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Hey ya’ll!

“This is my command- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the lord your God is with you wherever you go.”~ Joshua 1:9

My name is Clarissa Mae. I am currently a student at the College of Idaho and am studying Biology. I am aspiring to become a doctor. My goal is to go to medical school after I finish off at CofI after that I dream of joining Doctors Without Borders (http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/index.cfm). I have always admired Mother Teresa and all that she did for the sick of Calcutta, she is what inspired my dreams of becoming a doctor and helping the less fortunate. I have always been called to be a servant of God. I enjoy helping those in need whether it is donating clothes or just listening.

For the past two summers I have been able to go on mission trips with a friend and her church. Both years we went to Native American Reservations, one in Wyoming and another in Arizona. It was so cool to learn about these communities. The Native American people are beautiful! I loved talking to them and hearing their stories and seeing them dance. I was drawn closer to God on one of these trips. We were painting a ladies house as part of our trip. It was a lot of fun! The lady came out one day and told us how excited she was to have her house painted yellow (it was previously grey) that she needed light in her life. She told us stories of one of her family members being beaten to death and another dying in a drunk driving accident. This lady had incredible faith she was strong and confident that God would help her through her tough time. Her daughter was in a horrible accident and the doctors told her there was no way she would ever be the same and that the daughter should just be put in a home so she wouldn’t burden the family. But this lady told the doctors no. She brought her daughter home retaught her to read and write. It was an amazing story! The daughter even came out and talked with us for a long time! This old lady taught me to never give up, especially on the ones you love. I realized that I may be going through a tough time but if i turned to God he would get me through it.

Aside from mission trips I enjoying playing the Viola and Guitar, reading, and I LOVE to watch movies. I can’t even begin to list my favorite movies or books. I also enjoy camping and hiking, I find that I am closest to God when I do these things. I love to admire God’s canvas, looking at his creations make me so happy!

There isn’t much I don’t like. However there are a few foods I don’t like, for example fish, mushrooms, and cottage cheese are all icky to me. It really bothers me when people don’t text/email/call me back even if it isn’t that important it’s nice to know that you got my message!

I look forward to writing more blogs and learning so much more about our faith!

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YOUCAT Series 1 – Introduction

Universal Faith will be hosting a series on the YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church).

I thought I would begin by explaining what it is all about;

YOUCAT uses the “four pillars” format of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, while presenting the faith in a lively, visually appealing way. It fulfills Pope Benedict XVI’s desire to have a catechism that responds to the needs of today’s youth using a design they will find attractive and understandable. Pope Benedict has said of YOUCAT, “Study this Catechism! This is my heartfelt desire.” We think YOUCAT will become the “go-to” book for today’s Catholic youth when it is introduced at World Youth Day in Madrid. It will become an indispensible resource for every young person in your school or parish. (Ignatious Press).

To get the most out of this series it would be useful to have a copy of the YOUCAT. It is surprisingly inexpensive and can be purchased online at Amazon.com.

In the meantime here is a preview for you to read.

Next time we will start by looking at Part 1.

Ad Majoriam Dei Gloriam

Established 1985

I was born to loving parents, a Baptist mother and Catholic father. I was baptized into the Catholic Church three months after my birth. I have been in Catholic school since 1990. I was an altar server because being an altar server was the cool thing to do (Oh, have times changed!). Even in my short stature, I took up the trombone. These two pursuits, serving at the altar of God and music, would weave back and forth throughout my faith journey.

My father’s mother, Mamere, as we called her, was the bedrock of faith for our family. She taught me how to pray and that I should never waste anything. She taught my sister and I that we should be grateful for what God has given us. In the early nineties, she contracted breast cancer. She beat it and went into remission, only to have it come back with a vengeance in 1998.

By then, I had entered into eighth grade at my dad’s alma mater, a local Catholic boys’ high school, run by the Christian Brothers and the Archdiocese of New Orleans. There was a vibrant faith among the students. Each day during the first half of the 1 1/2 lunch, a group of student would pray the rosary in the small chapel we had on campus. I decided to join them to pray for the healing of my grandmother. I would offer up that intention everyday. “For the healing of my grandmother …” August, September, October, November 22 she dies.

