Simeon Richardson isn’t afraid of a religious argument.
In fact, he’s been defending the faith with his non-Catholic friends even before he received the Sacrament of Confirmation. That is when he’s not studying non-stop to be an aerospace engineer.
Here’s his SacredStory:
Tell me a little bit about who you are and sort of where you started out.
My name is Simeon, I’m a cradle Catholic, and my family always went to church on every Sunday, like how you’re supposed to. When I was a kid, I was curious about priests and altar servers. My mom told me about all about it and she was like, “If you want to, when you’re a certain age, you can join and be an altar server.” When the time came, she reminded me, but I'm more reserved and introverted. But my mom was like “Go ahead! Do it!” So, I became an altar server, and over the years I came to really appreciate the Mass. I mean I was right up there, with the incense and the water and the wine. I feel like I learned a lot and that it helped me grow in my faith. I feel pretty blessed because both my parents provided a strong faith background.
Being in a strong Catholic family set you on a path?
Yeah, it made me different, because you go to school, and most people are anti-God. But my family would pray the rosary together sometimes, always go to Mass, and go to Confession on a regular basis. It was just part of life. Its more “macho” to not be religious, so what I was doing was kinda unique. Then from that uniqueness, it made me think, “Okay, what I am actually doing here? What is actually going on?” It made me think about it and look for answers. Then as I got older, I would find myself in these conversations about religion and people would ask interesting questions. Sometimes I wouldn’t know exactly how to answer, or I’d want to know more, so I’d go back to research or go ask a priest. I never really left the faith. And I think always looking for more kept me in the faith.
Your faith helps you in your busy college life?
My faith takes a little bit of stress off, yeah. Even if I fail a test or something, I just trust in the Lord. It’s like He could just like give me all the answers, but He doesn’t. So, there’s a reason He wants me to study. It’s His process. So I decided to let him do his thing, and there’s no need to stress.
Going to Mass every Sunday is a nice routine that provides balance. The readings and the homily from the priest or deacon can give me an interesting perspective and useful information that’s not a math equation! It provides something different than the rest of life that I’m not going to hear anywhere else.
Backing up, you didn’t receive Confirmation in high school?
Oh, that’s when I should have, but I was a student athlete, track. And I was in AP classes, and it just got rough. I mean, I wanted to go to Confirmation classes, but there were just only so many hours in the day. But I was like, “I’ll get it done in college,” but then college came, and it was like the same thing. I study nonstop. I’m an aerospace engineering major.
What was a turning point that made you want to be Confirmed?
It was actually the questions that non-Catholics were asking that pushed me to get Confirmed. You know how it is when you get to know someone, discussions about politics and religion and what you believe comes up. I don't think I’ve ever struggled too hard with my belief, personally. I mean I've wondered about stuff, especially those things people like to argue with you about. The big hot topics, you know? And that’s where the struggle happens, I think. So they’d start preaching to me about their religion and about how Catholics are idol worshipers or whatever and I was all, “Now wait, wait hold on there…” Then preached back to them about Catholicism. So, we’d go back and forth. Of course, some people got mad because people don't like to be wrong. No one likes being wrong. But most of the time I would have rebuttals that they couldn’t really answer. I mean they would have claims about the Catholic Church, and I would go, “Actually, if you go back and look at X, Y and Z, the proof is right here.” And they couldn’t say anything. I mean if you’re going to make a statement, you need to back it up with evidence. There are people making claims, and we gotta do the work. We gotta go see where these claims come from, then distinguish the quality of the source, and keep going from there.
You were a Catholic apologist before you were even fully initiated!
Ha, yeah! And that is a reason I realized that I had to be Confirmed, because I'm doing all this work with my non-Catholic friends, and they don’t know I’m not Confirmed, but I do. And also there are people who are brand new coming to the Church and they’re official, fully initiated with the Sacraments. And they are smart, living the faith too. Then the pandemic happened and quarantine, and I figured that since I have more time without commuting, that it was just the perfect time.
You claim to be a quiet introvert, but you sound so outspoken.
Ha! Well, it’s easier to defend these discussions when you’re in your head all the time! I've seen these question in my head like 500 times, and I'm ready! [laughing]
Did Confirmation Class help you understand more?
I feel like I more or less knew the majority academic stuff in Confirmation class, but there were really different spins and examples of Scripture or Church teaching that I found interesting. And hearing the little life stories from classmates in the group, just added to my understanding. But when I actually received this sacrament, it was something I will always remember.
What reasons would you give to an adult who hasn’t been Confirmed yet?
I would say for starters, coming from a dude, I would just say you wanna be prepared. God forbid you pass away or something and God’s like, “Yo, like how come you didn’t get Confirmed?” [laughing] It’s not like not going to kill you to go to the classes, so just go ahead and do it. You know it might help you. You do.
Simeon, I am so excited to see where the Lord is going to lead you! And if you write a book, I’m going to read it. If you’re offering a class, I’m taking it!
Ha! Okay, cool. We’ll see.