New Catholic says she ‘really enjoyed this journey’ leading her to church

Nichole S. Gehr

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Using a momentous journey is not a new working experience for Jillian Shen.

Born and lifted in China, she moved to California to earn a bachelor’s diploma in psychology at the College of California in Los Angeles and her master’s degree in that subject at California Point out University.

Then she moved to Maryland, where by she is working on her doctorate in utilized developmental psychology at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County.

And this past yr, Shen has been on a spiritual journey preparing to turn into Catholic, and she received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and to start with Communion throughout the Easter Vigil April 3 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.

Shen mentioned after she commenced courting Sean Montgomery — a Catholic who performs as a job supervisor — she at times went to Mass with him and his loved ones. The couple became engaged in 2018, and they made the decision they preferred to be married in the Catholic Church and elevate their small children Catholic.

Following speaking about their long run daily life alongside one another and with Sean’s encouragement, she joined the Rite of Christian Initiation of Grownups system at the cathedral, and her journey of faith formally began, she said.

For the duration of the pandemic, the weekly RCIA classes had been held just about, and Shen remembers currently being struck by a single of the 1st lines in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The desire for God is prepared in the human coronary heart.”

“That really resonated with me,” Shen explained to the Catholic Regular, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Although she did not develop up in a religious family members in China, Shen’s paternal grandparents ended up Christian and would say grace in advance of each meal. She remembers as a minor girl her father telling her to put down her chopsticks, that her grandmother was going to say grace.

As a result, Shen said she has often been “very curious and respectful about faith in normal.”

“When they (my grandparents) were in their 80s, they would consider a bus to the only church in my hometown metropolis,” Shen remembered, incorporating that as an adult when she would converse with her grandmother on the phone, “she would normally persuade me to seek out Christianity.”

Shen additional, “I’d like to say my grandparents planted a seed in me,” and then conference, courting and becoming engaged to her fiancé “gave me the nudge to take the first phase to change to Catholicism.”

The couple made a decision to postpone their marriage ceremony because of the pandemic, and they hope to get married at a Catholic church in Rome, San Pietro in Montorio, in May well 2022, after their relationship planning at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. She’s producing her dissertation and hopes to finish do the job on her doctorate this summertime.

Throughout the pandemic, Shen reported, there were being so numerous uncertainties in existence and she discovered herself shedding direction.

“Studying Christianity in normal and Catholicism introduced peace to my brain,” she reported, noting that she felt she did not know how to pray appropriately, so she requested her fiancé and also googled “how to pray” and viewed similar YouTube videos.

“When I felt depressed, dropped, I’d sense this urge for praying,” Shen explained. “When I felt that urge, it was like God was contacting me to construct this romantic relationship with him.”

This yr, Shen observed Lent for the initially time, and she and Montgomery resolved on something simple to observe the season. It harkened back to the illustration of her grandparents in China: They prayed jointly right before supper.

“It’s a start out for us, to be additional conscious as a relatives to bolster our romantic relationship with God,” she mentioned.

Interviewed a number of days prior to the Easter Vigil, Shen stated, “I’m very excited, a small anxious, way too. I sense like it’s a huge instant.”

Questioned how her daily life would adjust after Easter, she reported, “It’s pretty much like I’ve adopted a distinct mindset” when facing problems. … The prolonged-time period target is to bolster my partnership with God, and with other Catholics, too.”

And she’ll carry on mastering about her faith. “That’s a life time journey,” she reported.

The female who said she experienced to understand how to pray included, “I pray every single working day now.”

And as for all that led her to this second of starting to be a Catholic, she additional, “I definitely enjoyed this journey.”

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