Finding God on Gannon’s campus: Hayley Woebse discusses finding faith in college


It all started at orientation when we all got our schedules for the first time. Everyone was bustling around to see if they had class with their newly made friends, going down each class and comparing time frames and professors.
My first class at Gannon University was an 8 a.m. section of Introduction to Sacred Scripture. I was petrified, since I had no previous experience with this sort of subject, and since it was so early I was certain I was going to sleep in the class.
For the previous month before classes actually started, I grumbled almost daily about how I wasn’t going to like that class, and the nun teaching the course was not going to be pleased with my lack of knowledge. Fast forward to the night before classes; I was so nervous I could barely sleep.
I got up super early, went to breakfast and was a good 15 minutes early. I took my seat right in the front of class to wait for it all to begin. In just the first class I had, I knew I was going to really enjoy the teaching style of Sister Charlotte, but the subject was still a little iffy.
As the class progressed, I was getting more and more interested in the church and wanted to experience it in a different manner; I wanted to attend a Mass.
Luckily, there was a girl on my floor who was Catholic and who I knew went on Sunday to Masses on campus. I asked if I could join her one Sunday and she was more than excited to have me accompany her.
This girl, Maria Colt, later became my godmother and sponsor since she had helped me discover my faith, and was one of the first people who made me feel welcomed in the church.
After attending my first Mass at Gannon in the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel, I knew I wanted to become a part of the church. There was just a sense of belonging that I felt deep in my heart as the Mass progressed, and I knew this is somewhere I belonged.
Now, as for becoming a part of the church, I was lost at first seeing how most people are baptized shortly after birth, and not having been baptized I felt like a fish out of water in general.
Luckily, my resident campus minister, Emily Muntean, was more than willing to discuss this all with me and even set me on the path to become part of the church.
She had opened my eyes to the opportunity of the Right of Christian Initiation of Adults, also known as RCIA, on this campus.
It is a yearlong process with classes each week, as well as a few different Masses for candidates as a way to show them how they are welcome in the church, and to prepare them for the Sacraments of Initiation.
Throughout the year, I learned many things about the church and even better understood things that originally turned me away from the church when I was younger. By the time it got to the Mass where we received the sacraments I was more than ecstatic to finally be receiving them, and was sure I had found where I had belonged on a spiritual level.
The Mass occurred on the Sunday after Easter when we had returned from break. It was a beautiful ceremony with people I have grown to care deeply about since we had all taken this spiritual journey together.
I was even blessed enough to take the journey with a close friend of mine, David Lyons. The Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Michael Kesicki with the assistance of Brent Heckman and Delray Davis since they were the ones who taught the RCIA class.
In the end, it was a beautiful experience that I am forever thankful I took part in. It still astounds me that I started the year with no spiritual direction, but thanks to a wonderful professor I was able to find myself in the church, and for that I am the most thankful.

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