Did you grow up as a Catholic and go through all of the motions as a kid/teen, etc., and then one day REALLY kind of be “reborn” when you really discovered what Catholicism was, who Jesus really is, etc.? How old were you when you either began to really, truly, deeply understand your faith and strengthen your relationship with God and Jesus and Mary? Or did you always? Or have you not yet?
Well, I’m 16 years old and have been Catholic all my life. I grew up in a very religious enviroment: I went to a Catholic elementary school, and I’m presently going to a Catholic high school, and my family was always really involved in the Church. Around my eighth grade year, I was fed up. I was sick of people throwing this religion down my throat, and when I turned 18, I had all intention of leaving. I went to Church to please my parents, and that’s about it. Then, my freshman year I had this religion teacher who really connected with me. I learned a lot from him, and he really helped me to understand why we believe what we believe. I think I credit him with bringing me back to the Church. I realized how much of a good thing it is, and I got into it. I started going to Confirmation classes, and I’m excited to be confirming next year around this time.
Well I’m mostly a Cradle Catholic, I was raised Catholic from the age of 6. Good family, went to Mass every Sunday, RE, homeschooled for awhile. Then around 8th grade my peers finally got to me and I really started hating being Catholic…I mean hating it. So I went to youth group at my friends “non-denom” church and stuff like that. When I was 16 my whole family left the church for a couple years and when my mom came back I said “I’m 18 and I do what I want” (which is a rather rude thing to say to ones mother, I confess). However I was given the rule that I had to go to church somewhere and so I did for awhile with friends, until one Sunday, for some reason I can’t even remember I ended up going to Mass and then I went back a few weeks later and the priest just seemed to be answering every objection I ever had to the Church in his homilies not to mention completely shattering my idea that to be a good traditional Catholic one had to be a snobby, dull hearted person (a horrible prejudice I admit).
So I went to Mass for about 6 months trying to decided what I was supposed to do. Finally went to talk to the priest and then went back again and he heard my Confession. I was 19 when I decided to come back, so all in all it was about 5 or 6 years of just not wanting to be Catholic at all. I’ll be 21 in 12 days and I’ve learned so much about my faith in the past two years, and yet I have so much more to learn. But in the end it was the traditions of the Church and the prayers and example of a few very important people that got me back.
Believe it or not that’s the short version. But in answering your question I needed to have an example, because for me there was a point in which I was absolutely repelled at the idea of being Catholic and after much searching and failing I found myself right back where I started. I think though for many people, especially teens/young adults, there comes a time when you have to make your faith your own. In other words, make it more than just what your parents taught you and told you to do, but to truly practice it on your own. Of course a little help from others never hurts…such as the prayers of your mother and the teaching and example of a great priest.
My apologies if I was a little long-winded.
It has been a long journey. I was a cradle Catholic but became lukewarm and disenchanted from ages 12 through about 25. Then, my interest in the Church came back and I explored a possible vocation as a cloistered nun. My parents threw a fit so I got married at age 28 to “solve my life” and had a daughter. The marriage failed (bigtime - domestic violence) and I was granted a Church annulment as well as civil annulment of the marriage.
I then explored Buddhism, LatterDay Saints (Mormons) and even Wicca before studying Judaism (learned Hebrew and the whole 9 yards) for 3 years prior to converting to Judaism in the Conservative Movement. I became a darshanit in my synagogue and continued to study and grow in faith. While I was occupied with Judaic studies, my brother married into a British family with a brother-in-law who is an Anglican priest.
My father, a lifelong Catholic, became ill and I had the privilege of caring for him in his last 7 months. He had never been happy with my conversion to Judaism but he accepted it. My rabbi visited him in the hospital along with the Catholic priests who came by on a daily basis. My father passed with all of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. In the months following his passing, I became passionately hungry for the Eucharistic presence of Jesus and, a year after my father’s death, I sought a holy Catholic priest and made my confession.
Jesus lives with me every day in the Eucharist now and I am a humble, grateful “cradle Catholic” once again. May God bless you.
I always blessed with the gift of faith and my family was very strongly religious, but not overtly pious, and I was always close to them. A number of relatives were nuns and one a priest. Faith was also interwoven with our culture (hard to be Polish and avoid Catholicism).
There was a time when I drifted away from regular Mass attendance and the did the usual 20-something “I’m independent and God loves us whether we go to Mass or not” thing.
The process of becoming more serious in my faith was a long one and remains incomplete. I know when it began though, October 16, 1978 at about 4:00 in the afternoon, which is when the radio announced that a new Pope had been chosen. The fact he was Polish eventually (after several years, perhaps the early 1990s) forced me to pay attention to what he was saying–ethnic pride I guess. He…made sense and more I heard and read the more sense it made. Later on, I discovered Fr. RJ Neuhaus and First Things and though at first I couldn’t understand half of what I read, what I could understand was brilliant. Last but not least, there was EWTN. I used to think of evangelization as converting those who are not Catholic or are largely lapsed, but there are plenty sitting in the pews who don’t understand their faith or take it for granted because they were raised Catholic. (Let’s face it, the Church in the US has done a poor job of teaching the faith and I went to a halfway decent Catholic grade school.)
