It’s hard to believe that time has flown by so quickly. In nineteen short days, I will a) be baptized, b) undergo confirmation, and c) receive the Eucharist with the Roman Catholic Church. This will all happen at the Easter Vigil, which occurs Saturday evening at sundown, prior to Easter Sunday. From what I’ve been told, it’s going to be a very long evening…the vigil normally starts at sundown, and then lasts around 4-5 hours!
I started RCIA classes in September last year. I had several Catholic friends, had gone to a few Catholic churches, and really just wanted to see what it was all about. The people at our parish were so welcoming, so friendly, and I honestly felt right at home. I felt like a part that had been missing in me had been found. I won’t go into what a “spiritual” experience it was, because it really didn’t feel like that to me. I met C (who would later become my sponsor), and he grew on me. K (the RCIA leader) was this Energizer bunny of Catholic knowledge and humor. Father D and Father C were helpful, funny, and like the big brother/father who helped you when you needed it, or would give you a swift kick in the rear (if that was needed too). The parishioners I’ve met so far are really nice, genuinely helpful and wanting to give of their time, and throughout the process, I sort of got attached! Now, in no way am I saying everyone is perfect…they’re far from it. But, the people I encounter and seek out are genuine and truly lovely people. So…after several weeks of meeting people, tons of reading and questions, and lots of internal reflection, I decided to make the commitment and become Catholic.
The Easter Vigil is actually four days of events, starting with Holy Thursday. There are ceremonies and rituals leading up dusk on Saturday evening, when the Priest lights a fire and then a single candle is lit from that fire. The church is completely dark, and only the catechumens (those unbaptized at this point, but going to be baptized that evening) bring candles lit from the fire into the darkened church. They then light the candles of people in the pews, who continue lighting candles of those near them. Eventually, the church is lit by candle light, and the priest does a series of readings. Then, the baptism. I am currently unbaptized, so I will undergo baptism in the Catholic church. This happens as one of the first things…we’re dressed in dark gowns, baptized, and then taken away to get dried off and ready for the rest of the ceremony. When we come back in, we’ll have white gowns, representing our cleansed soul. After the baptisms, then confirmation takes place, and finally the Liturgy of the Eucharist (or Communion) with the rest of the parish.
I am a bag of mixed feelings. I am so excited for this moment. I’ve been working hard, doing a LOT of soul-searching and education, and I feel ready for the next step. On the other hand, I hate being the center of attention, and I’ll be the first person baptized that evening (in front of the parish). It’s creating a small amount of anxiety for me, but I understand that, at times, we must all do things that are difficult for us, in order to profess our faith to the world. So…I’ll suck it up. But I’ll be honest, I probably won’t eat, because the last thing I want to do is vomit in the baptismal font…how would that be for a “defining moment”?!
I don’t really post a whole lot about what many call our “Faith Journey” on my blog. I look at my faith as a private thing…if people have questions, I’m happy to talk about it, but it isn’t something I bring up very often with strangers. I try to lead by example and be a good person, and hopefully through that I can be a light to others to lead a good life as well. I hope people see me as a joyful person, and find inspiration in that. That’s really my goal, what I want to achieve as time progresses and I delve deeper into my faith.
So…in 19 short days, my life will undergo a drastic transformation (not that it hasn’t already started). My journey has really only begun, but I’m excited and looking forward with anticipation. I’m excited, overwhelmed (in a good way), and, most of all, ready. If any of you have any questions, or want to hear more about why I’ve decided to go down this path, feel free to ask and I’ll be happy to answer!