Growing up as a Catholic, especially one that lived where it was common to be a Catholic, there are certain things that I always just took for granted. Having a statue of Mary in the garden, saying the rosary, and religious photos around the house.
Living in Virginia as a Catholic we are definitely in the minority. I never feel questioned about my religion or really called to defend it, but I would if I had to. Instead I silently wonder what the non-Catholic people who come to my house think when they see Mary in the garden or the large photo of Padre Pio on my kitchen wall. Or when Jacob tells his friends who call at 3:30 we didn't answer the phone because we were in the middle of saying the rosary.
At mass this past weekend we honored the Blessed Mother with a May crowning celebration. It passed through my thoughts, as I sat in the pew, "What would those non-Catholics be thinking of this ritual?" From an outsiders perspective I can see why they may say things like, "Those Catholics worship idols." or "They worship a cookie." But, I know the true reasons behind what we do, so in some respects I wish they would ask me. So I could be given the opportunity to defend my faith, and maybe help them understand a little better.
Maybe I will just be thankful I don't have to defend my faith or religion in this country. Or, at least for now...