Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)
is a program for those of another faith (or no faith at all) to convert to
Catholicism. As for myself, I have always thought much about God in my
high school years, and I promised myself I would look into converting to a
Christian denomination in college, but I got really lazy.
I guess what really started it off was high school, where my friend Chad and I discussed religion in our late-night drives around Burlington (hey, what else is there to do in a dinky town?). He is Atheist/Agnostic, while I was Agnostic. I never could really figure out if I did believe in God or not, but I believed in some higher power. Sometime during sophomore year, I stole a Gideon Bible from a hotel in Florida on vacation (hey God, could you forgive me on this one?) and started to read it.
Flash forward to freshman year. Living in Sperry Four, my RA (Gregory Drake Wilson) was a hardcore Christian, and often times on a weekend night I would spend talking to him about God, or religion. Also, there was John Pennington, Scott Wetzel, and Christ Mancuso (which I might add is a bad Catholic, hasn't been to mass in over 3 years!) to guide me along the way. I joke around, but I went to Easter mass, and I received communion, not fully understanding what it meant, and I think that Jesus entered me, and transformed my way of thinking.
Jump to sophomore year. I really, really, really slacked off this year. I didn't have a tough schedule, but with pledging Alpha Phi Omega and everything else, I kind of let my mind wander from religion. I thought of converting to Lutheranism because it just sounded cool (obviously not a good idea), but I wasn't motivated enough to get my ass out of bed and in gear.
Junior year. For the fall semester, I was co-oping at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. and living with my roommate, Albert Presto. Being Italian, he's a huge Catholic. One day (I remember this day vividly), he saw the Bible I had stolen on my desk (which I had given up reading, Genesis is just WAY complicated to read), and asked what denomination I was. Sheepishly, I just told him that I wasn't Christian, but had thoughts about converting. Of course, the following Sunday, he invited me to come to Catholic Church. I had overslept the first two masses, not knowing how important they were, and left him to go by himself. The next week, I made an effort to wake up on-time and go to the 9 am mass with him.
I remember that day vividly also. We got there just a couple of minutes before mass started, and had to sit in the Vestibule area. I was extremely confused throughout the mass, not knowing when to sit down, when to stand up, and what to say at all. Worst of all, I couldn't receive communion. I thought to myself, "What the hell, it's just bread and wine, why can I have some too?" Little did I know what it really meant. I remember after mass, bombarding Albert with all these questions about Catholicism while he was getting gas, which he didn't have the answers too. Luckily, he had read in the bulletin that the RCIA program was starting up in August, and asked me to join. Thank the lord he did.
I also remember the first RCIA meeting; man was I uncomfortable. I was in the basement of the church with maybe 4 other couples, while Father Tom Baddick and Deacon Mike Laroche were lecturing to us about what the RCIA entailed and how the process would go. I didn't have the nerve to say anything, I was too afraid and intimidated by all these people. Finally at the end of the meeting, I asked Father Tom to meet with me so I could discuss these questions I had in my mind.
Well, after the meeting, plus a whole year of RCIA at both Allentown, PA and Cornell University (thanks Father Mike, Ed, and especially Sister Donna), and through all my doubts and fears, I gained the courage and strength to be baptised on Easter Vigil, year 2000 (Jubilee Year) at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, where I started off at.
I'd also like to take a moment to thank Albert Presto, both my sponsor and godfather, and Linda Fleetham, my cousin and godmother. Godspeed.
Here are some pictures from my baptism.