The story I’m going to tell you today is my own. Not every private high school and not every public university is guaranteed to be like this. But the schools I went to had an effect on me and I think they had an effect on my Catholicism as well.
I went to a Catholic school from preschool to high school graduation. Even though the academics were good and the school had some teachers that were great, the culture wasn’t the best. So although we were taught in our faith and other subjects, I was bullied almost the entire time I attended. And even though we had regular chances to practice our faith at school, I wasn’t necessarily on board for practicing the faith on my own outside of school hours.
As I think I’ve mentioned in past posts, I wasn’t really involved in my faith before college. I didn’t pray every day. I went to Sunday Mass because that’s what Catholics do. I became an altar server because my dad was one when he was a kid. Sure, I was a part of a planning committee for youth group for a couple of years during high school, but it was just for the heck of it.
The school and church I attended might’ve been doing what they could. But my heart wasn’t in it.
Now when I went to college, things changed. I went to a public university, so people of all faiths, backgrounds, nationalities, languages, sexualities, etc. attended the university.
But I think God placed the Newman House on my heart because I knew before I even arrived on campus that I wanted to be a part of the Newman House just off campus.
And over the time I spent at university, I got involved with the Newman House. I began praying everyday. I began going to Mass (Sundays and weekdays) because I wanted to. I was involved with Bible Studies and discipleship. I became involved with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). I became a leader there, especially for the liturgies and Adoration. I began choosing on my own to go to Confession on a more regular basis.
While I was a part of Newman, my faith became more personal instead of just something just taught in a classroom. The people I surrounded myself with at Newman (and who became some of my greatest friends) were truly interested in how I was doing in my faith. Which is something I rarely encountered in high school.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, not every private high school and not every public college is going to be like this. Are there things I wish I could about high school? Maybe? But I’m glad that Newman was placed in my life because I think that’s what cemented my faith. It was when I chose the Catholic faith for myself instead of my parents choosing it for me. And honestly, I think I’ve retained more of what I learned about the faith during college than what I learned about it before college. And again, I think that goes back to choosing the faith for myself vs having someone else choose it for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad my parents sent me to a private school for primary and secondary school. I just wish some things had been different.
But I think God had a plan for me during college, so I think that’s why he let things go the way they did.
Until next time, have a great weekend!