Non-denominational student experiences Roman Catholic lifestyle

Colorful stained glass windows allowed the bright sunshine to burst through the cool sanctuary. Adam Thomas, the church clerk, walked me through a tour of St. Thomas

Cathedral and Student CenterGrandeur is the only word to describe many Catholic cathedrals. The fleets of nuns and cluster of burning candles that I thought I would see were replaced with friendly students and flyer invitations. 

I had only been to a Catholic church once for my baccalaureate service in high school but this was my first experience into the dynamics of a Catholic church.

“The catholic church is a cross section with a huge spectrum of people,” said Thomas, an FSU master’s theology student from Atlanta.

He briefly introduced me to the domination. The differences slightly vary but the types of patrons are wide.  

Michelle Bright, a 19-year-old FSU education student from Okinawa, Japan, grew up

Catholic and continues to be active in the Christian faith.

“I had to participate because my family did but it has became a part of my life,” said Bright.

Bright and Thomas continued in the Catholic domination for their own personal reasons.

“I couldn’t find the absolute morality that I found within the church anywhere else,” Thomas said.

A similar peace came over me as I spoke with Clinton Reed.

“I’ve experienced the love of Christ and the transforming power of his grace,” said Reed, a 28-year-old monk from San Antonio.

Reed was sent to Tallahassee by The Brotherhood of Hope, which is a monastery in Boston that ministers to college campuses across the east coast. These brotherhoods are known as “market monks,” unlike the conventional catholic monks that I always thought lived in church basements chanting hymns.

Baptized his freshman year after being witnessed to by a group of Catholic friends, Reed grew up in a “non-practicing” Christian household, meaning as a child he never went to church, read the Bible or prayed at home.

“The church proposed an answer to the longings of my heart,” said Reed.

Christopher Charles was born into a Baptist church but converted with his mother at the age of seven. He sings in the choir and has been an alter server for 13 years at his Miami church.

“If you’re involved in the church it’s definitely not boring,” said Charles, 22, a criminal justice student from Tuskegee University.

Though I knew they were Christian just like me, initially, I thought that the Catholic domination was lackluster and unfulfilling.

Growing up in a nondenominational Christian church, I was not exposed to other Christian dominations.

“The certain sense of mystery in something that I will never fully grasp but still have the desire for, keeps me here,” said Thomas.