What faith I had was shattered. How could an all loving and merciful God, a God who promises to answer prayers not answer the one, THE ONE, I had made faithfully for four months! My trust in Him diminished to nigh on nothingness. I believed in His existence because He needed to exist for me to be angry with Him. My attitude toward life changed. It was useless to study, do homework, etc. I picked up the horrible habit of procrastination that still haunts me today. I started hanging around with guys who weren’t bad necessarily, but who were imbued with the ideals and desires of the world.

This apathetic malaise continued through my freshman year. I was of the impression that the only one I could trust from then on out is myself because if the most trustworthy being in all of existence is untrustworthy with regards to my prayers, why then should I trust anyone else?

The Holy Spirit had different plans for me. At the beginning of my sophomore year, at the opening school mass, three seniors gave testimonies before mass started. All three spoke of how a grandparent, upon them praying, e healed a various dangerous and/or terminal illness. In my hardened heart, these words could have hardened it even more by the vice of envy. Praise be to God, I was rather cut to the heart, feeling like those in Jerusalem hearing St. Peter’s speech on Pentecost.

I returned to the lunch rosary time. Different people were there but the time was the same. The guys there were all my classmates. They were praying the rosary, but decided to expand the religious activities to praise and worship as well. It was the same six of us so we decided to create a little youth group. In our masculine teenage zeal, we called ourselves the Righteous Soldiers of God (RSOG). For the first time, I had a community of faith, guys with whom I could share my faith. Two of these guys kept telling the rest of us about a ‘real’ youth group at their home parish. I procrastinated. I would now have to find a ride, or drive, it was no longer convenient to practice my faith. I now had to go out of myself. After months of them pressuring me, I finally caved into positive peer pressure. I went to what seemed to me to be the safest of the youth group events. It was night of praise and worship which I had come to love. They called it PHAT night, Praise Helps All Teens. That night I encountered Christ in adoration. I was overwhelmed with the power of the Holy Spirit. From then on, my life changed.

I became very active in the youth group, which was augmenting the Life Teen program. I had a broader community of faith to learn about the faith, to learn how to pray, to grow in relationship with God together. Many of these people, ten years later have remained some of my closest friends.

The summer between my junior and senior year of high school I went to a Stuebenville South Youth Conference. The atmosphere was exhilarating, but Saturday evening was another life changing moment. Bishop Sam Jacobs, the bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana at the time, came in to the 6,000 arena with the monstrance bearing the Eucharist. Music was blaring, all were singing. I would have  normally been right there with them, but my eyes and my focus were totally on Him. For two straight hours, I never took my eyes off of Jesus. It was at that point that transubstatiation had ceased to merely be a doctrine requiring my faith and became the center of my worship. Jesus is present in the Eucharist. Amen. I believe. My faith at the point became Eucharistic.

It was through the Eucharist that Christ called me definitively to His holy priesthood. The morning after that Eucharistic procession around the arena Bishop Jacobs asked for all men and women discerning a call to priesthood and religious life to come forward. I took a public stand to the feeling I had within me.

Throughout my senior year, I would return to that petition, “Lord show me your will for me.” “What is my vocation?” I would go in front of the Eucharist in the local perpetual adoration chapel a pray this prayer through a set of mysteries of the rosary. One particular day during the South Louisiana winter I was returning to this prayer in this mode, in a particular chapel. During my time of prayer, I had my eyes closed. The phone of one of the other adorers rang (please turn off your phones before entering into the adoration chapel). He went outside. I could hear him speaking. I didn’t know who he was but I was somewhat annoyed by his lack of charity for the rest of us adoring. Upon returning, he asked the person closest to the door, “Where St. Benidle?” Something stirred in my heart, no it burned. “Show this person where St. Benidle is. Have him follow you.” This is not a normal occurance for me but I can vividly remember having this intense drive to follow that command, so I did. I walk outside and ran to the car whose break lights just flashed. I knocked on the window startling the man inside, when he rolled down the window in full view was his Roman collar. It was a priest! I said, “Father, follow me. I know exactly how to get there.” I got in my car and he followed. When we arrived at the parking lot, it was packed. I knew the pastor because he was the chaplain at my high school. I proceeded to look for him so as to talk with him, but he wan’t in the rectory. He wasn’t in the office. The lights of the church were all off. Where are all these people? As I walk back to my car to go home, I run into Fr. Kyle. Fr. Kyle was the new priest at my parish. It was his witness of priesthood that first spurred my desire to pursue the calling. Double priest. I was starting to get the picture but the Lord knows my head is hard. We did the random run “what are you doing here?” thing. I told him my side of the story, but instead of him telling his, he invited me to come with him. We walked into the cafeteria of the school and in on a big white banner with black letter read the words, “Thank You for being our Priest.” It was a dinner thanking priests for being good priests. This was in late 2002. Earlier that year the molestation scandal in Boston had broken in the press. I universal distrust of priests had spread throughout the country. These lay people wanted to support the men who had brought them the sacraments, who had been there when they were sick, who supported them during difficult times in their marriage, who represented to them Jesus Christ.

