Jesus Christ loves us all and has the number of hairs on our heads counted. The Lord has prepared a grace filled, intricate and unique road for every person to travel on. The goal of this journey is eternal life with God. I have been asked to share a brief summary of my journey thus far. The fact that you are reading this now is evidence of my acceptance of this privileged request to bring glory to God’s name through my story.
My name is Hubert M. Sanders, Jr. I am married to Monica Mouton and we have four beautiful daughters: Gabrielle Elise, Rhea Noelle, Michelle Marian, and Nylah Anlaurelle. Currently, I teach Catholic theology at St. Frances Cabrini High School. After a long journey filled with God’s grace, I have acquired a M.A. degree in theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. My family attends Presentation Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church. I do part-time work at the Church on Tuesday nights by leading a faith sharing / apologetics coffeehouse entitled “Vibes at the Coffeehouse”.
My story starts at my conception in August of 1973. In the midst of evil being unleashed in the world with the infamous Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion across the board in the United States, I became the fruit of Christian marriage. I was born on April 26, 1974. Those early days escape my memory but according to my parents, Hubert and Wanda, I was a very “hairy” baby!!!!!!
Christianity was fed to me right along side my formula. My parents made it a point to introduce me to Jesus very early. I cannot remember a time when I did not know about Jesus. One of the first lessons of Christianity I learned was that of sharing. The birth of my younger sister, Kimberly, in 1977 was the event that fostered and encouraged this lesson. I had to share my toys now!!!!
Our upbringing was centered in my mother and father pointing us to Jesus Christ. They never put on airs of being better than they really were. I always saw my parents on the road to Jesus. The Christian faith was not just verbally taught in our home. I experienced the power of Jesus in our home and the faith was able to be “caught” and not just taught.
I will never forget the first time I really called on the name of Jesus. I was about 6 or 7 and I decided to experiment with a penny. Pennies were small and reminded me of Jolly Ranchers. I thought they probably would taste just as good.
Sitting on the living room floor next to my mother and sister, I decide to swallow a penny. I knew I should not have done this. I thought it would be like swallowing gum. You are not supposed to swallow gum but when you do, it just “goes down” like any other food. Well, the penny did not just “go down”. It became lodged in my throat and my air supply was immediately cut off. My dad turned me upside down by my ankles and began to shake me in efforts to remove the penny. Nothing happened. Dad was praying and shaking me very fervently and still nothing was happening. There was nothing left in me. I could not breathe and I was getting weaker.
At that point, my dad said, “Mike, you ask Jesus to help you! Say, ‘Jesus, help me’ ”. I began to say those saving words as best I could and the next moment I was staring at the penny on the floor! Alleluia! Thank you Jesus! Jesus saved me.
My faith training at home was Christocentric. I have been enrolled in Catholic schools all of my life due to their high academic standards. There was always an implicit connection between my faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church but nothing explicit that I can remember. Due to the space restriction, I will be unable to go into detail about my yesteryears on the northwest side of Detroit. Those were times filled with learning, sports, dances, family gatherings, and struggles.
I went down to Xavier University in New Orleans for college and brought back a degree in accounting and my future wife, Monica. We were married in St. Edward’s Catholic Church in New Iberia, LA., her hometown. There was a pivotal moment that occurred after the wedding reception. My father approached me and said, “Mike, take care of your wife”. It was a simple statement but one that resonated with me. New responsibilities were now available for more growth.
I cannot exactly remember the timing but Monica started sensing a need for bible study. She started to attend the Union Missionary Baptist church’s Bible study. Eventually, I joined her. At this point, I simply was tagging along. My main concern was to go so that I could get back home to watch the Detroit Piston game! Honesty is the best policy. Exposure to the Word of God had its effect on me though. I began to become more interested as time went on. One Wednesday night, we were studying the Book of Daniel. The leader was reading out of his bible and I was following along with mine. I noticed that my Catholic bible had more verses in Daniel than his version. The reason for the differences escaped both of us. I went away from that Bible study on a mission to get the answer. To make a long story short, I discovered that the Catholic had the full Old Testament canonical text which included the deuterocanonicals. This discovery was the stepping stone to another discovery: God’s use of the Catholic Church for recognizing what was to be considered Sacred Scripture. I became very interested in the teachings of the Catholic Church. The search for my Catholic identity surfaced.
All of my life, I have been hearing about my Dad’s special encounter with the Lord, Jesus. I really wanted to meet Jesus like that and still do. Dad suggested that I start using the Sacrament of Penance again. Through this suggestion and my own study, God was showing me that I could meet Him through His Church. The Church is the mystical body of Christ and Jesus touches me through her!!
God gave me a hunger for all Catholic things. I wanted to be fed the Scriptures, the Tradition, and the magisterial lens through which it is all protected. This desire continues to grow in me by God’s grace. I had to leave Union’s Bible study. I shared what I had learned with the leader and he had no answer. I started school at St. Mary’s College Ave Maria University. I was truly blessed with my first theology teacher, Dr. KellyBowring. God knew I needed a teacher like him. He taught and teaches what is completely faithful to all the teachings of the Catholic Church, including the sexual teachings. Adhering to the contraception teachings was extremely difficult initially. My wife and I can both attest to this. But full submission to Jesus and His teachings handed down through the Catholic Church is the only way to go. We have peace!
I love the Church but she is not without her problems. She is a hospital for sinners. From the outside, she looks like a “white” church especially in America. All of the white leadership and imagery can give you the impression that black people have just been invented in Catholicism. We definitely have to expand our view beyond the United States. As a young black man, I feel I have the best of both worlds. Sure, I do not like being a minority in most circles in the Catholic Church, aside from my home parish. With racism being alive, I have been forced to be exposed to both worlds. I choose to take the good wherever I find it and leave the bad. I go from “Fred Hammond” to Gregorian chant without blinking an eye!! If you have not heard any of Fred Hammond’s music, you are missing out!
My goal is to continue to teach the Catholic faith. I have launched a website in efforts of fulfilling Pope John the Great’s and Pope Benedict XVI’s call for a New Evangelization. Through God’s grace, I have been entrusted with highschool students that are hungry for truth and
meaning. I lead a coffeehouse where we (adult Catholics) dive into apologetics and the tradition of our faith. We are truly Catholic and striving to keep the faith. There is so much more to say but I have to end this. I think I am running over on words. Praise be Jesus Christ, forever and ever. Queen of heaven, please pray for us.