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Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

How keeping faith kept Cataldi going

Submitted Photo
Abigial Cataldi volunteering at Ninja Warrior camp at the Immanuel Church of the Nazarene.

At the young age of two years old, Abigail Cataldi lost her older sister. Although Cataldi was young and doesn’t remember every aspect of this loss, what she found was just as important.

She found religion, and while religion and politics may be the two toughest things to talk about today, Cataldi has no problem explaining what religion means to her. 

A North Penn senior, Cataldi, has dedicated her life to giving back to her religious community and serving God in every way that she can. On most Sundays, people can find her at her second home, the Immanuel Church of the Nazarene.

“I’m a Christian, but my specific folder under the level of Christianity is Nazarene,” Cataldi explained. “There’s a religion that is the head of each folder and under each religion there are specific types for example, Orthodox, Nazarene, Mennonite, but mine is Nazarene.”

Cataldi’s love for religion started at a young age, when her parents brought her to the church where they had started their family. Immanuel Church quickly became a safe and comforting place for Cataldi.

“When they were growing up, my parents didn’t have a faith and when they were teenagers, and had kids young, that’s when they started attending the Immanuel church of the Nazarene,” Cataldi shared. “I always felt like the church was my home. If I was feeling stressed, anxious, or uncomfortable all of that went away when I was at church.”

Growing up in the church, Cataldi was surrounded by religious influences who have ultimately helped shape the woman she is today.

“A major role in shaping me into the godly woman that I am are other women in the church. We’re lucky to have multiple women that are staffed there which can be uncommon or not praised upon. We have two female pastors and the head of our children’s ministry is a woman so they always empowered me, and I looked up to them,” Cataldi said.

The church has also supported the Cataldi family through thick and thin. At a young age, Cataldi had lost her older sister to ATRT. Although the grieving process was heart-breaking, Cataldi was able to find comfort and support within her second family.

I lost my sister when I was younger, I was two years old so it was hard for me to comprehend but growing up I knew I lost my sister. I still remember things about her and who she was, but I was so young. My faith really helped me process the loss and gave me comfort in it, knowing that she is in Heaven and comfortable with Jesus,”

— Senior Abigail Cataldi

“I feel like when experiencing loss, faith plays a big role in how you cope and handle certain situations. Even though my family had attended the same church every Sunday, each of us handled our grief differently.”

Recently, Cataldi was also faced with a challenging loss, the loss of her grandfather.

“My grandfather recently passed and I found out right after homecoming. I got home that night and my parents told me he passed and the only thing that kept me going was my faith. If I didn’t have my faith, I would have completely crumbled.” Cataldi said. “I honestly found peace in my grandfather’s loss, because at least I know he’s comfortable and rejoicing in heaven. Loss sucks, especially when you’re still on Earth and have to grieve other people’s loss, but once you get to those gates and you’re celebrating heaven, it will be worth it.”

Cataldi’s connection with God has helped her through many rough patches, but has also guided her through many amazing experiences and provided her with memories she will never lose.

“I actually got to go to Tampa, Florida over the summer for a trip called NYC, Nazarene Youth Conference and it was for people from all over the world. It was nice because it helped me make connections and life-long friends with people from farther away. I met people who were going through things similar to me and helped me make connections that I wouldn’t have made in my own church,” Cataldi explained.“It felt so powerful to see over ten thousand people all worshiping the same God as you. It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Cataldi’s religion has helped her mature and form strong relationships with those around her, and strengthen her relationship with God.

My goal is to always show Jesus through my heart and my actions in every relationship. Being a Christian is about building a relationship with God, that’s the basis of it, and it needs effort, trust, love, and communication, just like any relationship. There will be times when you feel like you’re thriving in that relationship and times when you feel like you’re struggling, but I believe that God will never give up on me because I’m worth it to him,”

— Abigail Cataldi

“That’s how I try to go upon my family relationships and personal relationships, with the mindset that it’s just like a relationship with Jesus and you need to treat it with kindness and love and build that trust and communication.”

The strength of Cataldi’s relationship with God helps her maintain healthy relationships with her peers.

“It’s nice to have friends with a similar faith as you and I feel like it makes the relationship a thousand times stronger because at the end of the day you know you’re brothers and sisters in Christ and you forgive each other and love each other,” Cataldi said.

Although Cataldi’s actions and beliefs align very well with her religion, she recognizes that not all of her friends’ will as well.

“It’s made it hard for some relationships because some of my friends will ask me questions about my faith, and I don’t even have the answers to that , but they expect me to know that. My friends without faith tend to push me closer to God by putting me in challenging situations and I’m forced to draw near to God and ask him for guidance and help,” Cataldi explained.

Cataldi does her best to incorporate her religious beliefs into her friendships without pushing them onto others. Her ability to listen to others rather than partake in their actions helps her maintain strong relationships even when they do not share a similar faith.