It was eminently obvious to me at the point the Lord was calling me to the priesthood. There is much more to my story, but I have already gone over the self-imposed word limit per post. Until next time, peace be with you (and with your spirit).

CHECK IT.

“Do not conform to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing, and perfect”

-Romans 12:2

My name is Andrea.  I can, in almost all aspects, be considered a completely average teenage girl.  I am of average intelligence, average appearance, below average height, and of fairly average talent.  I came from a Catholic family and I went to Catholic school for 9 years, but for most of my life I would have also been considered an average Catholic.  And an average Catholic, as depicted by society, is one simply in title and not in practice.  To me, Mass was “eh” and the Eucharist was a nice snack break amidst the “eh” and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary were also “eh” + a little bit of “whatever”.  There were moments where I felt touched by God, where I felt some glint of divinity in the Eucharist or in the stories of the Saints, but two seconds later I would see a cute boy and that precious glimpse of truth would go flying out the window.

It wasn’t until a little over a year ago that I made a pledge to take the “average” out of my life.  And it has been the most difficult affirmation I have ever made.  I believe the Bible verse at the beginning of this entry is so incredibly applicable to all young adults, especially myself.  Because truly, we are young ADULTS.  Teenagers are completely capable of making life altering decisions and of affecting people in profound ways.  It’s easy for us to avoid that fact.  What we do is beyond the scope of our individual personhood.  Our thoughts and actions not only affect ourselves, our friends and our families, but they affect the Salvation of the world.  We are that important.

Yes.  It just got real.

You might be thinking that I’m some intense zealot sitting in my bedroom chugging sacrificial lamb blood while watching EWTN and blasting Gregorian chant.  But like I said, I only immersed myself in the Catholic faith about a year ago.  And oh was it a rocky journey.

The story of my deeper conversion begins with my move from Minnesota to Alabama right before my sophomore year of high school.  And let me put this out there, moving in high school may not be a huge deal for a lot of people but I felt like it was literally the end of my life.  When I found out I was moving to Alabama I figured I would be living in Cowtown, U.S.A fighting off stray farm animals and racists.  But it turns out, the suburb I was living in was not much different than the one I had lived in in Minnesota.  Only the climate was much more humid, wood roaches were everywhere, and cicadas wouldn’t shut up at night.

My first year in Alabama was the most difficult year of my life thus far.  I had promised myself that I wouldn’t bother with making friends or being social because I was just going to leave and go back to Minnesota or somewhere that wasn’t Alabama in three years anyways.  But that didn’t quite work out.  Because every person yearns to feel united with someone else.  And I just couldn’t fight that desire to be desired.  And so high school turned out to be not that bad.  I was really involved with theatre, going to competitions and even writing and directing a play my senior year.  Theatre was my life in high school.  That was where I belonged and that was where I was accepted and praised.

Religion was not a huge priority to me at that point in my life.  However, it’s almost impossible to move to the South and ignore all of the raging “Bible thumpers”.   The largest Baptist Church in my suburb seemed like the size of the Mall of America.  And I’m pretty sure it had just as much parking.  Thankfully, I made friends with a girl who was in several of my classes who was very active in the local Catholic Church’s youth group.  So I thought hey, if everyone has their own little Church cliques, maybe I should join in on the fun.  So I went to a few events now and then but mainly just the “fun” stuff and none of the boring “Jesus” stuff.  That just wasn’t for me.  I was a free-minded artist.  I wouldn’t be one of those close-minded, ignorant Christians.

So for much of high school, if I went to mass it was solely for “God points”.  I figured, if there is a heaven, and if God exists I can just go to mass and daydream for an hour and then God would give me anything I wanted because I was being good and going to church.  FALSE.  That is not how it works.  If you think that’s how Church works, you are sorely mistaken.  I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

I cannot wait to continue this story but for now, I’m just going to have to leave you hanging because it’s 12:07 am and I have class at 9:oo am.  And if I don’t get what I deem an appropriate amount of sleep, I will cry.  I’m serious.  Sleep is important to me.

