Katie Prejean-McGrady began her talk with a short story about flying to Indianapolis to speak at an event and she talked about how long she had to wait at the baggage claim. During her speech she snarkily exclaimed that “Baggage claims are the pit of hell.” And she shared how there was this young kid that was cheering every time someone got their bags. Katie was amazed how someone could be the happiest person in the world at the worst possible place – and by doing so make it a little less awful. Katie transitioned into another statement by saying that many people are yearning to fit in and find a place they feel comfortable in; that place is not baggage claims or airports.
We belong with the Lord. We need a comfortable place where we can truly be ourselves, and that place is the church. She then told us how so often people think of the church as a building or a place that limits freedom; this may be because they have been hurt by the church. The church, though, is you and me and every member of the Body of Christ.
At the end of the day Jesus looks at us and says, “the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.”
Katie then spoke about a time when she had the honor of making a trip to Rome to visit Pope Francis and talk about youth. There is something that the Pope said to her that has been making her think for years:
“If you are not present, then a part of the access to God is missing.”
Katie also reminded us of the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation by saying, “It’s important to regularly receive the sacrament of Reconciliation; it is not a courtroom, it is a hospital.”
Towards the end of her talk, she talked about how Mother Teresa used to say “Find your Calcutta” which Katie interpreted as, “We need to find a place where there is a person in need who needs our wisdom, our comfort, and our gifts.”
Your Calcutta might be your immediate family, your peer group, your cheer squad, the boys in the locker room, your parish, and the list goes on an on…it’s important to have our eyes and our hearts open to see what your Calcutta might be.
She closed her talk out with a simple and short statement, “If you want to be a saint, you have to be around other people who want to be saints, too.”