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On April 19, 2014 at the 8:15 Easter Vigil, I received my first communion and was confirmed in the Catholic Church. It was a beautiful night.
I was not raised in the Church. Although I was baptized Catholic as a baby by cradle Catholic parents, our family stopped going to church when I was six. Although my parents are both very spiritual, I considered myself an atheist for most of my life.
Eventually, I became curious. I became an agnostic. As I began to research and learn more about religion and specifically spirituality, I learned that when I thought I was rejecting God, I was actually rejecting hearsay about a religion. But myths about a religion aren’t actually true. And even if they were, having a religion is not necessary to have faith.
When I was a senior in high school, Will started taking me to church. I was even curious enough to attend a Bible study at the Lutheran church about truth. That first night I felt something move inside of me and for the first time I realized that, yes, the is a God. Afterwards I told Will and he asked if I believed in Jesus. I wasn’t sure. I’ll be honest, I still have trouble wrapping my head around it. But I said yes and he smiled, hugged me, and said, “Hi, Christian!”
I spent the next few years continuing to go to church and grow and explore my faith. I felt a strong pull towards the Catholic church that I was born into. I was sadly embarrassed by this. Many of my friends were atheists with strong vendettas against the Church. My parents and many other members of my family were raised in this faith and chose to leave it.
But as I researched the faith and read books about Catholic theology, it was the place for me. After reading the Inferno in my senior year humanities class, I read the Purgatorio and fell in love with the idea. The doctrine of Purgatory represented exactly how I felt about the afterlife, heaven, and hell. I also learned that the best way to describe my feelings about marriage were that it is a sacrament. These two doctrines were very important to me and could only be found in the Catholic Church. The more I read, the more I saw that all of the teachings of the Church are interconnected, and I saw a lot of myself reflected in the Church.
Maybe this is because my parents were raised Catholic and many of the values they taught me reflect Catholic values. But as I grew in my faith, Catholic theology just made sense to me in ways that the theology of other religions did not. So I started going to mass every Sunday and I made plans to get married in the Church. Through this process, I also started attending RCIA classes and joined the Catholic community at my college.
Here I found many new friends. I even found a best friend. I became close with another girl from my college who was also going through RCIA. We had a nice bonding experience with our pre-seminary friend over our first confession. I felt so at home in this wonderful community.
The day of my confirmation, I was so wired and excited! Throughout the vigil, I would start bouncing and smiling uncontrollably whenever I thought about what was happening and that I would finally get to take communion! And then I would get to take communion with Will on our wedding day! The service was full of beautiful symbolism, too.
What was so meaningful, though, was the amount of support I had. My parents and even my little brother came down. My mom cried and my dad told me how proud of me he was. I knew they supported my decision, but to see how truly happy they were for me meant more than I could ever say. And after the vigil, there was a party for all of the Catholics at my college, and it was great to spend the night with so many faithful people!
It was such a beautiful weekend. I am so happy to finally be part of the Church.
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