By Jason Beitz
For about five or six years, when I was in my mid-20s, there was something inside calling me to establish a relationship with God. It started with prayer and reading Scripture, then researching every religion I could find. At one point I considered converting to Judaism or Buddhism. I attended various Christian churches, but was still left searching for a spiritual home.
Growing up, my parents were not religious, but my mother’s side of the family are devout Catholics and I always admired how kind and warm they have been. Something kept pushing me to attend Mass on occasion. The immense beauty that can be found in any Catholic Church grabbed my attention, and the structure of Mass left me wanting to know more.
Last June, my mother-in-law mentioned the new RCIA group that had started at St. Albert the Great Church, and with the encouragement of my sponsor Kurt Schulte, this was all the motivation I needed to explore a relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
My first meeting with Dawn Della Bella (the director of lifelong formation and education at St. Albert) was easy, and there was no pressure at any time in the process to become Catholic. I really respected the approach that was taken at St. Albert: This was my journey and calling that had brought me to this point to engage my relationship with the Lord.
In the RCIA group, I met so many parishioners who were extremely welcoming and warm and who gladly volunteered their time to study and analyze Scripture with our group. My admiration and gratitude for this group of people, who are so dedicated to ensuring a better understanding of faith, is beyond words. Every week our group met for RCIA, I walked away with a deeper understanding and perspective about faith and the life of Jesus Christ and my own calling to spirituality. I could feel myself establishing a relationship with God.
The Easter Vigil came, which was the end of one journey and the beginning of another. My fellow catechumens and I were there to be baptized and confirmed. As my sponsor presented me to the assembly, and I walked into the baptism font, everything started to sink in. I was now going to be reborn into the life of Christ! The water was warm as I waded in, but as Father Wayne Jenkins immersed me into the water — in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit — there was a sensation of shock that was literally breathtaking.
After the baptism, I made my way to the restroom to change out of my wet clothing, and I could hardly recognize the reflection in the mirror. I felt as though I was a completely different person, and I was. It was a new me with a new spirit!
Being confirmed and receiving first holy Communion were also extremely powerful experiences. I was now a Roman Catholic! My spirit was awake, and many of the anxieties that were constantly present have been soothed. My journey of searching had been completed, and now a journey of walking with Jesus Christ has begun. I am in good company and look forward to further exploring my faith and becoming involved with my new Catholic family.
Jason Beitz is a member of St. Albert The Great Church.
If you have a story you would like to submit for “A View from the Pew” contact Sal Della Bella at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-585-3291.