Experience Paper

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Chloe Jeter
Tuesday November 27th,2012
Religion 231
Wertman

Experience Paper

Friday, November 2nd, 2012
11:00am-12:00pm
7600 Old Keene Mill Rd | Springfield, Virginia 22152
Saint Bernadette Parrish
Roman Catholic

For as long as what I can remember, I have always had a fascination with the Catholic faith. I was brought up with no sort of religious upbringing and I have always felt out of place due to this. My parents were both baptized but also never raised with a religious background and when they decided to settle down to have my sister and myself, they knew that they did not want to make religious decisions for us. I have found it to be rather difficulty growing up not really having faith in a higher being and being around people who devote their lives to their religion. For my experience paper I really wanted to get a better understand of Christianity. Although we did not cover Christianity in class this semester, I knew that I wanted to dig deeper and explore this religion for my paper.

Although my family has celebrated Christmas and Easter, which are both very important holidays to Christians, we have never associated how we choose to celebrate with incorporating religion. Being around my best friend, Cristina and my boyfriend, Patrick, who are both devout Catholics and went through private Catholic education all their lives, has sparked my interest in what they both believe in. Also going to many Christian influenced weddings and funerals has made me more intrigued by the religion. Having no background knowledge or understanding of Christianity as a whole I was excited to take the time to get to see an inside view of what I have felt to be missing out on.

The event that I went to was the Eucharistic Adoration located inside the chapel of Saint Bernadette Parish. The adoration of the Eucharist is a practice that takes place in the Roman Catholic Church. At this event the Blessed Sacrament also know as the body and blood of Christ is showed and decorated for the believers. When the Eucharist is present outside of Mass, it is simply called Eucharistic meditation. This is a separate time from Mass in which Catholics can sit to pray and reflect upon themselves at their own convenience. From asking many questions about Catholicism and the Adoration of the Eucharist to my boyfriend and Cristina, I learned that this was something that they both enjoy. Mainly since it was something that they could do at their own time and that it was a more personal experience for them. This Adoration for Christians is seen as respect and devotion to Jesus Christ and an intimate moment to be in the presence to what they believe is the body and blood of Christ.

The building itself is rather large and holds a preschool, elementary and middle school, with current enrolment being 503. When I walked into the doors of the church, nothing struck me by surprise in terms of the art and architecture. I then proceeded into the chapel with my friend Cristina and noticed that is was a simple set up with an altar and several rows of pews. The Eucharist Adoration at St. Bernadette’s takes place the first Friday of the month after the nine o’clock morning Mass and with closing prayers at 8 o’clock in the evening. Due to the fact that this event is open during the day, members may walk in and choose where they would like to sit.

When Cristina and I took are place in one of the pews, I noticed that there were only 5 or 6 other individuals with us in the chapel. Everyone was in casual but put together attire, which was sort of a surprise for me. I had always assumed that whenever attending church that everyone should be in his or her “Sunday Best.” I was also not expecting to see other races, many being Asian and Latino. Most of the people who I observed were older and middle class. During this event there was no leading by a priest and everyone was praying on his or her own. My friend Cristina began to describe what this service was...
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