By Caleb Hong, Spiritual Life Division Head
LCA is an independant, non-denominational, college-preparatory, Christian school. And, other than maintaining excellent relations with Grace Chapel, we have no real affiliations. We strive to become a community where everyone feels welcome, accepted, and loved. That being said, the vast majority of the Christian LCA community is Protestant or brought up with a Protestant background. Catholics are by no means the only minority at LCA, but they are definitely among some of the most misunderstood in Protestant culture. So I took the liberty of interviewing some our Catholic peers and faculty in order to get their perspective and experience on life at LCA. Hopefully hearing from these members of our community will bring us to a new understanding and acceptance of the people around us.
Q: To start off, how has your general LCA experience been?
Dan Gattineri: “It’s been really great not just socially or educationally but also spiritually. I was in a pretty dark place when I came here and LCA definitely helped me strengthen my spiritual life and my relationship with God.”
Jasmine DeLeon: “I think LCA has been largely welcoming. I mean, things like chapel have been a new experience; it’s obviously very different from a Catholic mass.”
Mr. Scaro: “People have largely been very respectful. I think that people get that, although my religion is a bit different from theirs, we’re on the same side. Part of the same big team, just different colored jerseys.”
Q: What is a common misconception people at LCA have about being Catholic?
Dan Gattineri: “The most common one I get is that we worship saints instead of God. The way I was taught by my Catholic leaders is, saints are not perfect people (in fact many were very flawed and sinful). Saints were people who God gave a certain quality that he wants us to emulate, like St. Mary’s love and compassion or St. Michael’s courage and strength. These people are not above any other human or angel (a saint can be either); they are given the title of Saint so we know that God wants us to be more like them in some way. When Catholics pray to a Saint, they are really praying to God so that he may send the same qualities to us that he gave to that particular Saint.”
Mr. Scaro: “Sometimes, I’ll get things like ‘Is that Christian?’. And I’ll have to explain to someone that not everybody worships in the same way that they do.”
Q: Is there any way you guys meet up as a Catholic community here at school?
Mr. Scaro: “Not really, but sometimes it will be passing smile with someone, maybe even someone who’s not Catholic but definitely closer to Catholic tradition than the other Protestant sects, when a song comes up in chapel that’s been ‘repurposed’ or sung faster than we’re used to.”
Q: What was a culture shock you experienced when you came to LCA?
Jasmine DeLeon: “Chapel was slightly confusing at first; it just was very different from anything I was used to.”
Dan Gattineri: “A big one was how nice everyone was and how open of a topic God was. I know I shouldn’t have been too surprised but, coming from a primarily atheist school, it was a bit of a shock.”
Angelo Pizzano: “For me, I kinda assumed everyone was Catholic, I had no idea anything else existed”
Q: To finish, is there anything you’d like to say to LCA?
Mr. Scaro: “Actually, there’s nothing that I can recall needs any special attention or admonition. LCA has been a very welcoming place.”
Dan Gattineri: “When it comes to the Catholic church I’ve actually put some distance between myself and the Vatican’s authority because I disagree with how they have handled certain situations. That being said I still follow and believe the Catholic doctrine and teachings, I just do my praying and biblical studying by myself or with close friends. The actions of the Catholic church do not reflect the values or attitudes of the majority of Catholics.”
Jasmine: “I want people to understand that times have changed, like, we’re not the Spanish Inquisition. Sure, I’m not denying that the Church has messed up in the past, or even that there isn’t corruption right now. But EVERY religion has bad people, and people have to realize that not all Catholics are like that.”
Our school is a diverse place; people from all different cultures, backgrounds, and traditions each bring something unique to this community. Sometimes we have to go out of our way to hear the stories and experiences of members of our community who aren’t part of the majority. Let’s work together to make LCA a place of love and understanding.
Special thanks Mr. Scaro, Dan Gattineri, Angelo Pizzano, and Jasmine Deleon for sharing with the Blue and White.