by Allyne Ferreira
I think that a few people talk about their religion as if it were this epiphany or huge turning point in their life. For me it was neither an epiphany nor a turning point, it was a choice that I felt I could fall into naturally.
I have struggled with faith my whole life; reason being my parents weren’t really all that religious. We would go to church every once in a blue moon and would participate in mass during the big holidays like Christmas and Easter.
I was born Roman Catholic but I never really ever felt like there was a moment where I could safely or proudly say “I am Catholic!” That doesn’t mean that I was ashamed to tell people that I was catholic, I guess I just misconstrued a lot of the beliefs that someone who goes to church regularly is supposed to have.
I was baptised at the age of three because my godparents (my father’s sister and brother in law) lived in Brazil and couldn’t afford to come to Canada to baptize me until I was three years old. Because my family wasn’t ever that religious I wonder what it was like the first three years of my life when I had no faith. Did it really matter? Considering I was too young to know what was going on anyways.
Once I became baptized I’m sure that my parents went to church a little more often than they previously had, but the sentiment wasn’t exactly strong. I think if I were to really describe it, my father was like Homer Simpson. My mom would say “We have to go to church” My father would say “No, I don’t really want to go to church” and so sometimes my mother and I would just go or my father would somehow feel like he wanted to come as well.
As I grew older my mother felt it would be important for me to take the next step in being a Catholic, which was receiving my first communion. I was apprehensive about it because my mother took me out of the school I had been attending since senior kindergarten and stuck me into a catholic school. I remember feeling extremely left out during the school mass because I was in the third grade at the time and everyone had already received their first communion. I would have to sit down and watch every single kid, one by one, receive the host. It was almost embarrassing for me, and a few classmates would return and ask me why I had not gone up to receive the host. I began to be bullied because this was a major difference between me and pretty much every kid at the school. Eventually I stopped wanting to go to school, I would tell my mother I was sick or that I had a very big stomach ache. Eventually my mom put me back at my original school and then signed me up for catechism lessons at the church nearby and I finally received my first communion.
After that was the third step, Confirmation. This I finally managed to do when I was supposed to. In my seventh and eighth grade I started to be a little bit more religious because I would find myself involved in singing the hymn at mass or being the narrator of the birth of Jesus that we would have every year.
Again, I stepped away from religion because I would never have something to tie me back to it. I feel like I have always had this prodigal son type relationship with God because every once in a while I’ll have periods in my life where I feel closer to God than ever, and then there will be times when I stray a little. The good news is that God is merciful and forgives us when we do wrong.
It wasn’t until this year that I really matured and have started to go to Church. I don’t do it for anyone else but ME. I feel good when I attend Mass, I feel good when I sing with the others in the choir. I feel good when I meet new people who accept me for who I am. I can finally say I am proud to be a practicing Catholic and that is a big step for me in my quest for spirituality.