Later on I became a husband and a dad and if that doesn’t make you take faith seriously, well…
Two advantages cradle Catholics have are culture and family, though this is less so perhaps today. If you drift from the Church a bit but remain anchored to a family and a culture that that stays faithful eventually you’ll come back.
There was a time (some months, maybe a year or more) when I started to question almost everything - the rituals, the prayers, the necessity of going to the church every Sunday - but not the faith itself, maybe because I was too afraid that I would burn in hell or be punished in this life. I think I was 13 or 14 at that time. Then I’ve had some years of quasi-indifference. The fact that I came back is mostly a result of my own sins and their effect on my conscience (I’m not joking, for some people the consequences of their sins are the best possible lessons).
As for understanding the Catholic faith and all the teachings… this is probably a neverending process and it’s sometimes painful. I can’t say that I’ve managed to learn to understand and accept everything. But even in my worst days from this point of view, I don’t want to get out of my Church; I can’t imagine myself as belonging to other religion/denomination… it would be very, very false and useless. I don’t know if this feeling is specific for cradle Catholics.
Since it is story-telling time, allow me…
I was raised a cradle Catholic. I have been going to the Church since as long as I could remember, although not baptised until I was 7 years old (My Mum said to be baptised is a privilege and people must earn it by going to the catechism). So then I was baptised at the age of reason and straight away become an altar boy, where I kept doing until 15 years old. I could say that all the that time my spirituality did not increased greatly, but I got accustomed to all the liturgy and tradition and it left a big impression on me.
Starting senior high school, I started hang out with the “too-cool-for-Church” group (although they are not ‘bad’ guys), started dating with Non-Catholic girls and so on. The Church seemed lights years away, although I still believe in God and went to the occasional Easter/Christmas Mass and celebration.
Finishing high school. I then went overseas (Australia) to go to university. There, I grew further apart from the Church teachings. Name any sin done by most college student, and I think they would be in my list. I smoked pot, had pre-marital sex, and as a hardcore sci-fi fan, considering joining “There is no God” movement (fortunately I didn’t).
I went to other Christian churches that teaches heavily on Theology of Wealth where they preached that every dollar I spent on them, will be returned hundreds fold. It got me interested because, hey, we all want to be filthy rich the “legal” way. I dislike their teaching that focuses heavily on material wealth, but those churches actually got me into reading the Bible. I still think the preachers are phonies who twist the Bible verses for their advantage.
I then met my wife (a Catholic) and thanks to one of the people in the other church, we decided to get married. The Christian church that I mentioned above sparked a little fire that compelled me to read the Bible, although only one or two chapters, but the fire lingers.
I then was introduced to a Catholic Youth Bible Study group in my parish and has been growing spiritually since then. There are a lot of things that I needed to learn, but I always had the gut feeling that I was heading to the right direction, unlike the ‘other’ churches.
Last Holy Thursday, I had my first confession in 10 years. It was one of the best feeling ever.
Sorry for being long-winded. But the point is…
To find your faith is a life long journey, and it does not matter where you started, where you fell or where you picked it back up. What matters is where we are IN THE END.
There are millions of things that we cannot understand, but if we held our faith, with the help of the Church and her sacred Tradition, we could be found in God’s grace in the end.
My journey still goes on and so are yours.
Hi there, I guess I kinda went through “the motions”; I wasn’t particularly interested in Catholocism for a while when I was a kid/ teenager. I became more interested in Christianity and one day decided I wanted to give it a serious shot. I have had an experience Protestants describe as being “born again”; I was sitting down, praying to God and this feeling of immense love flowed into me. It did not, however, revolutionise me- my relationship with God is an on-going, developing process, which sometimes is slooooow, other times leaps forward in great bounds, etc. It’s an exciting experience.
I was born and raised in the old Irish Catholic tradition. Nuns taught you every thing and the priests sat at our table with my dad drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. This was my childhood, and strangely enough, it was comforting. Then I became a teen. I knew it all, thought I didnt need the Church, home life became unbearable with fighting and abuse.
Afew years ago, after my sixth child, and an abusive drunk for a husband, I looked for comfort with the Church. I am now on my own with my kids and deeply into my Catholic faith. What a glorious family it is. No one can tell me the Catholic church does not take care of its own.
Jacque in New Zealand.
I guess I’m just a “late bloomer”.
I was raised in a family that went to church every sunday, confession during advent and lent, and I didn’t buck that too much. I went off to college, and found a group of friends at the Catholic Student Center. I attended Mass every Sunday even during the years that I had a [nonpracticing] Church of Christ boyfriend.
