31 October 2012

Not Alone

First order of business: a mere five months until Easter Vigil Mass! That thought thrills me with peace, excitement and the ever-present tingle of nervousness. The countdown continues....

I first heard of RCIA from a young man, J, at the end of a Thursday evening Mass. RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is a class for people interested in joining the Church or for Catholics who have not yet been Confirmed. I have been attending classes on Thursdays this semester with around thirty other Catechumens (unbaptized)/Candidates (validly baptized) and sponsors. Sponsors are strong Catholic parish members who advise and guide their "sponsoree" throughout the RCIA process.

Last week my sponsor, M, and I went to lunch. We talked about unusual sleep schedules, siblings and our faith backgrounds. She described her home life of rather sincere Catholics, a mother who urged daily prayer of the Rosary together, multiple siblings as seems the traditional fashion (it still strikes me as bizarre that random people I encounter seem to know, if nothing else, that Catholics generally make up or desire large families: how did everyone know this before I knew anything substantial about Catholicism?). My description of a Baptist Protestant, thank you upbringing, seemed to leave M a bit stunned. On my part I suppose I was stunned too.

21 October 2012

Chapter One

Where to begin after the beginning?

I still vaguely remember the first time I stepped into St. John's, the parish on campus. It was early December and the cold chapel was warmer than the snowy outdoors. I followed my boyfriend's stride, a question mark in my head at his genuflection, knots of nerves in my stomach as we sat down. My once protective coat was now uncomfortably warm and the knots had turned into jittery butterflies, but my racing pulse only communicated intense curiosity tinged with excitement.

I don't remember the hymns or Scripture passages (though I could go back to find them if I tried). I don't remember who celebrated the Mass or if I remained silent through it all (not unlikely). The details I do remember are more important.

I remember the quiet, as if the gray thick walls blocked out every worldly and street distraction (recently, I have noticed honking horns and rumbling busses, crisp whispers and echoing heels, so God must have silenced my ears that night). I remember the boots I wore and the way my knees were shaking in them after kneeling so long, which, my boyfriend jokingly remarked, meant God had to teach me discipline in that Mass (or something along those lines). I remember the unity with which those who surrounded me sung, responded and partook of the body of Christ, which was all too inaccessible for me. Most of all I remember being pulled into awe, feeling both free and surrounded by something powerful and mysterious that I couldn't understand. I remember how reverent it felt. I remember walking out thinking I wanted to be walking back in.

19 October 2012


Becoming Catholic was never something I considered a possibility for myself growing up. In fact, Catholicism was never something I considered period. Yet here I am, knowing what a thurible is, carrying around books about saints and wondering just how quickly I can will the next five and a half months to pass so I can be accepted into the Church come Easter Vigil.

My journey to Catholicism so far has been as rocky as the mountains and even more beautiful. Though I have struggled frequently, I know the timing has been exactly right. I trust that all things work for good, and believe this to be the greatest decision I will make in all my life. I find proof of this every time I enter the chapel: I let out a sigh of relief, dip my fingers into cold holy water, inhale the musky scent of incense and cross a silent threshold into home.

Along the way, I want to record my questions and thoughts, hopefully enter discussion with others and eventually be able to look back to see how much I have learned. Perhaps my musings can guide another down the same path.

For now, here are a few basics:

Age: 20
Occupation: University Student in Illinois, graduating Spring 2013
Family: Baptist Protestant
Baptized: at age 15
Mass attendance: ~5/week (let's set a record, self)
Confirmation Name: Nope
Confession: Not yet
Days Until Easter Vigil: 162