Honoring, laughing with, and apologizing…
I am honoring, laughing with, and apologizing to our three children who may relate all too well to my reblog of the 20 Signs You Grew Up in Catholic School, below. I read this post on the heels of my daughter and I attending a Catholic funeral a couple of weeks ago, and being astonished that we still remembered when to stand, when to kneel, the traditional responses to prayers, and all the roles of the priest and altar boys/girls. Hardly anything had changed since our youngest graduated high school in 1991–which is fast approaching a quarter of a century since we had regularly attended and committed ourselves a Catholic church and Jesus Christ!
Pre-school through High School Years
In fact, our family, during our children’s pre-school through high school years, attended mass weekly on Sundays, holy days, and special occasions at Mount Calvary Catholic Church in Prince George’s County, MD. We participated in and supported Catholic Youth Organization’s sports programs, fund-raising spaghetti dinners, thespian programs, and served as teen club moderators. We fasted on holy days and Fridays. None of us can ever forget the annual Fall school fund-raiser where the kids toted home large cardboard boxed kits of sample goods to be sold. Our church family truly extended our biological family. We still chat with our children’s childhood friends on Facebook or see them and their parents out and about or at social events.
A New Home, New Church, New Life, and Full Commitment
Upon moving to Calvert County, MD, 22 years ago, we searched long and hard for a church and biblical community where we could find that same sense of fellowship, family, and biblical community. We floundered about from church to church for several years. And, we have our children to thank for their patience, glowing examples, and perseverance in helping us find our church and extended family of today at Chesapeake Church. If nothing else, the sacrifice we made to allow our children to attend catholic schools provided them with great educational foundations and values and put Christ in their lives during their formidable years. Ultimately, our family has grown in size and value our relationships with each other, we made new friends, are enjoying new adventures, and we especially thank Jesus Christ for this glorious journey. I hope you enjoy the article below.
…Apparently growing up in Catholic school is just not the same as growing up a church kid. They had fun Jesus learning with Mr.Psalty, and we had just plain old nun-ification. With the help of three of my lovely former-plaid skirted friends, I came up with my own!
Let’s get this party started. Are you ready? Cause just like your first two hour mass, it’s going to be a loooong ride.
1. You at one point compared who got the “better” ash mark on their head from Ash Wednesday. Really they all looked like splotchy finger prints, but it kept you busy at recesses comparing noggins.
2. You feel like a rebel when you wear colored socks. Oh yeah, now that you are out, no regulation white ankle or crew socks for you! Blue! Pink! Black! The world is your stage when it comes to sock color because you know how to party.
3. When someone says “peace be with you” you say “also with you” without thinking. It’s true. The years of training sunk in, and there is no letting go.
4. While you tell everyone that going to an all-girls school helped you focus on school and made you more intelligent, you secretly know it also made you more desperate and socially awkward. It’s sad, and pretty embarrassing, but true.
5. You secretly miss having your clothes picked out for you 5 out of 7 days in the week. Life was easier when you were forced to wear a uniform…unless you wear a uniform for your job…then you are probably thinking “when is my free dress day???”
6. You still remember the names of 30 kids you spent 8 years with…their parents, and siblings too. Aah, elementary school. Sure a couple of kids came and went, but you got to know this core group well. You battled teachers, started puberty, and all sat through mass every Tuesday together. These are ties no graduation can break.
7. You still feel like you need say your prayer before a meal really, really fast, so you can get to recess faster. Because saying the words like you had an espresso, red bull and some crack all at the same time counts as a “real prayer” when you are starving and need that pudding cup…right?
8. You were shocked after you graduated to find out there were other translations of the Bible than the New American Version. NIV! ESV! IHSYESYGGLSO! Okay, that last one isn’t a translation that I know of but there are so many options out there! If you decided to stay or go back to the Christian life after graduation you were probably met with some confusion when you went to the Christian book store and was met with the aisles of different translations.
Authors note: This originally cited (wrongly) the King James translation, which isn’t approved by the Catholic church. I have since had some coffee, woke up a bit, and changed it.
(A special shout out the Mountain Mama Teaching blog for this photo!)
9. You’ve been dressed up like an angel, a sheep, and a shepherd at least once (but probably three) times as a child. Don’t lie. Your mother has photos.
10. …and you had to sing. A LOT. On top of the school pageants and usual fair, you had the special church events that they used your class singing off-key like some secret choir reserve force when the old women got sick. It was probably just a plot to actually get your parents to mass every once and a while.
11. When at any non-catholic church or the train station, your right knee automatically buckles anytime you enter a pew, and you have to stop yourself from kneeling. Again, it’s true.
12. You know how to fundraise and sell stuff like a boss. Whether you went to one of the “rich kids” Catholic schools or the “very much not rich kids” schools, either way they had you out pimping cookie dough, magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper, and coupon books every year. That pizza party just became less worth the trouble as time went on.
13. Your non-Catholic friends think doing the sign of the cross is some complicated secret handshake and keep asking you to show them how to do it over and over. It really is a secret sign that makes you get the good wafers at communion. Ya know, the ones that don’t taste like cardboard.
14. There was always some rumor about a dead saint body part, haunted room, or scary secret tradition (saying Bloody Mary into a mirror) at your church…that you totally bought. Admit it. You believed!
15. You know what “leave room for the Holy Spirit means.” One foot apart with only arms touching is the only way to slow dance and keep Jesus happy.
16. You totally made up a sin during your first confession with a priest because you were in the first grade and didn’t understand what the heck was going on. Your friend even said adultery, because it sounded cooler than cheating or thinking bad thoughts against your parents, and no one was smartass enough yet to just say murder.
17. You dreaded stations of the cross day. It was long, you had to sit in a hard pew, and most of the time you couldn’t see action or hear the person speaking. So you just sat there. For all eternity.
18. You have strong feelings about nuns. ‘Nuff said.
19. You are still bitter that you were not picked to play Mary during May Crowning or Jesus in the Last Supper. Only the coolest kids, and teachers favorites got those roles. Not little old you. It’s still hurtful to talk about.
20. You talk more (aka are more traumatized) about your elementary school experience than anyone else who went to public school. It’s an experience that forever changed you. There was good, there was bad, there was just odd…but in the end you survived.
***Note: Each photo is a link to the original source of the photo***