A different sort of homecoming

“I, your unworthy servant…”

Last week, I returned to my role as catechist for the Family Catechumenate at my parish. I was reluctant. My stomach actually turned and twisted at the prospect. For the past six years, I have dedicated most Sunday afternoons to families with children ages 4 to 15 who are seeking to be baptized in the Catholic Church. In those bilingual meetings, I have taught the parents and children about ritual and practices, prayers and devotions, doctrines and teachings, the Gospel and social justice–and a whole lot about my own faith journey. Before I took on this role, I knew very little about the RCIA(Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and Children) and had just begun to deepen my own knowledge and practice of Catholicism. In the time that has passed, I have learned so much more and yet I always struggle before the start of a new year.

So, with the usual butterflies, I drove to the parish I have attended since I was six years old, to work for a woman I have known since I was seventeen, to pass onto others the great gift I received one October in St. Bernard’s in Oakland back in 1972. I may not know everything about becoming Catholic. I may not be the most pious Catholic or even the best person I can be. But when I’m in that little room, surrounded by those bright eyes and those smiling faces, hearing and speaking the language in which I learned to pray, I am home.

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