I was born catholic and was baptized as an infant. According to the catholic doctrine, infants were baptized to welcome them into the catholic faith and to free them from the original sin they were born with. Baptism is also the first holy sacrament. My catechism classes taught me that there were two types of sin: original sin (the sins all humans were born with due to the sin committed by Adam & Eve) and then “unoriginal sin” (I honestly can’t remember what the other type of sin was called). I can remember that “unoriginal sin” was further divided into mortal sin and venial sin. I was made to understand that baptism was performed to wash away “njo ekelu uwa”- original sin.
Growing up, I attended mass every Sunday and said the rosary every single day. These two acts became very monotonous and exhausting. I don’t think I ever read the scripture for first 18 years of my life. There was always a Sunday bulletin with an excerpt of readings for the day therefore there was no need for me to read the bible. One thing I can say for a fact is that I enjoyed catholic hymns in igbo, English and Latin. I always loved when Sunday mass or Benediction was recited in Latin. Even till today, I still enjoy Gregorian chants and Igbo catholic music. When I moved to the United states, I continued attending Sunday mass however, I didn’t say the rosary as much because there was no one to remind me or insist that I say the rosary. The Sunday masses i attended in Bronx, NY lacked substance. The Homily was usually recited/read from a sheet of paper and I didn’t feel like I knew the word of God. At some point I didn’t set foot inside the church for 2 years. I only attended when I had my parents visited or had other family members visiting
One thing I knew was that I wanted to know and understand the word of God and be a good Christian. I attended various churches in my journey to become a soldier of Christ. I wasn’t interested in churches that had sacred traditions, formalities and ceremonial routines. I wanted a church that solely focused on bible reading and would help me apply those bible readings to my daily life. In 2016, I started attending a non-denominational church. It was hard for my parents to understand why I left the catholic church. They felt betrayed but for me I felt liberated. I finally found a church that preached the word of God and showed me how to apply the bible in my daily life. After 4 years of attending this non-denominational church, my husband and I made a decision to get baptized again (he too was baptized at a very young age). As I delved deeper into the bible and listened to sermons, I understood that Baptism is my public declaration that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a public confession of my faith in, and commitment to, Jesus Christ. It is the next step after salvation through repentance and faith and is an important foundation for Christian life. It was this understanding that prompted me to get baptized again.