McKayla Bennett grew up surrounded by the Catholic faith, and now the University of Delaware freshman is going to make her relationship with the church official. Bennett, of Rising Sun, Md., will enter the faith at the Easter Vigil at Immaculate Conception Church in Elkton.
“My dad’s family was very Catholic, and they were very involved with the church when they were growing up,” she said recently, although that did not extend into Bennett’s childhood. “We weren’t going to church very often.”
A big influence on her decision to start the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults were her grandmother, Anita Bennett. But Bennett delayed until her grandmother died last September.
“She always encouraged me to go through this process. It kind of gave me that push that I needed to start the process,” she said.
“Her dad’s side was very religious. She would always tell me stories about how God affected her life. Only certain people have these stories. They were so amazing and so cool to hear.”
After her parents divorced a few years ago, Bennett would accompany her father to church on Christmas and Easter and some Sundays. Toward the end of her senior year last spring at Rising Sun High School, and into her freshman year at Delaware, the impulse to join RCIA grew. She saw other young adults her age who either had been through RCIA or were cradle Catholics.
Bennett said she is the youngest person in Immaculate Conception’s RCIA group, but she has never felt uncomfortable. Her family has been quite supportive, and she noted that several of her cousins attend Catholic school. She has an older brother and would have liked to go through the process with him, but he’s not ready yet to take the plunge.
She said she has not made much noise during her RCIA classes, but little gets by her.
“I’ve learned a lot through these classes,” Bennett said. “I’m probably the quietest one there. I don’t talk that much, but I take it all in.”
The staff at Immaculate Conception has not left anything out.
“In the classes, they kind of talk about everything,” she said. That includes a visit from the parish director of music to talk about why certain music is chosen for various liturgies.
Bennett has not thought about what she wants to get involved with once she completes her initiation. She has a lot of Catholic friends at Delaware, so campus ministry is a possibility.
She is studying art and design at UD with the hope of becoming an interior designer. She also wants to get her real estate license. Bennett admitted she watches a lot of HGTV and wants a job that gives people a home designed their way.
She also plays intramural basketball, a sport she has competed in her whole life, including at Rising Sun.
“It’s just fun,” she said. “It kills time, and it gives me something else to do.”