Dr. Knight: What drew you to begin your journey in RCIA?
Elin: I have always considered myself a faithful and God minded person. For twelve of my developing years, I was active in an Episcopal traveling church choir. We sang all over the country and in cathedrals in England. The gift of singing made me feel close to God, but when it came to joining the church by being baptized and confirmed it overwhelmed me. Both my parents encouraged me to practice being God minded growing up and to be forgiving and loving like Jesus. After my time as a head chorister, I was off to college and faith took a different shape. My dad and I did several trials run together and that’s what we’d call our church time and reflected on our gratitude for God’s creation. Fast forward to age 26 and I found myself back singing in church only this time with my significant other. I always wanted to belong to a church and went to different services throughout the years, but nothing stuck until that time when my boyfriend (future sponsor) asked me to join him at a catholic church in Lakeview, St. Alphonsus. I love being in a church again and singing the hymns. Pretty quickly I became hooked but sought to be more involved, which led me to RCIA at Holy Name Cathedral.
Dr. Knight: How did the program draw you into your relationship with Christ?
Elin: Each Sunday, I learned more of Jesus’ teachings which provided a gateway for me to be closer to Christ.
Dr. Knight: What did Baptism mean to you?
Elin: Baptism meant to me that I was ready to share Christ’s light in being an adopted child of God. My grandfather grew up in a Christian revival tent since his father was a preacher. I know he would have been so proud of me for following Christ and affirming my faith. He was a huge believer in Christ’s teaching and thought that should be the primary pillar for practicing Christians.
Dr. Knight Your family and friends seemed very supportive, could you tell us how that felt to you?
Elin: Not all of my friends are religious, but they were curious and excited for me on this journey. My parents were also crucial in helping me to define why I wanted to join and my purpose for doing so. They did not support me going through the motions without my heart. The helped me to harness my thoughts and many feelings to be present in RCIA and in accepting the sacraments.
Dr. Knight: The receiving of the Eucharist is very special in our Church as it means we are truly receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. How did the reception of the Eucharist change you?
Elin: After Baptism, like immediately after, I felt more connected to the Holy Trinity. I felt fuller and richer in my faith life. What I felt was that I was closer to Jesus. Upon, receiving the Eucharist I had a similar experience that filled me up and made me think about how Christ sacrificed for us to carry out his light, be neighborly to others and do our best. It was a beautiful moment, especially sitting in the front pews near the big crucifix at Holy Name Cathedral.
Dr. Knight: How did the other participants in the RCIA program help you?
Elin: I enjoyed my classmates so much that it was important for me to accept the sacraments along with them. Speaking about religion feels vulnerable, personal and uncomfortable. My classmates were supportive, patient and open to participation and opening up in this vulnerable space for us. We all succeeded together by taking part in the classes activities.
Dr. Knight: What is one thing you would tell someone else (maybe in your workplace or at a baby shower) how the RCIA changed you.
Elin: RCIA both taught and encouraged me to be my best self both in the Church walls and outside. I am more thoughtful of others, giving to those who need it and feel wholeness in being more spiritually connected.
Dr. Knight: What was your favorite moment?
Elin: My favorite moment was just after being confirmed by Bishop Mark Bartosic. I sat back down at my seat, opened my hymnal and began to sing See Ye First. It was a hymn I used to sing back in my church choir days and suddenly my faith life flashed before my eyes as I sang: Singing in all those rehearsals growing up, reflecting on singing for God, appreciating God’s creation on countless trail runs with my dad, being in RCIA, and the big commitment I made just a moment before. Everything felt like it came full circle. I became overwhelmed with elated emotion and controllable tears rolled down my face as I tried to keep a tune without my voice cracking. The Holy Spirit was there at that moment and I’ll never forget it.