Okay so GOODNIGHT!

Reclaiming my Faith

If it wasn’t for my family, I know that I wouldn’t have any faith right now. My Mum was, and still is, a tireless example of what a good Catholic mother should be and my father introduced me to the wonderful traditions that the Church has such as the Latin Mass.
That being said, I still succumbed to the pressures of the world leading me to privatize my faith and in my 20’s I even stopped going to Mass altogether.
Looking back, I suppose one would say that I turned into a practical atheist.
Now I’m 35 and my husband and I have seven wonderful children that truly are each one gifts from God.
How did the Holy Spirit turn me around? I would say that people were praying for me, not just those here on earth but also those that have gone before us. Little by little He is opening my eyes to the truth. How great must the power of prayer be to be able to work such extraordinary things?
I will be writing a regular section for Universal Faith on the YOUCAT or Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church. I look toward to you joining me in the journey towards truth. Mary

I Am Third: An Introduction

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.

—C.S. Lewis

Hello, reader! My name is Charlene Marie. I am a 22 year-old resident of beautiful British Columbia, Canada.  Currently a newly-transferred Political Science/Sociology student in university, the blessing of a post-secondary education will most likely be my main vocation for the foreseeable future.

I am a cradle Catholic and was active in the Church even before I emigrated from the Philippines. My family’s dedication to experiencing the wholeness of Catholic life, on top of the genuine joy my parents showed while doing good works for God, got me to enjoy it too. I accompanied my mother with little to no complaint (excitement, even) to commute to the Redemptorist Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help for novena every Wednesdays, despite the discomfort of being uncomfortably surrounded by over 2,000 other devotees to the miracles and intercessions of Mary during Baclaran Day. I would sleep in my father’s arms while both my parents continued to lift up prayers in front of my grandfather’s tombstone overnight during All Souls Day. I would even wake up at the crack of dawn to walk with my parents to church to observe the Simbang Gabi mass novena during Advent.

(I really suggest you click on the links for even just a tidbit of insight as to what I am talking about.) :)

Praise God that my family’s connection to Catholicism did not wane upon moving to Canada when I was 7. After settling down, the four of us became active at the same parish we still attend. We barely ever sat/sit together! At one time or another a family member altar served, sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, or administered the bread and wine.

I am now currently a Program Head Volunteer for Youth ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) in my area, a youth social justice ministry affiliated with ANCOP International. I serve youth through conducting workshops, creating awareness of the state of our world and that of their surroundings, empowering our youth to change the lives of the poor, and planning mission trips for them to build homes for the poorest of the poor in the Philippines.

For quite a few years now, the Lord has really stretched my heart to not only love Him through the personal relationship I strive to foster with Him, but to help change the livelihood of fellow brothers and sisters whose basic needs are not being met: the poor, the hungry, the ostracized, the abandoned. I felt a strong calling to help feed, clothe, and shelter those who need it most for “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for Me” (Matt. 25:40, NAB).

If you actually read  through the entirety of this bio, I firstly applaud you. Second, I extend a virtual handshake to you. I could only share so much in this, my first entry. Thank you for allowing the written expression of my faith to accompany you on your own faith journey and/or search for Catholic information.

God first, others second, I am third.

May God be praised.

BIO – “Jon Jon”

Life is a Be-You-Tiful Struggle: God has played a major role in our life, in helping all of us shaping us into the person we are today.

Howzit everyone! My name is John “Jon Jon” Ulep and I’m an active Catholic in my church along with the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, known as the A.G.A.P.E. Ministry. The AGAPE Ministry founded in Honolulu, Hawaii is the largest Religious Program in the state. I’ve have been actively involved with the ministry since my Sophomore year in high school in 2000. I’ve taught classes, organized youth and young adult retreats for different parishes, shared my testimony to hundreds of people. November 3, 2011 I was named Co-Director of the AGAPE Youth & Young Adult Ministry, Hawaii, along with my friend Kyle.

I am eager to share my experience and knowledge with people. I hope working together and sharing our story with bring our Catholic community closer and become more active in their faith.

Introducing Priscila!

