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Growing up Catholic

Becca Hart, a senior at St. Mary's High School in Lynn, pictured at the 2014 March for Life in Washington. Pilot photo/courtesy Boston Catholic Development Services

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I've been a "good" Catholic for all of my 18 years. My parents are active at St. Mary's Parish in Lynn and we celebrate the Eucharist at Mass every week as a family. I have been blessed to attend Catholic school since Kindergarten. Thanks to my parents' example and the faith formation I received in school, I have always cherished my faith. When I began high school four years ago, I realized I was being called to live it more fully.

Upon entering my freshman year at St. Mary's High School, I met Andrea Alberti, my freshmen theology teacher and the person who would eventually become my mentor. After only a few classes with her, I was struck by the joy and passion by which she lives her faith -- I had never before witnessed someone who so clearly loves Jesus above all else. Her mentorship inspired me to desire a deeper relationship with Christ.

Mrs. Alberti invited me to "God of this City," an event organized by archdiocesan young adult ministries featuring, prayer, music, and most importantly, eucharistic adoration. The opportunity to pray and be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament was overwhelming. I came face to face with Christ and the reality of his abiding love for me. I had come that night for extra credit in class but I left with so much more. I couldn't wait for another opportunity to experience adoration and such a powerful Catholic community. Thanks to the incredible youth ministry programs in Greater Boston, there were many opportunities to fulfill my growing desire.

Just a few months ago, I joined together with 750 other young people to attend the Archdiocese's annual pilgrimage to Washington D.C. for the March for Life. Despite the bitter weather and sleep deprivation from a 10-hour bus ride, we arrived in our nation's capital and took a stand for life by becoming a visible sign of the body of Christ. In a world where being young and Catholic seem to be diametrically opposed, it was incredible to join with tens of thousands of others who share in my desire to do the work of God.

Pope Francis reminds us that Christ is calling each one of us to radical discipleship -- to radiate the love of Christ in our lives. Thanks to the faithful witness of my parents and teachers and the incredible youth ministry program I am blessed to be part of, this call is alive in my heart. I have gone from attending a night of adoration for extra credit to choosing to attend Franciscan University to study Catechetics. I want to help other young people discover that they are a child of God, just as Mrs. Alberti helped me discover this in my life.

The Church in Boston is my family. It is where my faith began, and hopefully where I will return to help others find their way in the faith as others have helped me.

Becca Hart is a senior at St. Mary's High School in Lynn. She is a participant and peer leader in Youth Ministry programs made possible through the Catholic Appeal.

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