A Journey of Faith Part 3 - Transitions

I have (for quite some time now) wanted to document my personal journey of faith.  How I became who I am today in an attempt to try and understand my faith.  I started by doing just that.  I sat down, and wrote out my personal journey of faith.

I know people choose to “evangelize” by sharing their journey.  That is not my mission.  I am not writing these posts to convert.  I am not writing these posts to persuade.  I am not writing these posts to influence.  I AM writing these posts (first and foremost) for myself. 

Previous entries in this series...

A Journey of Faith Part 1 - An Introduction
A Journey of Faith Part 2 – The Early Years

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Transitions

After graduating eighth grade at Nativity, my parents were fortunate enough to be able to afford my enrollment at The Academy of the Holy Angels high school. NYG BWCA trip

It was also a time that our parish had a successful and thriving Youth Group program for kids in grades 9-12. Initially, it was not the "Youth Group" that really interested me, but it was their annual Boundary Waters Canoe trip that I really wanted to attend. Somewhere along the line I ran into a friend of mine from Nativity (who also attended AHA). I knew he was going on the BWCA trip, so I asked him for more information. Not only did he urge me go on the trip, but he suggested that I start attending Youth Group so I could start to meet the other Youth Groupers who were going. I had my initial reservations but in the end I decided to attend.  Looking back, I find that this decision being another one of the defining moments in my life.

John, me, Joe, GregI began attending Nativity's Youth Group, and over the next four years, NYG (as it was affectionately referred to) became my second family.  (I still stay in touch with some of the closest friends I made during my involvement in NYG.)

My spiritual journey through these years was assisted in ways that I did not even realize at the time by our youth minister.  He had a way of blending (maybe even “hiding”) the right amount of faith based education into fun and activities for the youth of our Parish.  He had a unique personality that allowed him to be a mentor while at the same time being someone I could consider a friend. He left an indelible mark on an impressionable young man that can still be seen within me to this day.

It was during my involvement in NYG that I connected on a personal level with our parish priest who had been our pastor for many years. Through my years at Nativity School and through alter serving – I became familiar with him, and I suspect he would have been able to recognize me by face, but there was a moment in time that our priest became something more than “just” the church’s pastoral officiant in my eyes.  We connected on a personal level.

Our priest was moving residences, and was looking for some assistance. He turned to the Youth Minister (and the Youth Group) for some volunteer “muscle”. I was one of three or four members who stepped up and volunteered to help him move.  After spending the day with him(away from formal setting of our church) – and helping him get situated in his new residence, I was able to see him as more than “that guy up front” at mass on Sunday. I got to know him as a person. As someone I could approach, say hello to, and have a conversation with. For the first time in my life, I really felt comfortable speaking to a priest. Getting to know our parish priest in this way helped give the Church a more “personal” feel.

After high school graduation and into the college years - my involvement in our church continued. In addition to my involvement in the Youth Group (now as a chaperone for the BWCA trips and helping out our new Youth Minister from time to time) I filled a seat on one of the parish committees, filled in as temporary “collection counter”, and even ran for the seat on the Parish Council reserved for the young adults of the congregation (unfortunately, I came in a close second).

As the old saying goes… “Time and tide wait for no man”, and soon my “youth” and “young adulthood” transformed into the pressures and responsibilities of adulthood.

3 comments:

  1. It was always about the girls for me. It's the only reason I went to Youth Group! :)
    -dobe

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would be lying if I said that was not a factor for me too - but at the same time, I also enjoyed the company of many female friends (not "girlfriends") during my time at NYG.

    ReplyDelete
  3. These are great posts. I love hearing your story of faith. Keep sharing!

    ReplyDelete

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