We have a lot of patron saint matching requests, but we'll get to that over the weekend. Meanwhile, one of our readers has been pressing for an answer to this question, which I somehow managed to lose in the recesses of my inbox. We can't have that:
I received Eucharist from a protestant church by mistake, thinking it as a catholic church. Was it wrong? Was it a sin? if so, how can I repent? Please answer...
You can put your mind at rest, my dear. A sin is only a sin when you know it's a sin and do it anyhow. You must have been in an Episcopal Church. We sometimes refer to them as "Catholic Lite". All of the Catholic flavor but with less sin and guilt. It was probably called St. Somethingoranother and in you went. Which of these buildings is a Catholic Church? Anyone?
No sin, just chagrin.
Just because you feel embarrassed doesn't mean that your sense of guilt must mean you sinned. Although we should feel ashamed when we sin, a sense of shame doesn't mean a sin occurred.
My Uncle Rob married my Aunt Sharon. Aunt Sharon's mother was a huge lumpy pile of mashed potatoes of a woman and my cousins called her Grandma Dumford. It was a very descriptive name for her. It was also actually her name.
My father owned and operated a small grocery store that was in the family for 75 years. One day, one of his customers came in laughing. He told my dad a hilarious story that had them both in stitches. This man was looking out his front window when he saw an elderly woman walking down the street. As she walked her underwear suddenly just dropped to her feet and, without missing a beat, the old lady calmly leaned over and retrieved them and put them quietly into her purse.
My father often told this hilarious story. One day he was telling the story at a family gathering in which Grandma Dumford was in attendance and while everyone was laughing once again, Grandma Dumford said, "That was me."
Which only made it funnier. I would have dropped dead of embarrassment if that had happened to me, let alone admit, while everyone was laughing, that I was the subject of that big joke involving purses and underpants. I would have wished to turn into a puddle and trickle out through a crack in the floor.
Was anyone sinning? Of course not. The only culprit here is some worn out elastic.
I am a little surprised, however, that you would ask me how to repent. If you actually had done something wrong, like say, strolled into the wrong church, took a look around and realized that you should be down the block but thought to yourself, "Eh. I'll just call it a day here, pick up whatever they call Communion and no one's the wiser." You should not come here and ask me what to do next. You should march yourself over to the nearest Catholic priest holding Reconciliation and confess and HE would tell you how to repent. And do it quickly, because the whole time you dawdle, you're running around with a mortal sin on your soul.
Whenever you sin for now on, don't stop to ask a nun what to do about it. Go to Confession. If you don't know whether you sinned or not, we can discuss, but you're still better off just asking a priest about the whole deal. You don't want to just stuff everything into your purse.