Share the Journey — Guided by faith and social teachings

Peyton Rhea

On a rainy Ash Wednesday morning in 2017, this hard-headed, skeptical, agnostic college student was invited by my roommate to attend Mass before class. My immediate reaction was “No,” but for some inexplicable reason I said “Yes.” 

That yes began a life-changing journey for me. From that day on I plunged headfirst into Jesus’ love, the welcoming Catholic community and the in-depth social teachings of Jesus and the Catholic Church at large.

After being called to the faith, I was then called to learn more about it. That fall, I enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. My RCIA educational process spanned two archdioceses and two different orders of priests, ending with the Dominican Friars at St. Louis Bertrand. Armed with a deeper understanding of our faith and social principles, I was confirmed and began my journey as a Catholic on Easter Sunday of 2018.

Through my early years as a Catholic, my faith guided me. And four years later, in the spring of 2022, it guided me again. At that point in my life, I felt stuck in my career. I had jobs in the sports and corporate world and, despite finding success, I found little in the way of fulfillment. 

I once again looked for Jesus’ guidance and, just like in March of 2017, something compelled me to go outside my norm. I sent a blind email to Catholic Charities asking about potential job openings. To this day, I cannot pinpoint exactly what led me to that decision, but ultimately, I trusted in the Holy Spirit.

From that blind email came a job that has allowed me to take my passion and my knowledge of the faith and live it out every day. 

The seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching are the guiding light for the work that Catholic Charities carries out in our community. These teachings also form the bedrock of my beliefs. It is an honor to work at an organization that puts these principles into action.

When we see dignity ripped away from the vulnerable, such as refugees fleeing perilous situations or human trafficking survivors escaping coercion, we work to restore their humanity.

When we see our fellow neighbors being circumstantially neglected of their rights to food and clothing, we see it as our responsibility to feed them, clothe them and lift them up.

When we see a fellow brother or sister left out of the conversation in important settings because of language barriers, we work in solidarity to make sure they can participate.

And on and on it goes.

When I needed direction in life, the Holy Spirit called me to church, inspired me to convert and put me in a position to live out my faith. In my role at Catholic Charities, I am blessed to be able to put the seven themes of Catholic Social Teachings to work every day.

​​Peyton Rhea is the parish and school engagement coordinator for Catholic Charities of Louisville.

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