Albia parish seniors share faith’s role in their lives

Alicia Bettis

Graduating high schools seniors from St. Mary Parish in Albia shared their favorite Bible passage and what their Catholic faith means to them. Four of the writings are reprinted here.

Alicia Bettis’ favorite passage from Scripture is, “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” – Colossians 3:23

“Colossians 3:23 means a lot to me because I have always been taught to live my life for God. I have grown up working hard to serve God, as well as others in my community. When we serve God we are not looking for personal gain; we do it because we want to follow Jesus and his teachings. As Catholics, we believe that we should serve God in our daily lives, not because we have to, but because we want to grow closer to God. This Bible verse reiterates what I have been taught and what I believe in as a Catholic; work hard to serve God, not for yourself, but for others.”

What my Catholic faith means to me:


When I was a little girl, going to church was a routine that I loved. I looked forward to seeing my cousins, my aunts and uncles, and my grandpa. When Mass was over we would go to Hy-Vee and help grandpa find his groceries from the organized list that Grandma made him every week. Then it was off to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for an afternoon filled with food, games and love. Sunday morning Mass has given me memories and a tradition that I will always remember. My Catholic faith has become a way of life.

Growing up my mom made sure that our family attended Mass every weekend. In the spring and summer, since sixth grade, I have been playing weekend softball tournaments. During the weekend tournaments, my mom made sure we found a church and went to Mass, a characteristic that has been instilled in me.

I have always appreciated the Catholic Mass because no matter where we are, Kansas City or Atlanta, Georgia, I almost feel like I am at home since the celebration of the Catholic Mass varies very little among locations. The Mass is always the consecration of bread and wine into the sacrament of the body and blood no matter where you are located.

My grandpa has always been very strong in his Catholic faith, a quality that has helped me become the Catholic that I am today. I have grown up listening to him talk about Catholicism; he reads about the faith as well as listens to tapes from speakers such as Scott Hahn, a Protestant who converted to Catholicism. My grandpa and mom have helped me believe that the Catholic Church is the true universal faith passed to us through Jesus and the Apostles. The faith is taught to us today by the direct link of popes, cardinals, bishops and priests. These two role models in my life have helped me make my decision to believe in the Catholic faith.

Now that I am a senior, I make my own decisions. I have a busy schedule with playing sports and working, but I still serve the church by helping with catechism and attending Mass. Some weekends I go to Mass by myself on Saturday nights because I work on Sunday mornings. My mom goes to church on Sunday morning because she wants to make sure that my grandpa doesn’t sit alone. She knows that he will only be around for a limited time, so she cherishes the time that they have together.

Going to church by myself this year will help me next year when I may not know anyone at college, but I will feel secure enough to attend Mass alone. I have learned so much about my faith from my grandpa and my mom; I plan to continue to develop my beliefs at Creighton University, where community service and Jesuit values are promoted.

Christy Belzer’s favorite Scripture passage is Genesis 6:1-22, the story of Noah.

“This is my favorite, because Noah put all his faith in God and did what he was told. Most people were doubting, but Noah knew he would be granted salvation. It is inspiring to me that people will do anything for God, even if they are not supported by others. God will always keep promises and we should always keep faith.”

What my Catholic faith means to me:

Being Catholic is something that I take very seriously. My faith has been something that has grown and matured while I have gotten older. I have been blessed with being born in a loving Catholic family that has taken the time to show me how to love God and that God is always with me. My parents, grandparents, extended family and even my neighbors have been positive role models in my life by praying, going to church and being involved. By doing this it has shown me that it can make my faith in God that much stronger. I have learned so much by the way they live their lives and all the thanks they give to God.

My faith has been a key factor in getting through difficult moments I have experienced in my life. God has given me the strength and courage to face life’s hardships and disappointments, and I have been able to look past them and realize they have made me a stronger person.

I think being Catholic is more than belonging to a certain religion; it is a way of life. The sacraments and symbolism that our church have are uplifting and inspirational. I think it’s amazing knowing you could go to any church anywhere, and the Mass and the people would be the same. Catholicism is a universal belief that has united many people and has represented faith in God for all to see. I am grateful for all the things I have been blessed with in my life, and I thank God for all good times and positive things I have experienced. I am honored to say that I am Catholic, and blessed for all the happiness it has given me.

Mallory Stoffa’s favorite passage from Scripture is Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

“I like this passage because it tells me not to be afraid and to take chances in life. Don’t be afraid about what others think of me because God is with me and he will protect me. Don’t be afraid to follow my dreams and be courageous because he will be there with me, guiding me and protecting me. If I ever feel alone or feel like I have failed, I have not, because the Lord is with me.”

What my Catholic faith means to me:

I think having a strong faith is important to one’s being and character. Faith allows me to accept others as they are, and encourages me to be myself to others. My Catholic faith leads me to have strong relationships with friends and family and also with God. It pushes me to be a better person and to encourage others to make themselves better.

Having a strong Catholic faith allows me to forgive myself when I know I have done wrong. It allows me to make peace with God and ask him for forgiveness. My faith also allows me to forgive others quickly because life is too short to stay upset with others. My faith is an important part of my life and I am so glad I have great people to share it with.

Susana Merrick’s favorite passage from Scripture is “Love is patient and kind. . .” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13.

“This passage is lovely. When I think about God, I imagine his undying love for me. This passage makes me feel good about myself. Love is in all different forms. It’s so beautiful.”

What my Catholic faith means to me:

My Catholic faith means so much to me. Being raised in a religious home, I have had so many opportunities to be with God, and come to really understand my faith. I believe in him so much. He never gives me more than I can handle.

Faith overall is a powerful thing. Believing in Jesus takes a lot of courage. There are so many bad things that can happen, but having the courage to know God is on your side is amazing. As a Catholic I know I am accepted for whatever I do. I am not criticized. I love knowing God is always there for me. This undying love makes me believe in him more every day.

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