Hello! My name is Brooke Adams, and I am a parent volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul school. My husband is Curtis and we have five kids together; 4 of them are currently enrolled at St. Vincent. You may have seen us around over the years. Or if you are new to the school, we welcome you and will see you soon!
I'm writing to share my story with you about becoming Catholic because there is an opportunity right now to start the process of joining the church through a program called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation). It just started! This group meets every week and it gives you the chance to ask questions, listen to peer stories and learn in a welcoming, safe atmosphere. Taking this step can be HUGE and I can relate to anyone who is wrestling with the idea.
So, if you have ever been interested in joining St. Vincent de Paul Church, but didn't have that "person" to talk to about it, this is for you. I'm your person!
Faith was not a priority and never talked about in my childhood home. The only exposure I had was an occasional bible study school that my neighbors offered to take me and my brother to on a week night. Even then, I do remember feeling a "pull." When I was really young, I didn't know it was God. In high school, I remember seeing many of my classmates with cross necklaces and thought, "I want to be apart of this. I want to believe what they believe!" And if I'm honest, it was probably more about "being cool" and fitting in.
When I met my husband in high school, I was slowly being introduced to the Catholic faith, but I was very head-strong. I was not going to do something unless my heart was completely in it. I also didn't want to do something for the wrong reasons (like the necklace). I needed to understand why everything was being said and WHY everyone kneeled and WHY people walked up to eat and drink from the priest and WHY I couldn't participate in it but everyone else could. Curtis didn't take me to church with him very often in those early years of our relationship because it was something he had done for so long by himself. I respected that and slept in! Ha!
When we got married, it was important to him to be married at his church (St. Vincent)
and I didn't have a church, so I had no objections. At most ceremonies, a full mass is celebrated where communion is received (when parishioners go up to get the bread and wine). At the time we were married, we were told I couldn't participate in this because I was not a member of the church. But I still didn't feel this was a condition of my upcoming marriage to Curtis. He didn't pressure me. I wasn't ready to join the church. I didn't want to do it for someone else. It wasn't MY time.
Four years later, we had our first baby. The gravity of the situation got heavier on my heart. I do believe this was God pulling me home (to the Church). How do I answer her questions if I myself do not even know the answers? Do I even really believe? When we became pregnant with our next daughter, I decided I was ready to pursue those answers and act on my conscience. It was my time to be vulnerable and open my heart to God -- and spoiler alert, it was the best decision of my life.
In RCIA, you are matched with a sponsor who is a participating Christian practicing the Catholic faith. It was divine intervention that Curtis was allowed to be mine. Through this process, we both learned (and re-learned for Curtis) about the intricacies of the Catholic faith. It not only unified us closer together, but we developed a stronger relationship with Jesus together. During Easter 2012, we finished the RCIA program. I was baptized as a 28-year-old and welcomed fully into the church. I had never in my life felt more at home than I did that day.
Being apart of the St. Vincent de Paul community for the last decade has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life. My marriage to Curtis has been the foundation of our family. We have experienced both joy/struggles in our marriage and having this community to pray with and confide in has been a gift to both of us. I've been inspired by countless women & families in our church by their humility and grace. They find their strength in the Eucharist and in the community in which we all serve. The choice to become Catholic set me onto a road that leads me to Heaven. And that is the ultimate goal. I'm just passing through this world trying to leave it a better place; praying constantly that my actions and words are a direct reflection of Jesus and my children see Him through me.
Today, I wear a cross around my neck not because I want to be cool, but because it illustrates and reminds me of the greatest love story of all time -- And I couldn't be more grateful for His sacrifice for all of us.
If you are interested, even the tiniest bit, in joining the church, you can find additional information here:
Special thanks to Deacon Tim Birie for inspiring us to share our faith
and invite our friends/family to RCIA.