By KAYLEE TYE
Who really wants to be a “religious person” in college, especially a religion that is as conservative as the Roman Catholic Church? For a majority of my life I did not want to be a Catholic. I was baptized into the Catholic faith.
I went to Catholic school for 16 years. How awful does that sound? My family was Catholic in name but not practicing. I never learned anything about my faith. From all of this I never considered myself Catholic. I did not go to mass, pray or do anything religious.
Flash forward to how I chose the University of Mary Washington as my home. I got a text from my friend from high school Susannah Tombes, who also went to UMW. She asked me to go mass with her Sunday down the street. I said yes.
The next Sunday another friend from church asked me to go with her to mass. As we were walking back to school we met the Associate Campus Minister of the Catholic Campus Ministry. She invited us to stop by anytime. After that Sunday I did not want to go to mass again. I did not enjoy mass because I did not understand why we had to go. I did not go to mass the following weekend.
No one asked me and I was done. I was invited to an event called Super Social. My friend Susannah was going so I decided to stop by. I went that Thursday to Supper Social and was overwhelmed with the welcome I received. I wanted to go back because of the people I met.
I started to go to some of the events and I went to Sunday mass again. I was hesitant but I felt the desire to be there. About three weeks into the school year I was invited to All Night Adoration.
Adoration is when the Blessed Sacrament, the body of Jesus Christ, is exposed and we pray. I went to my slot at 12 a.m. I was scared because I hadn’t prayed in years, and I did not remember what to say. I did not need to say anything. I needed to listen to God. I was overwhelmed by regret and guilt, however I was more overwhelmed with God’s love and mercy.
I realized in Adoration that I let sin divide me from Him. The reason I was not a part of the church is because of my fear of letting God in. I knew why I never prayed is because I thought God hated me. Sometimes you think how can an all powerful and loving God love me? At 1 a.m. I went to confession, a sacrament where Catholics ask for God’s forgiveness, with the Catholic Campus Ministry’s Chaplin. I finally let go of my sins and my past that divided me from the church and mostly importantly God. I finally felt peace.
I joined the Catholic Campus Ministry Council. I now go to Sunday mass, daily mass and started to pray. I learned that mass was the highest form of prayer. The past year and half has been amazing for me. I have never felt so much joy or peace in my life. When my anxiety overwhelms me I bring that to prayer and give it to Jesus. He helps through it. That’s why I want to be a “religious person” in college.