I went on a retreat sponsored by the Catholic Student Center and met my future husband. I helped him fill out his paperwork for an anullment. I helped take his son to confirmation classes. Church every Sunday. Confession once or twice a year (only confessing the sins I planned to stop doing) After way too many years, we were married in the church (same priest that I first met at the Catholic Student Center way back when).
After about a year of marriage, we found out we were expecting. I was still going to church every Sunday, but we had gotten a new pastor, and I just couldn’t adjust to him. One Saturday or Sunday, I was tired, about 5 or 6 months pregnant, and I decided not to go to Mass. After that, it was easy to skip and go when I wanted. I was about 30. Once I had a baby, it was very difficult to plan around his feeding and nap schedule, so I went even less. A year and a half later, I had another son, and it was even MORE difficult to go. Once, after Mass, I let go of the 2 year old’s hand in the parking lot to open the door and put the baby in the car, and the 2 year old dashed into traffic. I went even less often.
I remember one Mass when they were 4 or 5 or so. I took both of them to a different parish. One where I wasn’t familiar with all the exit routes. During the homily, they started fighting over a book. The poor priest just stopped cold and everyone in the church was listening to my kids scream. (We later joined that parish, my boys became altar servers, and we became friends with the same priest.) It was a long time before I went back.
Then 9-11 happened. I felt very vulnerable, and I knew if planes had hit my building that day, my final destination wouldn’t have been what I wanted it to be. My family was in church the following Sunday and with rare exception has been there every Sunday since.
I knew I needed to go to confession, and I kicked and screamed for a few months. Surfed the net to see if I could do an email confession. Tried to find a loophole that would let me back in without confession. Complained about how the church shouldn’t be able to tell me how to live my life. And then eventually gave in and went to confession one afternoon during Advent, 2001. (to the same priest that married us in 1993 and that I had met at the Catholic Student Center in 1982) I laid it all out there and was welcomed back with open arms.
About 4 years ago, I discovered the treasure that is Daily Mass. 2 or 3 years ago, the kids and I were making our annual visit to the Advent Penance Service, and my then 11 year old asked me why we only went once a year. Do you have an answer for that? Since then, I’ve tried to take them every 3 months, and lately, I slip in between times - every 6 weeks or so. I discovered Adoration about a year and a half ago. WHat a wonderful thing.
That’s my story. I’m closing in on 45 - but feel like I have been reborn. All the years that I didn’t trust God, and wanted to do things my way and resented any authority that anyone else had over my life. But now I get it. And I understand well the prayer, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” Now when the storms of life come, they don’t seem so bad.
I am a cradle Catholic. I went through all the motions as a kid - and I truly let God open my life around 13 years old. I worked on my faith until I was about 17 and when I left for college it got left by the wayside.
Last October, at 24 - my faith was been renewed in ways I never thought possible. I have so much more appreciation for my Catholic faith than I did as a kid. I pray that I never allow myself to become lukewarm again.
I’m a cradle Catholic from a family of 5 children. We went to Mass every Sunday, and I attended CCD classes through high school. When I got to college I let my faith go by the wayside - just felt Catholic in name but not really engaged with my Faith. My Mass attendance consisted of Christmas and Easter (although sometimes I just watched “The Ten Commandments” instead). I lost my way in college - made some bad decisions, and that’s the way it went for a long time.
I became engaged to a good man who in all honestly was not only non-catholic but bordered on anticatholic. The one thing I insisted on was to be married in the Church. (I may have fallen away but there was enough of a seed of faith planted that I recognized how important it was for my marriage to be a sacrament). We went through Pre-Cana meetings with a wonderful priest named Fr. Kevin. My husband was very honest with him about his feelings about my faith, and at the end of the meetings Father Kevin told him he would make a great Catholic. (Boy, that made him mad…:mad:).
We were married in the Church and I still didn’t really give much effort to my Faith until God blessed the two of us with a pregnancy. Wow, knowing all of the sudden that I was responsible for a newly created soul certainly lit a fire under me to get back to Mass. The first time I went back I was overcome with a homesickness for it that I hadn’t even realized. Maybe because I was more mature; maybe because my family situation had changed and I had responsibilites for others besides just myself, but I was back for good. Gave my first confession in 15 years a few months later (of course I went to a penance service so I could go to a priest that didn’t know me - :p)
Long story short, my husband went through the RCIA program 8 years after we married and is now a very involved Catholic right along with me (Fr. Kevin sure knew what he was talking about ). The Catholic church and her sacraments have gotten me though some really tough times (including 4 brain surgeries) and I don’t know how I could have ever gotten through some of it without her.
I marvel at and admire the college kids I see at our parish who are deeply involved with their faith. I hope and pray my own children will remain deeply involved with the Church and rely on that Faith to help them through their own challenges as they grow up.
God bless you all! :byzsoc: