Unlike many Catholics, I did not receive First Communion as a child. My mother fell away from the Church and we moved quite a bit. After high school I joined the military and did not have a second thought about going to church or receiving the Sacraments.
After almost 20 years of not going to church, and at the age of 35 I had a very drastic life-changing event happen that opened my eyes, my mind and my heart to God. I could have gone to any of the dozen or so “churches” in town but I felt drawn, almost like I was being called, to the Catholic Church.
I began attending not only Sunday Mass, but also daily Mass as well as the occasional Latin Mass and eventually was signed up for the next Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) class. RCIA was an incredible opportunity to meet not only the Catechists but also my fellow Catechumens, all of whom were challenging me and helping me to grow in faith. Fr. Aiden & Fr. Jose as well as Bethe, Lenny, Joseph & Jennifer are the ones who stood out above all of them, and to this day I owe a lot to them.
Easter came and went too fast, but I will never forget the night we received the Sacraments. The Knights of Columbus in their full regalia, the Bishop and the Priests and all of us standing in front of the Sanctuary in our white robes, the light from the candles and the smell of incense in the air, it was truly an overwhelming feeling of love, warmth and acceptance that one will never find anywhere else.