Apologia Pro Theologia
I can still picture the study room where I was sitting in Pasquerilla West when it hit me. While writing an essay for my Foundations of Theology class (taught by Matt Zyniewicz), I realized what the Eucharist was. (*Disclaimers galore: of course it’s a mystery that can never be fully grasped but I was given a great gift of insight about what God communicates with Holy Communion.) That’s Jesus. That’s His passion, cross, death, and resurrection made present every time. For me. For anyone. Holy Lord God Almighty! I was floored. I paused writing my essay to say: Thank you. Eucharistia.
I grew up Catholic. I went to a Catholic grade school and high school. I was even heavily involved in my parish’s youth group. But I had never been told to read Augustine, the Catechism or any Church documents really. Thank God for my core Notre Dame theology classes; they gave me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of God to better love and serve Him.
Jump ahead three years to the summer before my senior year: I was sitting around the dining room table of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker House here in South Bend (where I currently reside as a live-in staff member). Sheila McCarthy, a Notre Dame Theology PhD student, was “practicing” her Foundations class on the summer volunteers before she taught in the Fall. I was taking notes! I never take notes. I had even theoretically taken this class already! It was then I realized that I wanted to be learning theology and where better than Notre Dame? I immediately bussed up to campus, switched my major from biology to pre-professional sciences, changed my class schedule and signed up for a full semester of five theology classes. It was an incredibly blessed semester. I took a total of eight theology classes that year and since I had taken my two requirements already, I graduated with a double major in pre-professional science and theology.
I took a picture under the “God is Love”-engraved doorway at Geddes in my graduation cap and gown. “That’s the most important education,” I said to my family. Nowadays, in daily Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, I sit behind one of my former theology professors (Dr. David Fagerberg). As we sit before the Blessed Sacrament, I recall how he had further enhanced my knowledge of God’s love in the Eucharist by explaining in class how we are re-membered to God as we “do this is memory of Me.” I will always remember with gratitude all that my Notre Dame theology classes taught me.
Eucharistia. Thanks be to God.