Dear everyone:

My name is Priscila, I was born the first day of the most amazing month of the year: December. I usually have no idea what to write whenever I have to write an ‘about me’, so here is a list of facts about me:

  • I love God, and want to love Him more.
  • I was born into a very Catholic family.
  • I enjoy my faith.
  • I grew up with the teachings of Saint Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, even went to his Canonization celebrated in Rome by Pope John Paul II (I am so lucky).
  • Latin American.
  • I am really bad at expressing myself aloud, hence why I much rather write.
  • I am studying opera, as well as business administration.
  • I sing at church choir.
  • Whenever I am really sad, I sing the Ave Maria, it does not work an instant miracle, but it makes me realize Mom is always around (and when She is around I know He is around).
  • I work at the opera house.
  • I am, apparently, the oldest in this lovely project. Almost 24 years old. That becomes unimportant when I start to act like I’m 12.
  • A huge C.S. Lewis fan! The man wrote every idea I had no clue how to express.
  • At some point in my life, my faith got cold, and our beautiful Mother Mary came to my rescue.
  • My family is one of my biggest blessings.
  • I love Harry Potter.
  • Owl City, U2, and Celtic Woman, are regular characters in the soundtrack of my life.
  • I enjoy photography *pats her Nikon*.
  • I am currently discerning, and it scares me to death.

I really have no idea what else is, well, interesting? I think that covers a bunch. I am kind of really looking forward to this blog. I have no idea what will happen, or where will it take us, but I am pretty sure it’ll be amazing.

So, let’s pray for our new mission.

God bless you all.

introductions are awkward, aren’t they?

Well, I certainly think they are. But here goes nothing…

I’m Sara, and I’ll be one of your bloggers when Universal Faith launches after Christmas.

Obligatory “about me” information: I’m a 20 year-old college student majoring in History and minoring in Religion, with concentrations in Russian/Soviet history and Christian traditions. Asking me how that translates to the “real world” is fruitless because I have no concrete ideas…good thing God’s got a plan, because I sure don’t!  I love my God, my family, my sorority sisters, and my friends. On top of being a Christian, I’m also a feminist, a Whovian, an academic, a verified geek, a writer, and a fat activist.

So, you ask, what could I possibly be blogging about on a regular basis? Boy, have I got a tale for you!

In case you haven’t noticed, despite Christ’s call to unity among the body of Christ, this is something Christianity is seriously lacking and it’s safe to say there’s a huge amount of misunderstanding between Catholics and Protestants particularly. I happened to have grown up in an Evangelical Protestant church –Society of Friends, to be specific, if that means anything to you, dear reader. After “leaving” the faith (I use that term loosely because it’s doubtful whether I really had faith before that point in the first place), I found myself existing in a strange place of quasi-atheism where I simply was not interested in God. By and large, it was the roughest period in my life; I struggled with self-mutilation and often entertained thoughts of suicide, going so far as to being ready to die more than once. I was probably one of the most hateful and moody people you could ever meet because I hated myself and I hated everyone around me. At 15, God met me where I was and essentially presented me with an ultimatum by revealing Himself to me: choose me and I will give you life, or deny me and you’ll surely die. At that point, I started falling head first into God because He gave me a reason to live. Ever since then, He’s been leading me to  a lot of places; in fact, He has a habit of taking me places I am reluctant to go because I know the path will be really tough. One of those places, as of late, is the Catholic Church. I am currently in RCIA with the full intent of receiving the Sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation in April and I can’t get enough of Catholicism.

So, back to the question of what I’ll be blogging about! As a Protestant in the process of conversion, in my mind, I have an interesting perspective on Catholicism in general and also Protestantism in general. Through my participation in this movement, I seek to look at various popular misconceptions of Catholicism and also to provide a Protestant perspective in order to foster inter-denominational understanding and respect.

Also, props to anyone who caught the Veggie Tales reference in this post. You win my respect. On that note, I’ll see ya’ll again after Christmas!

Until then, Kirk out.

(Any Trekkies out there to understand that or am I all alone here?)

Maria Arroyo: About me? Or all about Him?

I will try to make this as concise as I can.

