By Nataly Castillo
On April 8th, I was ready to take part in my first Easter Vigil.
I thought of the spiritual growth I felt since I began learning more about the Catholic faith. My family is Catholic, so I went to Mass every now and then and celebrated the major holidays. I, however, was never baptized.
Life happened, and time flew by, so my parents left it up to me to decide if this was something I wanted to do. It wasn’t until recently that I felt I was ready to take this journey.
God might have planned this for me all along. Everything happens for a reason, and I feel as though He wanted me to fully embrace, remember, and feel what it means to be of the Catholic faith.
These thoughts ran through my head as I sat in the Holy Name of Jesus Church in Windsor Terrace the night of the Easter Vigil, counting the lilies surrounding the altar and listening to the homily as I waited for Father Larry to call me up. I looked at my instructor, Deacon Gerry, and thought of all the hours of learning, reading, discussing philosophy, and the who and what and why of whatever I could think of.
It was finally time for my baptism rite. My parents and godparents stood behind me. I watched the water drip down from my head. We moved towards the center of the church, and I felt my sponsor’s hand on my shoulder as I received confirmation.
Later on, I waited to receive and consume the Eucharist and, in doing so, completed the three sacraments of initiation I had been looking forward to.
To me, this is what it means to feel God. It wasn’t just because I was in church on one of the most sacred and holiest of nights, having just completed my sacraments. It was because I didn’t feel alone.
God sent me on this journey of understanding and brought great joy into my life. I was in celebration, surrounded by the ones who most care about me, watching and supporting me throughout this journey.
I held back tears of joy as I thought of how lovely it is to have this wonderful moment to think of and what a great decision this turned out to be. Now, I have the Catholic teachings that I will use as a guide to learn how to love myself better, to continue loving and respecting others, and to continue trying my best.
I am grateful for all the gifts that this life has to offer now that I am strengthened in prayer and officially born into this life of faith.
Nataly Castillo, 19, received her sacraments at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Windsor Terrace.