Pictured are Melonie Mulkey, Angelo Ray Martínez, and their daughter Ava on Ash Wednesday, 2022. Picture provided by the family.
Holy Cross College is intentionally and distinctively Catholic, striving to guide students to be disciples of Christ. Professors Angelo Ray Martínez, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of the Visual Arts Program and Director of Visual Arts & Music along with Melonie Mulkey, M.F.A., Adjunct Professor of Visual Arts are expanding their faith lives and being confirmed during the Easter Vigil.
What made you decide to be confirmed at the Easter Vigil?
Professor Martínez: It has been a long journey to Catholicism for my wife and I. We are in our third year of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program, which is typically only eight to ten months of learning about the Catholic faith/doctrine, and we are both finally prepared to be confirmed!
Where will it be happening?
Professor Martínez: We will be confirmed during Easter Vigil at St. Anthony de Padua in South Bend, Indiana.
Tell me a little bit about your journey to this moment and what inspired you.
Professor Martínez: I was baptized Catholic as an infant, but my parents left the Catholic Church a few years later, and I was raised Protestant. My journey back to Catholicism started with basic curiosity and a desire to better support my students.
When I started teaching at Holy Cross College in 2017, my art students would often make work that explored their Catholic faith, but I knew very little about it. I started reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, amongst other texts, and was immediately attracted to the beauty of the faith. In 2018, I decided to begin taking RCIA classes to become Catholic.
That first year of RCIA was incredibly educational. I learned about Catholicism, but also a lot about my Protestant background, and the general history of the Church. During this time, I also developed a deeper understanding and love for the celebration of the Eucharist. However, due to personal hesitations, I was not ready to be confirmed yet.
I then attended a few local Protestant churches, but kept being drawn back to the beauty of Catholicism and especially the mysteries of the Eucharist. In 2020, we decided to try RCIA again, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, meetings were not very regular, and our progress was slow.
In 2021, in-person RCIA meetings began again, and I was able to resume my spiritual journey. However, this time I started to look to Catholic authors and the saints for help and guidance. Learning about regular people, with a higher calling, was inspiring and motivating! I was especially drawn toward the love of St. Therese of Lisieux and the paternal example of St. Joseph. I also started praying the Rosary, so I am now finding guidance from Our Blessed Mother on the path to her Son, Jesus Christ.
I recently learned that the RCIA process for the early Christians was typically multiple years-long because it was a complete transformation of consciousness, not just a simple initiation, like some of the pagan religions of the time. I can relate to this, as my own consciousness has been completely transformed from where I was a few years ago when I first started this journey back home to the Catholic Church! Ave crux, spec unica!