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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Catholicism ingrained in student's life

By Maria Jimenez

In Puerto Rico, most people practice Catholicism.

For this reason, many of my childhood memories involve going to church on Sundays with my family. It became tradition to attend the ceremonies late in the morning and then gather back home to enjoy a meal together.

Although I’ve had that religious family background, it wasn’t until I transferred to a Catholic school in the third grade that I truly submerged myself into a completely Catholic lifestyle. We were taught all the history of Catholicism, had weekly mass services, celebrated the sacred festivities, etc.

However, I recall confession as one of the most impactful events that contributed to my spiritual and personal growth. I am grateful that I learned the value of the Sacrament of Penance from an early age because it challenged me to deeply reflect on my character in order to better my relationship with God, others, and myself.

Being a young adult today and looking back into my early years, I especially appreciate the fact that Catholic school did not just teach me the “core of Catholicism”.

More than that, it taught me the importance of working on how to live an ethical lifestyle.

With the help of great professors and a well rounded community, I learned countless lessons and tools that have guided me throughout my life.

Growing up with this background definitely had some impact on where I would end up going to college. I knew I wanted to study in the United States, but I obviously felt a bit nervous about leaving my family and friends to live in a different country.

When I first visited The University of Dayton, I instantly felt at home. The atmosphere reminded me of what I am used to...the warm people, community feel, and the religious ambiance.

It wasn’t long until I found my place and grew comfortable in this new environment.

I learned countless lessons that have guided me throughout my life.

Without a strong faith background, I would not be where I am today.

Maria Jimenez ‘23, Public Relations, is currently working with the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives team, spreading the faith to the Global Church through online faith formation classes that run 3 and 5 weeks.

Classes are year-round with upcoming start dates: July 4, August 22, October 10.  Go to
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