After 16 years of Catholic schooling it seemed as if the Catholic life was a piece of cake.
Grades 1-12, people told me when to go to Church, in fact classes were cancelled and schedules were changed, and I was placed in a line, walked into the Church, and directed into a pew. Getting to confession was a treat! I knew I would get out of an entire morning of classes, and I would probably spend 20-30 minutes sitting next to a best friend while we waited in line for our confessions. Then on the weekends, I was surrounded by a wonderful Catholic family. Always someone to go to Church with, and always someone leading me in the right direction of my Faith.
Then the college years came. At a Catholic college, I wasn’t quite walked to the pew at the Church, but masses were offered regularly. They were even altered to a college student’s schedule mainly at night and not even offered early Sunday mornings. Days like Ash Wednesday, you would see other students at the gym on the elliptical with ashes on their heads. There was no where on campus you could even find meat on Friday’s in lent. Although I didn’t have my family to take me to mass on weekends and holy days, I found a group of friends to go to Church with. We would coordinate dinner, or Sunday night plans around the mass.
Then 2 years ago I was thrown into the real world. I had the strongest and most faithful up bringing that I possibly could, but the ease of Catholicism was not as relevant as the first 21 years of my life. I no longer had my cocoon of Catholic comfort that I grew up. I started meeting people at work and in my personal life that weren’t Catholic, and this was the point and time where I learned being a Catholic wasn’t a piece of cake. I came to learn, that this one hour a week of commitment was a chance for me to shut off my phone, think, and pray. Each week, it is a my own decision to head to church, no one is making me…and I enjoy it.
The real world though, does not make it easy to be a Catholic and this has been my biggest realization after leaving Catholic schooling and no longer living with my Catholic family. On holy days of obligation, my boss certainly does not rearrange the schedule for me to get there. And confession— those long lines during advent and lent are not necessarily conducive to a 1 hr lunch break. Work trips with non-Catholic co-workers can sometimes get awkward telling them you need to borrow the rental car to drive 20 minutes away to go to church, and ashes on ash Wednesday are not as common in the business world.
The main way I try to live as a 24 year old young adult Catholic in the working world is through not hiding the fact that I go to church. If I am missing a brunch or Sunday Funday, I try to make it known that I will be at church. When I am asked my weekend plans, I try to mention going to Mass, and when I am on work trips, I tell my colleague I will need to fit in Church to our schedule.
Jesus gave his life for me, I will continue to tell my friends, coworkers, and acquaintances, that I will be giving 1 hour a week for God.