30 Signs You Grew Up In A Catholic Home
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30 Signs You Grew Up In A Catholic Home

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

30 Signs You Grew Up In A Catholic Home

My planner just informed me that today is Ash Wednesday. For Catholics everywhere, this fateful day hearkens the beginning of Lent, when we are meant to sacrifice one of the many sinful indulgences in our lives for the duration of the 40-day Holy Season. We are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays and attend reconciliation, adoration, and weekly Mass in anticipation of Easter and Christ’s resurrection. As if the 325 other days of the year do not matter, Lent awakens within the entire Catholic population a sense of reverence and spirituality that does not otherwise exist, as we take the Lord’s name in vain and spend Sundays nursing hangovers rather than observing the Sabbath.

I am not a good Catholic. I wear a gold crucifix around my neck that tricks many into thinking that I am a beacon of spirituality and goodness, but those closest to me know that is just not true. I just had to Google the Ten Commandments in order to formulate the half-witted sentence that closed the last paragraph, and I went to mass for the first since Christmas last week because the church my family (occasionally) goes to is literally next door to our house and I had nothing better to do. I attended Catholic school for the majority of my educational experience—in fact, I still attend Catholic school, as my university is a Jesuit institution—and I list myself as Catholic on relevant forms and data entries, but I just can’t seem to remember in trying situations that I am supposed to be living a life that emulates Christ.

Nevertheless, I grew up Catholic, making the sign of the cross as I walked into tests and spending and hour of my Sunday sitting in a pew, counting my split ends. Even today, as I spend my Sunday evenings not in the presence of the Lord but mounds of undone homework, there are so many signs in my life to point to a fact I can never ignore: that I grew up Catholic. Here are 30 undeniable signs that you, too, grew up Catholic:

1. Inexplicably knowing all the ritual words of mass

2. Having no clue what to say when they changed the ritual words of mass

3. Elbowing your siblings during mass for taking up too much room in the pew

4. Holding hands with a total stranger during the “Our Father”

5. Giving the sign of peace to only your family members so you could avoid uncomfortable contact with more strangers

6. Being picked as the family that would carry communion to the altar

7. Crossing your fingers that you’d get a piece of communion broken from the priest’s host

8. Never paying attention during the homily (but loving when it was super short)

9. Going to youth group for the free pizza

10. Being an altar server or in the praise band or a Eucharistic minister to fulfill your service hours

11. Simultaneously loving and hating having to wear a uniform

12. Rolling your uniform skirt to make it shorter

13. Having your ankle socks measured

14. Learning that the Rosary is NOT worn a necklace

15. Wanting to be a priest or a nun at some point in your life

16. Picking a confirmation name and definitely not remembering it

17. Feeling guilty for not going to confession to confess your guilt OR lying in confession

18. Reciting the “Angel of God” prayer before bed every night

19. Saying half-hearted grace before meals

20. Praying to St. Anthony whenever you lost anything

21. Praying to St. Jude when your life was falling apart

22. Feeling superior when your ashes on Ash Wednesday actually looked like a cross and not a blob

23. Feeling immensely guilty when you ate meat on Friday during Lent

24. Not understanding how a giant bunny or pastels relate to the resurrection of Christ

25. Getting a chocolate Advent calendar

26. Having to sit through Christmas mass before you could open presents

27. Owning a nativity scene with at least 3 pieces missing

28. Setting aside a special outfit for Christmas and Easter masses

29. Resenting whoever got to be Mary and Joseph in the Christmas Pageant at school

30. Not entirely understanding the whole Holy Trinity thing, but just going along with it anyway

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