Aside from being multicultural, the Ruffolo family is also a minute version of an interfaith council.
Jeff is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), I am Roman Catholic and our dependable Ate Joy is a Seventh-Day Adventist.
For this post, I will dare tackle religion; not the part that differentiates us, but the part that binds us.
Anyone familiar with the Mormons know they are people who don’t smoke and don’t drink alcoholic beverages. Jeff drinks milk and some juices but no wine, no vodka, no rhum, no gin. The only time he probably had those was in his childhood when they named some of their dogs “Cognac” and “Vino”. (I will do away with discussing their doctrines and practices. I’m not an expert and I don’t want to tackle them in this post.)
As an Adventist, Ate Joy does not eat pork, shrimp and crabs. She only eats fish with scales. Because of Ate Joy, we have been conscious about our pork consumption at home. Meatloaf by Jeff is usually just beef. If we do mix pork with beef, Ate Joy is duly informed.
Neither Jeff nor Ate Joy makes the sign of the cross.
My kids know how to make the sign of the cross and they love to say the prayer to their Guardian Angel.
I bring them to Church when we are out, usually on a Saturday. They learned how to say “Our Father” there. Jeff takes them to his Church every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. They are normally home before lunch with sheets of colored figures from their nursery and primary classes.
A friend once asked me if this arrangement will create confusion on our children.
Honestly, I don’t know. We are creating a different culture and practice here which other families may not be doing.
What I can say though is that their behavior point out to a promising result. For instance, their sensitivity amazes me. During evening prayers, they fold their arms and bow their heads when Jeff leads the prayer. After which, we make the sign of the cross and pray. They don’t make the sign of the cross when Dad is leading the prayer.
Why can’t Jeff just convert back to Catholicism? He was after all an Italian American Catholic who served as an altar boy until he was 13. Why can’t I just convert to his religion?
You see when I prayed for Jeff, for the Lord to give me a rightful husband, I prayed for someone who loves God. I wasn’t specific about religion. I just asked for someone who believes and accepts God in his life because if he does, I know he’s going to be a good husband and a good father to our children.
When we dated, we both agreed that we should not aim to convert each other.
Instead, we should aim to speak of the commonalities of our religions and share our faith with our children that will make them better people.
What about our children?
The children were baptized in the Catholic Church. They had their blessing (others call it dedication) with Jeff’s Mormon brothers and sisters. I was even there to witness those moments.
So what will the kids be when they’re grown up?
The answer: it’s all up to them.
I write this with love and peace in my heart. My children, our children, are free to choose their religion. What I’m praying is that they live their lives with love for God, their family, their communities and their countries.
I don’t want to impose my religion on my children. I make them experience it. Jeff is doing the same. If they choose to be Mormons when they are old enough to decide, I will not take it against them.
No religion guarantees a free pass to Heaven.
I don’t teach my children to worship a religion. I teach them to believe in a God who is merciful, kind and just.
I’ll be happy if, in the future, they choose to be Catholics.
But I’ll be happier if they choose to be good Christians with strong faith in the Lord with compassion and empathy towards others.