By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
In a short video produced by the Archdiocese of Louisville, participants in Why Catholic? explain why they joined in the formation process and how it’s affected their lives.
What the speakers collectively describe is a journey of faith — one that begins with questions and, as it progresses, presents new opportunities to live their faith.
Norma Schmidt, the first to speak in the documentary-style video, explains that the name of the program initially prompted her to question her faith.
“ ‘Why Catholic?’ That’s what I thought. ‘I wonder why it’s (called) Why Catholic?,’ ” said Schmidt, a member of St. Albert the Great Church. “I’m thinking, ‘Well, maybe I don’t know why I’m a Catholic. I’ll go see.’ ”
The process revealed “Why I believe,” she said.
Beatrice Cutler describes Why Catholic? as an opportunity for personal conversion — a faith experience that can’t be taught.
“It’s like you walk in a path in a forest and suddenly you follow that path and you go into a clearing and you say, ‘My goodness it’s beautiful.’ So you keep on the same path (as before). It’s not a big change in the path of your living, it’s the way you see life,” Cutler explains.
Ashley Young, a young adult participant in the process, says in the video that Why Catholic? prepares the faithful to live their faith in all aspects of their lives.
“So you’re much more open to opportunities elsewhere — opportunities to help people in your work place, opportunity to live out what it means to be a Christian and to help your fellow man …,” she explains. “It always keeps in the forefront of your mind, ‘Live out your Christianity away from a Sunday or a Mass setting.’ ”
Alex Kuprion, also a young adult participant, notes in the video that, as a convert, Why Catholic? helped him connect to “cradle Catholics.”
“We’re coming from the outside in understanding the church,” he said. “From Why Catholic? I got a lot of really great insight into people who had been in the church for a long time or cradle Catholics. I really enjoy that.”
Several participants use the word comfort in the video and indicate that it’s a fun and relaxing experience.
Nge Le notes that Why Catholic? helped her connect to her fellow parishioners.
“Our church is so big, nobody can care too much. Because we have thousands of people, we hardly know anybody, especially if you’re a foreigner like me,” she says in the video. “But in a (Why Catholic?) group you feel accepted, you feel loved, you feel appreciated. And that’s a big comfort.”
For those who fear Why Catholic? might ask too much of them, Tom Lally explains that the process doesn’t demand something new.
“We are called to be stewards of the church. And that can be intimidating,” he notes in the video. “Why Catholic? doesn’t ask you to be anything you aren’t already. What it does is it wants to take the gifts that the Lord has given you, recognize them spiritually, gain comfort in those gifts that you have and to be able to process them out in the community to build the body of Christ.
“I looked at it as an opportunity to gain knowledge and comfort in my faith that we can then pay it forward,” he adds.
The video was produced by Dalton Main, coordinator of digital media for the Archdiocese of Louisville.
For more information about Why Catholic?, visit the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Why Catholic section of the website. More information also is available through parishes. Sign-ups will be held in parishes around the archdiocese later this month.