I was raised Catholic but never went to Catholic school. As a kid, it was more about learning faith and being a good person and less about the rules of religion. My parents raised us according to the “Golden Rule,” that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. God and faith had a role in all that. My family always prayed before meals and bedtime, I attended CCD once a week, received all the sacraments, and went to church with my dad and sister weekly (my mom is Lutheran but we were raised Catholic). Through all this, I knew that God was out there blessing my family and me, and helping me when I needed it.
We were always told that once we turned 18 we would no longer be “forced” to go to church. My older sister stopped going immediately while I still had to go. Eventually, even before I was 18, my dad no longer made me go. I took a break for few years. I still prayed, asked God for help, but no longer attended church. One day, my senior year of high school, something told me it was time to go back and I made the decision to do so on my own. I started to go with my dad again, volunteered to be an Extraordinary Minister of Communion and got a little more involved.
In college, I went to Mass on Sunday nights, became a lector, and hung around the Newman Center. But again, I felt I needed a break. Like many young people, I don't always agree 100% with the "rules” of the church and struggle with how that ties to my faith. I need to experience God in my own way and not always necessarily through the lens of the Catholic Church.
When I bought my house in Edison Park, church seemed to pull me back to regain my sense of community. I registered at St. Juliana’s, went weekly and sat alone in the pew. I started Bible Study to meet other parishioners and to have people to say hello to. In this church I found a new family and I lector to remain involved. I am once again in a lull with the Church but my faith has never left me. I will be back to weekly Mass soon, I know it. Faith is a journey and I am still going through mine.
Emily Gunty, originally from Edgebrook, is a Data and Analytics consultant and has been a parishioner of Saint Juliana for over eight years.