It’s Thursday! Which means it’s time for another chat. Today we get to meet Caitlin Gavina.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 7th generation Texan, pilot’s wife, and boy mama times three (four, if you count our furbaby). I was a political campaign director in San Marcos, TX while I was in school, and then became a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) outside of Seattle while we were stationed there with the Air Force. After 9 moves in 7 years all over the country, we’re finally settled in Fort Worth, where I’m blessed to stay at home with our boys and blog about all things crunchy mama.
Tell us how you became interested in Catholicism.
My husband Ryan is a cradle Catholic, but I swore I’d never convert after a terrible experience with the Church while we were preparing for marriage. While we were stationed at McChord AFB in Tacoma, WA, a friend and I would have long talks after her daughter went to bed about everything under the sun. As Air Force cargo pilot wives, we were solo a LOT, so we enjoyed the company. She was a cradle Catholic and able to answer (or find books to answer) a lot of my questions/concerns in a way no Catholic ever had for me before– gently, without pressure, with a ton of love for the Church behind it all.
I finally joined the Church on April 20, 2014.
What were some of the barriers you had and struggles you faced on the road to becoming Catholic?
When Ryan and I were preparing to be married, we didn’t even know whether he’d make it to the wedding, so he certainly wasn’t able to fly down to Texas from Washington to do premarital anything. As a result, we jumped through a ton of hoops to get the classes done via a book and videos while he was deployed or flying in the desert, get the paperwork done without reliable access to the internet, etc. We were happy to do it and grateful that they’d find a way– until the secretary referred to me as the “wrong kind of Christian.” Needless to say, that turned me off entirely and we were married in my Presbyterian church. I still struggle with hearing Catholics use language like that, not because I think our Church isn’t the true Church, but because I know how painful it is as a Protestant to hear it put so bluntly. Even if you’re speaking the truth, the WAY you speak the truth might be the difference between someone hearing it or someone shutting down entirely.
I also had a hard time with what I perceived to be a lack of a relationship with Christ. In the Protestant churches, that’s what the focus is– a personal relationship. As it turns out, the Eucharist and the traditions of the Church are what I love most about our faith now, and I now see how those can help us to create that relationship with Christ at a deeper level than anything I’d experienced before.
Was there a defining moment or series of moments that cemented your decision to convert?
Looking back, I can see all the touches God gave to me to set me up to believe in the one, true Church, between growing up with a set of “parents” two doors down who were Catholic (and lived their faith to the fullest), the healing friend He placed in my life after a member of the Church hurt me, and the biggest influence in my life, my husband.
What was your experience with RCIA?
Because we moved nine times in seven years, I had a rather long, winding route through RCIA. I started RCIA in Seattle, when we were stationed there. I restarted it in San Antonio, and started (and finished) it for the last time in Columbus, Mississippi. As frustrating as it was to not be able to join the Church for almost 4 years, I think it was actually a huge blessing in disguise. I’m extremely well-catechized and can defend my faith while also being able to explain the “why” behind what we believe to our boys.
How has your relationship with Jesus changed since becoming Catholic? Your relationship with yourself? With others?
Since becoming Catholic, I have started to put our faith as the center of our home. We pray before meals and bed; I have decor that reminds us of our faith in every room; we go to Mass every Sunday, without fail. As a result, I find myself leaning more on Jesus than I ever have before. I’m more secure in the person/wife/mama I am, and I’ve strived to be more patient and gentle (not two of my natural qualities).
Tell us your favorite Catholic book or author and why.
I LOVE reading anything by Jennifer Fulwiler. As a fellow convert, she speaks to a lot of the things I struggled with, but mostly, she writes in a way that provides a ton of incredible depth without feeling like I’m reading a novel for a college course. Her sense of humor is also on point.
What would you say to someone who was thinking of becoming Catholic?
Read everything you can get your hands on. RCIA is an incredible resource, not just for knowledge, but for book recommendations, too. The more you know about the Catholic Church, the more I believe you’ll fall in love with it.