“My family made it a priority to raise me in the Catholic faith. We went to Mass every Sunday at St. Charles, and then at St. Theresa’s when I started school there, and prayer was a regular part of our family life. By the time I was in high school I was going on retreats at least once a year, was an active member of the High School Apostles, and helped facilitate small groups at the first Convivio ever.
When I started my freshman year of college, I knew (what I considered to be) plenty about the history of the Church, Scripture, and prayer. My faith was primarily academic, and I valued it more for the rich history and tradition than what God had done for me in my own life. It didn’t take long at that huge state school to start filling my time with things that seemed more fun than going to Mass, and without the solid community I had back home, I eventually stopped practicing my faith.
The summer after my junior year of college, Jess Nayden called to ask if I could chaperone the St. Pius X/St. Thomas Aquinas annual CHWC mission trip. I said yes as long as I could get the time off work, thinking that there was no way I’d be able to take that time off with only one week’s notice. God clearly wanted me there, because one week later I was on a bus to Pittsburgh. I expected to spend the entire week painting and cleaning, but ended up spending it in the chapel while the kids were away at their work sites. At Adoration a few days into the trip, in a gym full of hundreds of high school students, I finally allowed myself to pray more honestly and recklessly than I ever had.
That week was a pivotal point in my reversion. I committed to daily prayer and participating regularly in the sacraments, which has helped me develop and maintain a personal relationship with Christ. Since that trip, I’ve been involved in youth ministry in some capacity at St. Pius X, currently serving as the Coordinator for Edge Middle School Ministry and Confirmation. While it’s the last place I would have ever expected to be, I am so grateful for the way God has called me to serve His Church, because I have experienced more joy helping middle and high school students grow closer to Christ than I could have ever imagined!”
– Shari Garcia, Coordinator of Middle School Religious Education & Confirmation, Bridgeport, CT
Every week we will be highlighting a young adult in the Diocese of Bridgeport and sharing their faith journey. Send us a message if you would like to share your story!