As the title indicates, I still go to mass on a regular basis while in college.
Yes, I am Catholic. No, I am not some sheltered kid who is afraid of what her parents will think if she does not go to church on Sundays.
I do it on my own, by my own free will. No, this article is not meant to make you feel the infamous “Catholic guilt".
Yes, I am just giving you my perspective.
Growing up, I was like any other typical suburban South Jersey kid. I went to public school for kindergarten through eighth grade. I was heavily involved in things going on at school. I played softball, I danced competitively and had straight A’s.
On weekends, my family typically went to Sunday mass and I would go to CCD, which stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, or Sunday School if you will. I attended CCD from kindergarten all the way through eighth grade when I received my confirmation.
I ended up at my local Catholic high school for ninth through twelfth grade. Yes, I wore uniforms. Yes, I had to take religion classes. Yes, I still had a great, normal high school experience.
Because I was around my religion for five days a week and I started to work weekends, I stopped going to mass on Sundays with my family. My parents left my faith up to me, which is incredible and very different from what other Catholic parents tended to do.
I found myself actually missing church.
I was learning so much in my senior religion class about my faith, so all I wanted to do was go and celebrate mass. I was able to find a job working during the summer with the finances to sustain me through the year.
So, I quit my weekend job and began going to mass with my family again. My faith skyrocketed.
I didn’t want to lose this new appreciation for my faith while in college. What typically happens is many Catholic college students stop going because no one is making them.
When these kids get freedom for the first time, they want to really rebel and make choices for themselves which, for some, may be the right decision. Some may feel too pressured by religion and they need a break.
But I didn’t want to take a break.
I was able to find my place in my campus ministry with college kids of the same mindset as me. I participate in weekly group sessions and university mass. I went on my first retreat with the group this year and I am preparing for my next one.
I have grown so close to these other students and I have grown deeper in my faith. Two seniors, in particular, have taken me under their wings. Through them, I have learned so much about Catholicism, spreading the Gospel through my actions and learning how to balance faith and college life.
I am so incredibly thankful for the group I have found on my campus.
If you are even considering going to mass or seeking out a religious group on campus, do it. You won’t regret it. There are kids just like you on your campus. Put yourself out there.
Share your faith with others. Don’t let go of faith just because you “don’t like church," you “don’t feel like it,” or “no one else practices,” because that last one is a total lie.
It’s your faith! Be proud of it and practice it.