Monday, December 14, 2009

Because I Want to Stay Plugged In

Posted by Webster
My friend who has fallen away from the Church was making light of my conversion some months back. He said, “You just wait, Webster. When they see you want to get involved in the parish, there's no end to what you'll be asked to do.” My friend doesn't know me that well, I guess. Because to get involved—as many hours a day as possible—is one big reason why I am Catholic.

I thought of this Sunday morning when I had the privilege of addressing this year's RCIA class at our church. I started out by saying they could look at RCIA in two distinctly different ways: One, they could see it like driver's education—do the work, pass the test, get your license, and you're good to go. Two, they could see it as the beginning of the great adventure of their lives.

I said that for me Catholicism is nothing less than my great adventure, and I explained the many ways in which I've explored it in my two years in the Church. I encouraged them to consider some of these, dividing my suggestions into three groups: personal growth, service, and adventure.

Personal Growth
Service—I listed some of the volunteer organizations in our parish, including the Legion of Mary, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Pax Christi, and Communion & Liberation, then suggested some forms of service that I've found meaningful.
Adventure—I wanted the class to know that there really are adventures to be had, from worshiping at the Cathedral in Boston, to visiting shrines near and far, to going on retreat.

I ended by telling the RCIA class about my friend Frank Gaudenzi (left). No matter how early you arrive at daily mass in our church, you are likely to find Frank there ahead of you: on his knees in the front pew, unmoving, praying silently. Frank is 85 years old, and he is there every morning. Frank has a couple of great expressions. One, delivered with a fist pump, is "Go easy." But my favorite is Frank's secret to keeping your faith alive. It's simple, Frank will tell you, "You have to stay plugged in." For Frank that means being at his post every morning.

For me "staying plugged in" is the whole sense of my life as a Catholic. It's just not enough to go to mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation, not for me. I'm too old, I've made too many mistakes, I need too much help now, not to allow the Church to inform every possible minute of my day.