Essence of faith: return to Catholicism |

Essence of faith: return to Catholicism

by Elizabeth Reville
Special to The Appeal

In a recent television interview, author Anne Rice spoke about her return to Catholicism after 30 years as an atheist. I was reminded of my own journey back to Catholicism.

When my husband, Joe, and I married in 1968, we no longer attended Sunday Mass. Like many young people in the ’60s, we questioned the validity of organized religion, and spent the next 15 years without any religious affiliation.

However, in 1983, the year we moved to Carson City, I began to feel that something was missing in my life. Some people call it a yearning or longing for something spiritual.

A few months prior to our move to Nevada, I had come across a Catholic magazine with photographs of parishioners attending Sunday Mass, and I couldn’t help but notice the communal participation of the lay community. The accompanying article piqued my interest, and some months later, when a friend invited me to attend mass at St. Teresa of Avila parish, I accepted. That was the beginning of the deepening of my faith journey.

When I first attended church services, my eyes filled with tears as the community shared a sign of peace with each other during Mass. And, I remember especially an elderly couple. The husband, who was blind, rested his hand on his wife’s shoulder as she led him to receive communion, a living example of support and commitment.

I discovered that the essence of faith, for me, began with being welcomed into the community of St. Teresa’s. Within a few months after joining St. Teresa’s, Joe and I had our marriage blessed in the church, and our 7-year-old was baptized.

Over the past 22 years, my personal-faith journey has continued to grow through the study of Scripture and prayer, opening my mind and heart to what God is calling me to. I was inspired by the life of St. Teresa of Avila, a 16th-century Carmelite nun and a contemplative and social activist.

Catholic social teachings influenced my participation in social justice issues advocating for the poor and the disenfranchised. I also found it is important to find time to be silent and pray. Contemplative prayer allows my mind to center and focus on God.

My spiritual yearning or longing is fulfilled in finding Christ among the people with whom I worship and pray. We are a diverse community that comes to the Lord’s table, broken and blessed, receiving Christ who nourishes and sustains us. Each week, we come together knowing we are a people of God who reconcile and minister to one another.

I am indeed fortunate to have found a community that supports me as a woman and a lay minister.

— Elizabeth Reville is a Carson City resident.