I was christened an infant into the Roman Catholic Church in 1944, and eventually attended catechism to complete First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
My siblings are Catholic, my mother was Catholic, my eldest brother entered the priesthood and finished up a Friar. My wife is a former Catholic, her dad was Catholic, his wife was Catholic, my aunt and uncle were Catholics, and my wife's cousins are Catholic; one of them is qualified to teach Catechism.
I was loyal to Rome for the first 24 years of my life till one day I was approached by a Conservative Baptist minister who asked me if I was prepared for Christ's return.
Well; I must've been either asleep or absent the day that the nuns talked about Jesus coming back because that man's question was the very first time in my whole life that I can remember somebody telling me.
My initial reaction was alarm because I instinctively knew that were I called on the carpet for a face-to-face with Jesus, it would not go well for me because I had a lot to answer for. Then I became indignant and demanded to know why Jesus would come back. That's when I found out for the very first time that it was in the plan for Christ to take over the world.
Then the minister asked me if I was going to heaven. Well; of course I had no clue because Catholics honestly don't know what to expect when they pass away. I was crossing my fingers while in the back of my mind dreading the worst.
Then the man said; "Don't you know that Jesus died for your sins?"
Well; I had been taught in catechism that Jesus died for the sins of the world; that much I knew; but honestly believed all along that he had been an unfortunate victim of circumstances beyond his control. It was a shock to discover that Jesus was thinking of me when he went to the cross, viz: my sins were among the sins of the world that Jesus took to the cross with him.
At that very instant-- scarcely a nanosecond --something took over in my mind as I fully realized, to my great relief, that heaven was no longer out of reach, rather, well within my grasp!
That was an amazing experience. In just the two or three minutes of conversation with that Baptist minister, I obtained an understanding of Jesus' crucifixion that many tedious years of RCC catechism classes had somehow failed to get across. Consequently, my confidence in the Roman Catholic Church was shattered like a bar of peanut brittle candy dropped on the sidewalk from the tippy top of the Chrysler building.
Long story short; I eventually went with that man to his church and, along with him and a couple of elders, knelt at the rail down front and prayed a really simple, naive prayer that went something like this;
"God, I know I'm a sinner. I would like to take advantage of your son's death"
My prayer wasn't much to brag about; but it was the smartest sixteen words I'd ever spoken up to that time.
● Matt 10:32 . .Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.