My name is Maria Fernanda Arroyo Rodriguez. Please, call me Maria. I hate writing “about me” posts because I really don’t know where to start. I also feel like a blog post is only a brief on someone, but you can’t really know them on a personal level. The second reason why I have put this off for so long and why I hate writing about myself in terms like this, is because I am not the author of  my life. He is the author and I am only a character. Before I was born He knew how my life would be, He knew who I was and who I would grow to be. He had a plan written for me and it’s up to me to live my life accordingly to His plan; as well as I can. It’s all about Him. But as a strong Catholic woman, I have an identity too. So here it is.

My childhood: I was born in 1992 in the small town of Durango, Mexico. However, I do not remember much of what my birth place looked like, or what it felt to live there for the short time I did. When I was four years old my family moved to Oregon. My home. I still uphold a lot of Mexican traditions and customs and I can write, speak and understand Spanish. But I am an Oregonian at heart. Growing up in the United States was easy for me since I had no prior experience in another country. I am very Americanized. I went to ESL until I reached 3rd grade but I was always a quick learner and a reader. Because I was so little when I learned English, it wasn’t a struggle for me. My family has always been very hard working and they have always done their best to give me everything I need and many things I want. I had a lovely childhood growing up. I was a 90’s kid. I remember running home from school to get home and watch cartoons, I remember going swimming in the summer with my best friend, I remember getting many gifts of Christmas. Since I was 4, my family and I started going to a local parish. I became an altar server. I always knew that I was Catholic and I never had a fight with my parents about attending Mass on Sundays. In fact, I looked forward to it. My parents were always very traditional so I wasn’t allowed to do many of the things that other kids could do. But I didn’t mind. I had the most amazing cat, Greyman (she actually just passed away two years ago). I grew to love animals, love people and love my life.

My family: Family is the most important part of Mexican culture. Without your family, you’re nothing. I think this relates a lot to Catholicism as well. My family consists of my dad, my mom and my grandma. My dad is one of the most hard working people I have ever met. He works his butt off to make sure that my grandma, mom and I are happy. He is an example of a great man of God. He’s also really funny and has a great sense of humor and an even better sense of style. I get my fashion obsession from him. He protects me, pastors me and provides for me. He’s so real and so human. He loves to drink, but he never goes too far. He spends a lot of money when he shouldn’t, and he is lazy. He’s currently the kitchen manager for Elmer’s. He makes amazing food but he hardly cooks for us unless it’s a special occasion. Something about him is that he isn’t very detail oriented. He never buys gifts for my mom or brings her flowers and such. Yet they have been married for 24 years and he treats her like a queen. My mom is his proverbs 31 wife. She always was the good girl. She doesn’t ever drink. She is submissive and has the highest respect for my dad. She puts others before herself. She takes care of my grandma with such love, understanding and pleasure. She stays home with my grandma so that she is cared for. I admire her so much for all that she does. My grandma is the strength of our family. She doesn’t have a single wrinkle. She has been through so much. She lays in bed all day and watches the Mass on tv and prays all day. At night she watches her Spanish novelas. She was the one who taught me how to pray. Whenever I’m upset, I go to her and she gives me advice. She has never yelled at me but she’s firm. She has diabetes and so many more things going on so she needs a lot of taking care of and she isn’t able to do things on her own a lot. But she prays more than anyone I have ever met and she has such love of the Catholic Church and love of her family. She is my role model.

College life: I’m currently in my second year at Portland Community College. My major is education and family studies but that might be changing soon!

My parish: I attend St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Aloha Oregon. I like to think I’m pretty involved. I started out as an altar server and then I became the altar server coordinator. I’m also a trained Eucharistic Minister. I lector when needed. I’ve been a catechist for about four years now teaching 3-6 grade kids to do their First Communion. This year, Rocielle and I started teaching the high school religious education class. I also volunteer in the parish office and cover for the secretary when she’s away. I’m our RE director’s personal assistant…not official. Meaning I basically do whatever she asks me. But she’s my mentor and I love her so it’s alright. I also help Fr. Louie with his Spanish and I act as a sacristan and get him things because I know his facial expressions. I helped start a new group at our parish called New Gen which is a group that does youth Masses once a month on the third Sunday of the month. I co-coordinate the EMs for the youth Masses. Finally, I coordinate quinceaneras and weddings. But that’s my job so I don’t know if it counts! I’m there almost all the time every weekend. I love my parish.

