Finding God in New Ways
Check back each day this week as we share the stories of some of our incredible students.
Although junior Jose Sanchez had grown up in a Catholic family, by the time he was a freshman in high school, he wasn’t really sure what he believed.
“I questioned my faith my freshman year,” Jose said. “I wasn’t really religious, and I just questioned my faith at this time, like 'Do I believe in God?'”
As a Catholic high school, Providence Cristo Rey requires all of its students to take four years of theology classes. This meant that the topic of faith and religion were brought to the forefront every day. Jose started asking questions in his theology class – about God, about religion, about the Bible.
This new chapter in his life took a sudden turn when COVID-19 hit his second semester freshman year.
“During the quarantine when everything stopped, I was bored and stressed. And then one day, I don’t know what happened, but I started reading the Bible,” Jose explained. “I wasn’t really an expert at reading the Bible, so I just read. I started with Psalms and I read it all, then I wasn’t sure what to do next. I didn’t know how to reflect or what I was going to do with those verses, I just kept reading.”
As Jose continued to read the Bible and internalize what he found there, he began to apply those lessons and values to his life in concrete ways.
“I would say I stopped being mean to people,” he said. “It helps me reflect on what I did in the past. I wasn’t the nicest person. I used to scream a lot at my brother. Now when something bad happens I just take it. I can control myself more.”
The change in focus and perspective also helped Jose improve his overall physical health.
“I was not in the best shape for anything at all,” Jose admitted “and my faith helped me change that. The doctor said I was overweight, and I think God really helped me to put the work in to stay at a healthy weight for my age and my height.”
Jose got involved with soccer and track and field and became one of the school’s student ambassadors. Soccer, especially, helped him create close friendships and motivated him to work hard.
In the meantime, Jose began taking Confirmation classes with the goal of being confirmed during his senior year.
“I have classes on Tuesday and they’re going pretty well. I had to miss a few soccer games for that, but I was like, ‘God will pay off.’ Well, we won sectionals,” Jose said jokingly. “so I can’t say that anything bad came out of it! But yeah, God first, and then everything else comes second.”
In addition to his weekly Confirmation classes, Jose turned to one of his mentors at PCR, Director of Campus Ministry and Student Life, Mr. Gonzalez for extra guidance and assistance. Mr. Gonzalez began to meet with Jose regularly to help him learn the prayers he needed to know for his Confirmation and to talk through whatever questions Jose was having about his faith.
“Mr. Gonzalez has had a big impact on my faith,” Jose said. “He’s really helped me out. Reading my prayers, just talking about what questions I have and how I need to solve them... He gets me closer to God, and seeing why he does specific things, he helps me reflect.”
Jose is grateful to his teachers, to his parents, and to the school in general for helping him grow in his faith journey. He has developed a firm foundation of faith, which he hopes to continue to build upon.
“I always say trust God in everything you do. Whatever happens is because of Him and I accept it. If something bad happens, I always say, let’s move on. I always tell people to just not give up, to believe in God because He will always help you in the good and the bad. I tell everyone that God is good and to trust in Him.”
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