A Time to Speak – A view from the pew

By Alex Kuprion

Kuprion-6.18.14-wFrom a young age, my religious identity was well established. Baptized in the Lutheran church and never missing a Sunday at that same church, I had perfect attendance at both Sunday school and church. I served as acolyte (altar server) from an early age and attended a Lutheran elementary and middle school. By the time high school arrived, the Bible and God were familiar friends.

High school ended many of these habits. My parents divorced and the family no longer attended the same church. This break with tradition began a process of questioning. For awhile, I attended a non-denominational church, but without a regular church home base, I began to question if church was necessary. While uplifting, the new church wasn’t inspiring in terms of spiritual growth or faith formation.

In college, I got out of the habit of attending church. This wasn’t a crisis of faith; I knew God was there, and had no doubt. I just didn’t understand the value of attending church since my relationship with God seemed to be more than enough. Church just seemed like an organization that would get in the way.

After graduating from college, starting a career, buying a house, and doing all of the other things that people do as they become real adults, my religious life had slowed to a stand-still. I didn’t know there was more and didn’t see value in putting more into it.

However, after beginning a relationship with a woman who was Catholic (though not actively practicing the faith), something changed. I started attending Catholic Mass occasionally and then, after some time, more often. The formal liturgy was similar to the liturgy of my Lutheran roots, and I began to appreciate the depth of what was happening during the celebration.

Feeling at home and connected with my faith like never before, I was content for a time to attend Mass while not being a full member of the church. For the first time in years, spiritual growth occurred within the church community. I discovered that there was so much more to experience beyond the self-centered spiritual box that I had been in.

A key event occurred when a priest did what others had not done: issued an invitation to participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (commonly known as RCIA) process and be fully accepted as a member of the church. After quickly becoming immersed in the RCIA process, I experienced a level of formation and meaning that I never knew was possible.

When confirmed and accepted as a full member of the church, I wasn’t just a member of a club but was part of something so much more. I didn’t come to the Catholic Church for faith or a belief in God because faith and God were already part of my life. Instead, I came because church led me to a new level of spiritual growth and meaning. I finally understood that it is not about just God and me; it’s about us as the church.

Alex Kuprion is a parishioner 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 sdb@archlou.org or 585-3291.

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