Genesis Vasquez | Tuesday, September 6, 2016
My experience with the Latino Freshman Retreat (LFR) this weekend was a bittersweet time.
The LFR’s theme this year was “Tu aventura comienza,” which means “Your adventure begins.” Although my adventure with religion came from my family claiming they were Catholic, growing up we never practiced it much. I remember going to church on Ash Wednesday, and sometimes early mornings before school I would light a candle at the chapel. Somewhere along the lines, I drifted away from the whole religious world and learned more about the big-bang theory and spirituality. It was not until freshman year of high school where I really questioned God and what I wanted to believe in.
Throughout my senior year, I was struggling with identity issues and what it really meant to be myself. I always thought I was expressing myself to the fullest and it was not until after graduation where I finally felt a relief off of my shoulders. I felt like I was able to try and figure out everything I like and dislike. Once I stepped foot onto Saint Mary’s campus, I saw how much of an important role Campus Ministry portrays.
The connection between Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame is wonderful. I was able to go on my first retreat with Notre Dame’s Campus Ministry. I met amazing new people who are from many different places with many different backgrounds. I canoed for the first time and it was funny to have fallen out of the canoe after I got to shore. I had to give all of my trust to people in my group who I hardly knew while being blind-folded as we walked in the dark woods to somewhere we did not know where we were going. It was a beautiful time to express my love for nature and openness to new things.
The bitterness part was trying to come out of my comfort zone because I was not raised in such a religious household. I often had times where I felt uncomfortable trying to understand those who were so entirely devoted to God and why. I questioned how people become so faithful and although I did not have my questions answered, I know I will find my way as I continue to explore religion in college. As I begin my new journey in a new place, I am excited to see if my beliefs change or if I will be opened to be a part of this religious world without actually having to practice a specific religion. As I have many questions, I know I will find my way in my “nueva aventura.”
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.