My children's book collection is growing while my time is shrinking! Rather than skip blogging altogether, I thought I would repost my Catholic conversion (reversion) story here, that I have been writing for my email newsletter. Enjoy!
Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, outside of Assisi
Despite being raised in the Catholic Church, attending my CCD classes “religiously” (pun-intended), and being Confirmed in my teens, I carried a chip on my shoulder going into young adulthood because I felt that I still did not know very much about the Catholic Church and what it taught. “Jesus loves me,” “Don’t do drugs,” and “Wait until you are married,” were my biggest takeaways. Like I mentioned in the last part, it finally dawned on me that I had every ability to look things up and answer my questions!
So I joined a small Young Adult group at a nearby parish. I started reading books written by the then-Pope, John Paul II. I remember reading half of “Love and Responsibility” and setting it aside because it made me really want to be married, and at 23, I had no prospects! Two big boosts to my faith life came via chaperoning at a Steubenville Youth Conference (wow- so many teens excited about their faith!), and then attending World Youth Day 2005. It was my ceramic mentor who helped me to afford the trip with my YA group, by giving me some great pieces to decorate.
The big camp out at WYD '05, waiting for Pope Benedict XVI to arrive.
With youth from all over the world, I got to celebrate being Catholic, an unusual experience for me (I had *just* held onto my faith after the 2002 scandals, by the grace of God). Plus I got to experience a connection to my Catholic heritage. WYD ’05 was being held in Cologne, Germany, but we spent the prior week in Rome and Assisi, which was life-changing. So much sacred art I had studied in school was right before my eyes. I prayed in churches where the faithful had been pilgrimaging since near the start of things; my knees fit into grooves where people had been kneeling in prayer for centuries. And to show it to us, and explain it all, we had a great theology student as a guide. My eyes were opened to the richness of tradition and history, and even more so, to the person of Jesus Christ.
It was there I was exposed to something I had only recently learned of, called “Adoration;” to adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, His Real Presence here on earth. Fast forwarding a bit, this trip led me to more books, a year-long mission with the Marianist Voulnteers (teaching art in urban St. Louis), leading YA Ministy in my Los Angeles area parish after that, and eventually being confirmed in my desire to be married, after briefly exploring religious life. But nothing was working out in L.A…. Dare I do the thing I swore I would not? I did… I went online and joined Ave Maria Singles.
The conclusion awaits!