This is a guest post written by Rebecca Wood, who was a participant at the Steubenville STL Mid-America youth conference in 2015. She shares how the Call to Baptism on the last day of the conference influenced her journey to the Catholic Church. Rebecca was initiated into the Church on March 26, 2016. You can follow her on Instagram @rebeccanwood.

Purpose and Inspiration

What is our purpose in life but to inspire others to follow in our footsteps? What’s important is to set the appropriate footsteps for others to follow in. Will we inspire someone to follow Christ, or will we inspire them to turn their back to the Lord? Without appropriate inspiration, I wouldn’t be Catholic, and I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. Here is my story.

How it all Started

I first attended mass on Laetare Sunday. My boyfriend, Michael, was Catholic, and we decided to attend mass on that Saturday. I was so nervous as I waited for mass to start. He was trying to explain all of the things I should say and do, and then he tried to explain the rosary. The only thing that was going through my mind was “What the heck is a Hail Mary? I thought that was a football thing!” Eventually, I just gave up trying to listen to his explanations, but the minute mass started, I was in awe. I knew I was in the place I needed to be.

Just a few weeks after I first attended mass, Michael dropped a bombshell on me. He decided to join the military. Wow, I was not expecting that. Needless did I know, that decision changed my life. That summer, he shipped out to basic training. I was an emotional wreck and I had nowhere to turn to. Luckily, his mom, who was my high school teacher, pointed me in the right direction. Despite Michael’s absence, I continued to go to mass. I went to Camp Re-NEW-All, which really helped me connect with my faith. After camp, I decided I was going to take RCIA classes in the fall. Michael didn’t even know until our next allotted phone call. Needless to say, his mom (who was also my sponsor into the church) was ecstatic!

Steubenville and the Call to Baptism

This is the part of my story where Steubenville comes into play. With Michael gone, there was an extra spot at Steubenville that was unfilled and already paid for. Luckily, there was an extra room spot available for a girl and I was able to take that spot. I was a mix of emotions to say the least. The first few days went by without a problem. I was sad that I couldn’t experience Steubenville without Michael, but I was glad that I could experience it without distraction.

The final day of the Steubenville conference had a major impact on my faith. When the priest was talking about vocations, he decided to bring everyone called to baptism on stage. When Michael’s mom turned around and pointed at me, I kind of panicked. I was in the very top row of the stadium and there were THOUSANDS of people there! It was worth it. Standing on stage, the priest asked that everyone who would fast and pray for us to clap. The stadium exploded with applause and my heart swelled. It was at that very moment that the Catholic Church rooted its way into my heart. I realized that the Catholic Church is a big family, and I have a support system that stretches not only across the state or the country, but one that stretches worldwide. I cannot stress how important that is to me.

Switching Paths

Thanks to the inspiration of my first mass, my sponsor, and Steubenville, I found the courage to switch paths and walk on the path that Christ intended for me. I think it’s only fair for me to inspire others in the way I have been inspired. My challenge to you is find inspiration in everything that is good. Nothing is a coincidence – God has a plan for each and every one of us. How will you follow His call?

Written by Rebecca Wood