As practicing Catholics know, the Easter season is a time for newness and renewal. Catholics spend Lent attempting to rid themselves of bad habits and create better habits. What better way to spend this season of renewal than to officially come into the faith?
This past Easter Vigil, April 3, six Franciscan students were brought into the Church through the RCIA process. Some of these students come from Catholic backgrounds and completed Confirmation and/or First Communion, while some of these students had been baptized into different Christian faiths and converted to Catholicism.
One of these converts, freshman Esi KumiSayki grew up in a Methodist family. She moved to Steubenville in October 2017 from Ghana and went to Catholic Central High School only a few weeks after arriving in the United States. KumiSayki said that is where she started to develop a strong attraction to the Catholic faith.
“I’d always go to Mass there, and then they had theology classes which you had to take it no matter what,” she said.
When KumiSayki started attending Franciscan, her attraction to the faith kept growing.
KumiSayki said that one of her deciding factors in converting came after a conversation with a friend.
She said, “(My friend) talked to me about the differences in my faith and the Catholic faith. And then he just talked about how I’m missing out on all the graces, because with the sacraments you get to receive a lot of graces.”
Every RCIA meeting she went to, KumiSayki said she loved the faith more and more as she learned teachings she had never heard of, including about the Triduum and how every day in the Triduum is important, not just Easter Sunday.
KumiSayki said she also appreciated learning about the Blessed Virgin Mary. From her old perspective, she had always thought that Mary was also worshipped alongside God in Catholicism. She said it was amazing to hear about how Mary is venerated and about how she truly has a big impact on the Catholic and Christian faiths.
The Lenten season was also a new and exciting thing for KumiSayki. She had never participated in Lent before this year.
She said, “This was my first time actually giving up stuff and doing the prayer, alms, fasting thing. I gave up social media and it was hard, trust me.”
After becoming Catholic, KumiSayki said receiving the sacraments for the first time was an amazing experience. When talking about confession, she said she had never told someone her sins before. KumiSayki said that the first time she went to confession it was “scary, but after I said my sins, I felt more relieved and like a new person.”
Because she was able to discover the faith by herself, KumiSayki was the only one in her family who converted. This was especially hard for her father to understand.
KumiSayki said, “He’s not … accepting, (but) he’s not angry. He’s more sad that I’m leaving my religion.”
One of KumiSayki’s favorite parts about the faith is the saints. “It’s just so cool that we have all these examples for us of how to be a good Catholic,” she said. “And no other religion has anything like that. I think every religion should have some kind of saints of their own.”
KumiSayki said she cannot wait to continue her journey in Catholicism, including the last few RCIA meetings. She says it will be hard since her family will not go to Mass with her over the summer, but she is dedicated to her faith and wants to live it out as she knows she should.