“I’ve…told him every horrible thing I have ever done in my life, and he has never judged me”
I was 13 when I started using drugs, drinking alcohol, and abusing my body. Not a day went by that I didn’t think about killing myself. My family has always meant the world to me, and it seemed like every other year I would lose one to cancer, a car crash, or freak work accident. For this reason I spiraled in and out of depression, and doing the things that hurt me. I was in therapy from the time I was 7 years old until just last year, and anger management for half of that time. I had lost my way, and throughout high school it was a constant battle between who I was becoming and where I actually wanted to be.
I love GW, it was my first and only choice, but I was hit by another pretty big shake in my life before coming. The loss of my uncle, who helped fill the void left by my father’s death, passed away from Pneumonia a little while before my graduation. I had surrounded myself with people I thought could “help” me, the ones who could make me forget about the pain. Numbing it didn’t help though, and I found myself avoiding everything that had meant the most to be.
I was hit by what we in the faith call “Catholic Guilt”. It’s this absolutely mind numbing guilt when someone asks you, for example, “Have you been to Mass today”. A normal person would shrug it off, but when you are really hit with the guilt it’s almost divine in how powerful it is. This guilt came in being asked if I had gone to the Newman Center by one of my first real friends at GW. When I responded no, she quickly forced my guilt into coming for a visit. I was welcomed by the most sincere and honest people I had ever met, greeted with open arms, laughs, and smiles. No one cared who I was or where I had come from, all they cared about was getting to know me. I was immediately hooked, and haven’t left since.
Father Greg has been an inspiration in my life and helped me bring back my faith in Catholicism and life. I no longer abuse myself in the way I used to, and recently when my grandmother passed I wasn’t left alone. When I told Father Greg I had to leave GW early because my Grandmother was dying, he immediately cancelled his appointments and spent time praying for her with me. A week and a half later, while I was home after my Grandmother had passed, I received a letter from DC. Inside was a card from the Father Greg and dozens of people had sent their prayers for me. Only a couple months after my first visit, and here was Father Greg and the Newman Center thinking about how I was doing and wanting me to know that I was loved.
I can’t think of any of a better community to be a part of. I’m more happy then I’ve ever been, I have amazing friends, and I feel like my life has a purpose. The people around me no longer see the depressed student trying to numb the pain, but someone who likes to give hugs and spend an afternoon baking cupcakes.
I’ve sat in Father Greg’s office and told him every horrible thing I have ever done in my life, and he has never judged me. When I fall into sin again, he’s there with open arms to help me back up again. When I feel like I’m alone, he’s answers his phone at 3 AM. When I am having trouble, he’s there to lend a helping hand. The Chaplain I know is a man who will put out his hand in support for anyone, all you have to do is take it.