The first thing Angel Ellingboe told me when I asked her why she recently decided to become a Catholic at age 54 was, “I felt very welcome.”

Raised in a loving home with two committed parents who baptized her in the Methodist Church that she attended for most of her life, Angel was recently introduced to the Catholic faith through her caregivers who attend Sts. Simon and Jude Parish in Huntington Beach.

“I grew up in the Methodist Church,” Ellingboe said, “and have gone to Methodist churches for most of my life…but I wasn’t getting out of church what I wanted to.” She added that several years ago there was a change in ministers and, she said, “I just couldn’t connect. So I stopped going.”

Her caregivers, who had stopped attending their own Catholic church for a time, told her they were ready to return. Ellingboe asked if she could attend with them. That was the beginning of her new life as a Catholic.

What drew her to the faith? What did she see with fresh eyes from the “outside” that inspired her to become a Catholic?

“It’s the feeling I got of being in Mass,” Ellingboe said. “I like the reverence and how it’s very serious, and yet, at times it can be very light, which is nice, too.” Ellingboe continued: “I like the routine. I was really drawn to having Communion every time you went to Mass. I’ve always known what it is and what is stands for, but it seems that the Catholics see Communion as such an integral part of the worship. To me, it helps me be drawn closer to God.”

Another reason for her interest: “I really, really like our Pope,” Ellingboe said. “That’s another factor that drew me–our current pope. I like how humanistic he is and I like what he stands for. I like the fact that the Catholic Church has its stands on social issues, because I think somebody needs to.”

Her journey to Catholicism began 18 months ago when she started the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) where she and about 20 others learned about the Eucharist, Scripture, the organization of the Church and about the saints, a new concept to Ellingboe.

When it came time for confirmation, Ellingboe selected Annette Carrozzo as her sponsor. “I consider Annette a very close friend and I have always known that her faith is strong.”

She chose St. Louise de Marillac as her confirmation name. “She worked with St. Vincent de Paul and she’s a patron saint of social workers,” she said. Angel works as a clinical social worker.

Fully initiated into the faith, Ellingboe says she loves attending Mass. “I don’t want to miss Mass–it’s not okay if I miss,” she said. “It’s like, wow, this week has gone by and it’s Sunday. I don’t have the desire to sleep in. It’s like, ‘Let’s get up and go!’”

Thank you, Angel, for inspiring us to do the same.