From a young age, my religious identity was well established.
I was baptized, attended church every Sunday, and I was no stranger to the Bible or God. My high school years ended many of these habits.
My parents divorced, and we no longer attended the same church. This break with tradition began a process of questioning. I had no regular Church home base, and I began to question if I really needed a Church for spiritual growth or faith formation.
In college, I got out of the habit of attending church. I was not having a crisis of faith; I knew God was there. I just didn’t understand the value of attending church.
I had a relationship with God, and that was enough. I didn’t see any value in joining an organization that would just get in the way.
Because of a relationship with a Catholic friend, I started attending a Catholic Mass. The formal liturgy was similar to the Church services of my childhood, and I appreciated the depth of what was happening during the celebration. For a while, I attended Mass without being a full member of the Church. For the first time in years, I experienced spiritual growth within a Church community and grew beyond the self-centered spiritual box I had put myself in.
One day, a priest did what others had not done:
He invited me to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process and be fully accepted as a member of the Church. I quickly became deeply immersed in the RCIA and experienced a level of formation and meaning in my life that I didn’t know was possible.
When I was confirmed and accepted as a full member of the Catholic Church, I became part of something so much more. I didn’t come to the Catholic Church for faith or a belief in God; I had faith. I came because the Church led me to a level of spiritual growth and meaning that I never could have imagined. I finally understood that it is not about just God and me; it’s about us as the Church.