« »

Prodigal Son

“So Mr. B, when did you lose your virginity?” one of my more vocal students asked.

How to answer this question smoothly?

“OK, first off, inappropriate. Secondly, how does that relate to the ninth Commandment?”

My Saturday mornings for the last three years have been spent in voluntary service preparing ‘tweens for the sacrament of First Communion. But first, they need to figure out how to examine their conscience to make a proper confession. And stop asking me personal questions.

For those who’ve known me for some time, teaching Sunday school (on Saturday) is not an activity befitting my reputation. “Sex, drugs and rock & roll” was my personal mantra for years. When I first told a few of my friends how I’d be spending my Saturdays, the first question out of their mouth: “They DO do a background check right?” Non-believers.

I am the product of twelve years of Catholic education. And I was an altar boy. This combination means I am one twisted individual. At least I used to be.

When I moved to Florida in the nineties, I went to church sporadically. From ’95 on, I barely went unless it was someone’s wedding, funeral or if my folks were in town. There was a decade long stretch of self-indulgence that was my form of worship. I wasn’t a saint, dear readers. I was a sinner like the best of ’em. I’ve hinted at my “bad boy” behavior in previous posts.

Then I remembered I made a promise to raise my kiddies Catholic. I chalk it up to Catholic guilt that crept up on me one night the summer before my son began second grade. My mom was in town and she asked me where to find the closest church. Though I’d lived there for nearly three years, I had no idea. Behold the power of the internet. The nearest one was five miles away. Who knew? I took her to this modest little church, surprised I didn’t burn into a pile of ashes as I entered the lobby.

Like riding a bike, I remembered all the responses and sang along with the hymns I thought I’d forgotten. I felt like the prodigal son  from my favorite parable returning home.

After my mom went back north, I still attended mass. The rest of my family started going as well. And I made a proper confession. Shocker.

There was a religious education program for my son to attend to make his first Communion. Twenty-six weeks later, my sonny-boy was able to partake in the celebration.

Alas, religious education is an ongoing process, especially since Confirmation was the next hurdle for my son. Daughter dearest needed to make her sacrament, so both of them needed to get signed up for classes. The weekly announcements asked for volunteer teachers. It took me a week to decide and here we are.

Three years later, Saturdays are becoming quite the challenge. My new gig has me working six days a week, Saturday being my only true day off. While I’m still having fun passing on knowledge to the younger kids, this new batch of students have been pushing my buttons. I get the fact that their attention span is as quick as Charlie Sheen’s sobriety, but sometimes they make me feel I’m wasting my time. Not a good feeling.

Last year, I blogged my bucket list. Aside from wanting to travel and learn how to ride a motorcycle, getting a teaching degree was a goal. Needless to say, I’m rethinking my priorities. I figure I’ve just been having a few bad weeks. The nun in charge of the religious program calls me the “son she never had.” I wouldn’t want to let her down.

What’s next on my road to redemption? I’ve been asked to join the Knights of Columbus a few times. I don’t know about that one. My son’s now an altar boy. I signed on to become a Eucharistic Minister. Surprised by that move? I am.

I find my rediscovered faith a stabilizing factor. It keeps me sane. I’ve touted myself as a bad man for a long time, I’ll take whatever help I can get to side with the angels.

By the way, I was two months shy of my nineteenth birthday…

8 responses to “Prodigal Son”

  1. Avatar Auguste Renoir says:

    A "perk" for being a eucharistic minister….free wine/blood…a reward for service 😉
    on a serious note, welcome back to the faith!

  2. I totally understand the Catholic guilt. I haven't attended church in years and it the guilt haunts me. Maybe, after you become a pastor I'll check it out.
    Get your motorcycle license and we can go riding some time.

  3. Avatar ironiciconic says:

    Ah, motorcycling… to some, definitely a religion. Yes, that is still on my bucket list. So yes, we shall go riding. Sooner than later.
    Pastor Castro? Nahhhhh…

  4. Jason Jason says:

    I love this! Great work!

  5. llxt llxt says:

    The problem with making promises is that we have to keep them. It's a tenet of my faith to avoid the promise-making in the first place. ha ha.
    Great post, thanks!

  6. Avatar The Tailor says:

    Congratulations on your kids' Communion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

« »
RSS | Contact | Contribute | Login
Jumpstreet About Jumpstreet

Brian W. Castro's immediate needs are simple: his iPod, a good novel and a bottle of wine. He is a born-again New Yorker living in the Sunshine State whose self-deprecating viewpoint confuses even himself. Once a fan of "sex, drugs & rock and roll," he only revels in one of the three openly. When he's not looking for deep lyrical meanings in Duran Duran's discography, he can be found staring blankly at his laptop--hard at work on his great Filipino-American graphic novel. Incidentally, this stare doubles as an intimidation tool when his children are unruly. Brian prefers to write under pressure, acknowledging deadlines bring out his creativity. But he admits, "Like masturbation, procrastination only ends up with me screwing myself."

Read more by this author on 30POV .


October 2011
Kiss & Tell
July 2011
May 2011
2011 Best Of