OCEAN CITY, Md. – When Mia Schreier formally joins the Catholic Church next month at St. Mary Star of the Sea-Holy Savior Parish in Ocean City, Md., she will be able to join her husband and sons in fully practicing the faith. She had a glimpse of how Catholicism could do that while occasionally attending Mass with a great-aunt while living in Naples, Fla.
“I was attracted to what my friends had. Looking back, I was drawn to their families and how close a connection they had drawn. I couldn’t tell you what it was, but I can figure it out now,” she said earlier this week.
Schreier, who lives near Berlin, Md., said she “never really had a faith background” while growing up in a military family. Born in San Diego, she also lived in Hawaii and Florida, but spent the bulk of her childhood in Virginia after her father retired from the Navy.
She and her husband, Eddy, both attended the University of Maryland, although they did not know each other when they were students. Instead, they met at a homecoming. She moved from New York City nine years ago to be with him, and they set out to find a religious home. Eddy Schreier grew up Catholic in the Bethesda area and attended Catholic elementary and high schools.
“We were looking for a church in our area and we really fell in love with the people as well as the pastor, Father Stanislao (Esposito), at St. Mary Star of the Sea-Holy Savior,” she said.
“We had gone to a couple of nondenominational churches. The one that we had gone to in this area … it was great that they were teaching from the Bible, but I felt that something was missing from it.”
Both of their sons, 5-year-old Evan and 3-year-old Declan, have been baptized and raised Catholic. The couple is active in the parish’s religious education program. Eddy taught ninth-grade catechesis last year, with Mia as his aide, and she is assisting another teacher this year.
Her instruction in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults has answered the questions she’s had about Catholicism, and her experience in the religious-education program has been very helpful “in reconfirming everything I’m learning through RCIA. I’m kind of getting a double dose.”
Schreier joined hundreds of other catechumens and candidates at the Rite of Election recently at Holy Cross Church in Dover. She appreciated being with such a large group of people at the same point of their faith journey, which Bishop Malooly acknowledged that day
“You could totally feel that. It was such a beautiful service,” said Schreier, whose business, LIFE Leadership, provides leadership and personal-development information.
At St. Mary Star of the Sea-Holy Savior, she is one of two people in RCIA. Her conversion is a family affair. Her husband is her sponsor and “he’s very happy” that she is taking this step. And while her sons are young, she has tried to explain why this is important for her and them.
“I tell them I have to go to Monday school,” she said. “When Daddy goes up to receive Eucharist, Mommy’s not able to do that. In order to be together as a family, you have to be at the table together.”