified seven year old Ginny had her first confession. Catholic churches are beautiful but a little intimidating when you're a kid. The church was built in 1858. Old but beautiful.
If you're lucky I'll ask my mom to dig out my First Communion photo. That photo is a real treat. All I'll say is I loved crimped hair. It was 1992!