By Christine Fahlgren
There are so many great things that Catholics have done in this world. When I start to think of all of the amazing people who are Catholic, I feel a connection to them.
It is crazy to think that I share the same thoughts and beliefs with all of those people. I think of the groundbreaking Catholics of the past. They were able to do so much good, and they inspire me to do more to help others. If they could make a difference, then so could I.
When I look back into history, I read about amazing Catholics who have shaped our world. John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president of the United States, did so much for our country. He announced establishment of the Peace Corps; he sought to improve the civil rights of African Americans and to provide programs to help the elderly and the poor. He showed us what it means to be a Catholic in a radical world. He also challenged the United States to send men to the moon.
Mother Teresa is another Catholic I admire. Devoted to God and helping those in most dire need, she set an example for the rest of the world. She opened houses for the sick and dying who had no one to care for them. Both Mother Teresa and President Kennedy received the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award, which the Davenport Diocese helps sponsor.
Sometimes, however, it is hard to be Catholic — even with good role models. Though many Catholics have done amazing things, others have done things that we are less than proud of. Regrettably, we are connected to bad things just as much as we are to the good. In a world like ours where humans know so much about everything, it can be hard to keep the faith.
Friends can joke around, saying things like “Where is your God now?” They can try to poke holes in your beliefs, trying to make them pop. They will talk about how fun their church is, and call what you do at Mass “boring.” There are also people who will be against your religion to such a great degree that they will treat you like scum. People might talk about how their beliefs make so much more sense than yours do, and try to change you. For some people, being Catholic is one of the most difficult things to do in life.
Life is a test for Catholics, more than ever in this age. When there are so many negative, anti-Catholic vibes floating in the air, take a walk outside. Shiver a little bit, but then remember what you know and believe. Remember all of the great Catholics from history. And then remember one final, very important thing. It’s cool to be Catholic.
(Christine Fahlgren is a junior at Burlington High School and a member of Ss. Mary & Patrick Parish in West Burlington.)