My faith: My faith wasn’t always as strong and stable as it is now. I went to Mass all of my childhood but I never really understood why I did it. I just went. To me, it wasn’t boring, so it wasn’t really an issue. But I didn’t get the full extent of the Catholic faith and why we believe certain things.  During my sophmore year of high school, a brother of mine asked me if I wanted to go to a youth camp for his youth group. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But I went anyway. I met the most amazing brothers and sisters and I was welcomed into a community where, for the first time, I wasn’t judged because I was Catholic. And everyone believed in the same things I did. But as you know, youth groups aren’t perfect. We are humans. There is drama, lies, and often times a lot of feelings of being left out that I’ve experienced or heard from others. Regardless, I’m still in this youth group and it’s helped me so much with my relationship with God. I just wish that the majority of brothers and sisters in it would also take the time to build a relationship with the Catholic Church, and attend Mass as well as serve during Mass. One step at a time. I love them, and it has a very special place in my heart. Honestly, without going to this youth group my sophmore year, I don’t know how my spiritual life would be right now. Building a relationship with God, a open, honest, real, personal relationship, and being around a close group of people who encourage and support you, is one of the most important things about sustaining your faith.

My friends: I already talked about my brothers and sisters from my youth group. I want to take some time and talk about my friends aside from my religion. I’ve had many friends over the years. But right now, Marina is my best friend and I hope it stays that way always. She is always there for me, and even though she isn’t Catholic, she’s one of the people who fully respect me and don’t judge me. She knows that my religion is important to me and even though she doesn’t agree with certain things, she has a way of never being rude to me. We have had our arguments about certain things, but we always try to keep it respectful and considerate for the other person. Besides that, she’s everything you could want in a best friend. She understands me better than most people. She knows much about me. We like a lot of the same things. Whenever one of us has money, we never hesitant to take each other out…and we never ask for the money back. We used to go to high school together but she lives in Portland now and it’s hard to see her. We’ve been trying to make more of an effort but with school and my busy weekend schedule it’s really hard. I love her and I know that she knows that. Besides Marina, I also have friends like Alex, Travis, Ryan, Jimmy, Makaylee and Sarah. Yeah. I don’t really have a lot of friends who I really trust. Last but not least, all of my amazing Tumblr brothers and sisters/friends who I WISH lived closer to me and who I trust a lot and love to death!

My favorites: Gilmore Girls, shopping, scary movies, sunflowers, candy, light pink, doing my nails, leather jackets, painting, art, animals, especially cats, love, kissing, scarfs, fall, Christmas, peppermint bark, reading, writing, nail polish, texting, cuddling, food, family, rings, weddings, kids, bears, clothes, mint, iced tea, fries, red robin, avocados, boba, juicy couture, poems, shoes, sleeping.

My boyfriend: Is amazing. We’ve been dating for almost four years. He’s a convert to Catholisism. If we every broke up for some reason, I would praise God that I was able to work for Him through the Holy Spirit to make him believe. I would be thankful that He used me in such a way to change someone’s life. Nick jokes and says that if we ever broke up, he would become a priest. He would be an awesome priest. Except he’s too in love with me. So instead, he will make an awesome father. I love this guy so much. I will be talking about him more in the future.

My struggles: I struggle a lot with self image. I tend to compare my looks to other girls and feel like I’m not as pretty. But I was made in God’s image and I’m doing better, day by day. I’ve also started to eat better. You can’t just wish something to change and not do anything about it. I have more struggles but a lot are personal and I will bring up at a later time.

My goals: My dream is to be a wedding planner. But first I want to transfer from PCC to Mt. Hood CC for cosmetology. I was planning on doing it in the winter but I’m thinking the spring might be better. We shall see. I have a lot of personal goals as well.

My personality: I laugh too much. I talk too much. I’m very open with people, even when I shouldn’t. I trust people way too easy and forgive a lot. I think I’m fun to hang out with. You’ll get to know me more :]

How I view myself: I’m a strong woman. I take myself seriously and I am very hard working. I never do something half-assed. Although I’m also pretty lazy and I spend too much time on the computer. I cry a lot but that’s okay. I think my view of myself changes daily.

Where I want to travel: Ireland! Rome! California. Spain. Greece. The Vatican. I want to go every where! Oh and Hawaii. Mexico. Australia. Or maybe just to a nice cabin in the snow where I can cuddle and drink tea with my love by the fireplace after having a adventurousness and awesome time snowboarding.

Favorite bible verse: “I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength” – Philippians 4:13. I want it tattooed on my wrist!

It’s all about Him.