By: Andrew Plasker
Is it Easter yet? I seem to be asking myself that a lot lately, especially since Ash Wednesday. Do not get me wrong, I have loved RCIA; however, my months in RCIA have been the end of a much longer journey to the Catholic Church. The true start of this journey was at my birth 18 years ago. While I was raised as a Protestant, my father’s Irish-German Catholic family was a constant presence of Catholic values and ideologies.
From a young age I understood
many of the most obvious differences between my ideas I had been raised with and those of my catholic cousins (seven vs two sacraments, transubstantiation vs consubstantiation, etc.). However, the bulk of the journey began when I attended four years of catholic high school and realized that what I had personally come to believe was very much in line with the Catholic Church. I had learned about the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) in my freshman theology classes, and for whatever reason the idea of it always stuck with me. So, four years later when I started RCIA at the University of Portland, I started what I thought was the final leg of my journey into the Catholic Church; little did I know the journey was not close to being over.
We meet every week and discuss a wide range of topics about the faith. We started simple, discussing topics like: faith, Christ, and the Church. These first weeks were easy for me; between five years of Lutheran school, four years of Catholic school, and many a Sunday in Sunday School, I found these topics to be easy. As the year moved along we got more into the heart of what it means to be Catholic. We discussed the saints, the role of the Holy Mother, the sacraments, vocations, the Eucharist, and so much more. These classes challenged my faith and made me ask questions that I had never really asked before; the hardest of which being: WHY do I believe this to be true? Spoiler alert: the proper answer is not “because the priest said so”. Ultimately, while challenging, this experience has made me stronger in my faith and closer to God.
With the Right of Election and Exhortation coming up this Sunday for the Archdiocese of Portland, and Holy Week only a few short weeks away, I am growing ever eager to take my Rites of Initiation on Easter Vigil. Now, is this the end for me? When I wake up a Catholic on Easter morning does that mean my spiritual journey stagnates? No! It will just be the beginning of a new chapter where I live each and every day growing in my faith and exemplifying what it means to be Catholic.