June 7, 2019

Serra Club Vocations Essay

Grandfather gives a home and the gift of faith to his grandson

By Robbie Stewart (Special to The Criterion)

Robbie StewartIf I could tell Pope Francis about how I have grown in my faith, I would start by telling him about my grandfather. My grandfather is the only reason I am able to attend a Catholic school. He had me baptized and taught me all about the gift of faith. Without him, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

I used to live in Florence, Ky., before my grandfather convinced my mom to move to Indiana so I could go to a Catholic school.

Before that, I only knew about God through my grandfather. My parents struggled, so my grandfather wanted to help me. As soon as I started school in 2011, I felt like the odd one out in class, because everybody had been baptized. So, my grandfather had me baptized at the Easter Vigil.

My family problems grew worse. Something bad happened. My dad started doing drugs and got caught with some other crimes as well. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

That destroyed my whole family, but my grandfather taught me to trust in God, and so I did. Then, my mom started doing drugs as well, and she went to rehab. My grandfather, being the only stable person in my life, helped me get through my challenges.

When my mom got back from rehab, she had a boyfriend. She got pregnant and had my baby brother. On his first birthday, she didn’t have enough money to buy him presents, so my grandfather did. This showed me once again how much he cared for us.

A month later, I moved in with my mom for the first time in a year. I started going to a public school. I stopped praying, stopped going to church and stopped leading a holy life overall. My grandfather talked my mom into letting me live with him, and I have been living with him ever since.

There are many reasons why my grandfather reminds me of Jesus in my life. But the one I thank him for every day is how he took me in when I didn’t have anywhere else to go. He has given me a loving and caring home where I can be a good follower of Christ.

Without him, I couldn’t imagine where I would be today. I have received my first holy Communion and reconciliation, which strengthens my faith. I am able to attend a Catholic school where I have good friends and caring teachers who help me in my journey.

I want Pope Francis to know that my grandfather has shown me Jesus and what it means to be a Christian.

(Robbie is the grandson of Bob Bissett and Barbara Fuchs. He completed the seventh grade at St. Nicholas School in Ripley County this spring, and is the seventh-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2019 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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