“In friendships where they don’t have faith and I do, they’re scared of that judgment from me which will never happen. Of course, there will always be a natural judgment, but I will never purposefully judge them because that isn’t my job. I believe that God is the only one who will judge us, so instead I will just come at them with love, comfort, and understanding,” Cataldi said. “I only come from a place of love and I am not the ultimate judge, I am here to listen. In situations where I don’t want to physically do, or talk about things that others are doing, I am always willing to listen.”

Currently at the forefront of Cataldi’s mind, which is the same case for many seniors, is finding a college that is the perfect fit for her. The struggle of choosing a college that specializes in her major or a college that specializes in her religious beliefs, was an ongoing battle for Cataldi.

“Being a senior, I’m looking at colleges and the people I may or may not surround myself with for the next four years, and a big decision for me was whether I wanted to go to a Chrsitian college or not. Something my pastor told me was that I will find my faith wherever I am if I want to, so if I don’t attend a Christian university and I genuinely want to seek Jesus in my heart, then I will find a way to,” Cataldi shared. “When you have a beautiful community that you’re surrounded with, they build into you and speak into you and right now I’m preparing myself to speak into other people in college.”

As one person in a school with over 3,000 students, all sharing significantly different beliefs, Cataldi sometimes feels like a small fish in a rather large pond. By discussing her feelings with her pastor, Cataldi has been able to work through these thoughts and find comfort within her faith.

Cataldi attending the Nazarene Youth Conference and worshiping amongst thousands of other Christians. (Submitted Photo)

“At the beginning of the year I spoke with my pastor, Andrea, and we spoke about the loneliness you may feel as a Christian in a ginormous public school and I shared that I would rather feel lonely and know I have the Lord than do things that aren’t me,” Cataldi explained. “I’m never truly lonely, but it’s that physical earthly feeling of being lonely when people do things that don’t align with my beliefs.”

Although Cataldi works hard to incorporate her religious values into her actions, it’s important to her that people know that she is more than “just a Christian” and no matter what their beliefs are she will listen with an open mind and open heart.

“I don’t want people to think that all Christians are judgmental; I just want them to see that Jesus would love them, Jesus would be kind to them, and Jesus would take care of them even 

when they don’t deserve it, so I try to give my friends that same opportunity,” Cataldi said.

Not only does Cataldi incorporate the love of Jesus into her friendships, but also just her daily interactions. Cataldi participates in North Penn’s career-work study program, assisting 1st grade teacher Mrs. BG at Walton Farm elementary school. When Cataldi isn’t at Walton Farm, she might be at The Country Bride and Gent, selling prom dresses.

“My faith has affected me in all aspects of my life, down to the little things like dealing with a customer at work, it fills me with peace and grace,” Cataldi said. “I work with children half of the day during my career study and a lot of the times I catch myself getting frustrated and I remind myself that God put me here at this point in this specific moment for a reason, to love on these kids.”

Cataldi also uses the help of social media to share information about her religion and the power of Christ to those who follow her. Cataldi hopes that her social media platforms provide both helpful information and a safe space to anyone who may need it.

“I’ll post scripture on my social media, not so people look at me and think ‘Wow she’s a Christian’, I post it so that way they know that there’s an opportunity for them and God is extending a hand and welcoming them. I really hope that someone who needs it sees it,” Cataldi shared. “I feel like there’s a negative stigma that comes with using social media as a Christian and how it can affect your faith or fall into sin easily, but I believe that there is power and purpose in it and if you can use a platform to speak to others you should 100% use it.”

With her career-study program, her part-time job, dance, and school, Cataldi has learned that it’s necessary to make sacrifices to fit everything into her busy schedule, but one thing she refuses to sacrifice is dedicating time to her relationship with God. When Cataldi doesn’t have time to read her bible, she still incorporates God into her day with prayer and worship.

“It’s easy in the busyness to get lost and feel farther from God or feel like you don’t have time for prayer or doubting or to read your bible. I love reading my bible, but sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough time. I’ve learned that you always have time for the Lord, you just need to make it,” Cataldi explained. “I like to start and end my day with prayer and to just reset. I think of things that I’m thankful for and thank God and think about things that need prayer in my life or things I can pray about for others. Prayer plays a big role, especially when you’re busy. Prayer is always somewhere that you can take a moment and talk to God and he’ll appreciate any moment he can get with you.”

For many people, a new year’s resolution is turning over a new leaf and starting something completely new, but Cataldi took a different approach. This year, Catlaldi has set aspirations for herself and the person she wants to become during the year, while continuing her devotion to her religion.

Something I started the new year off with is that I sat down at the start of the year and wrote down things that I want to be for God, like the type of woman I want to become for the Lord this year, and hopefully that will benefit me for multiple years to come,” Cataldi shared.

Cataldi and friends attending their church worship night. (Submitted Photo)

Cataldi’s biggest goal is to spread love to anyone who may need it in hopes that they too can learn the love of Jesus Christ.

“I hope and pray that one day people will see my actions or hear what I’m saying and it will click for them in God’s timing,” Cataldi said.“Even though I can’t share my faith with every person, I can show them the love and that might stick with them.”

Cataldi understands that not everyone had the same exposure to religion as she did in her childhood, which is why she opens her heart to anyone interested in learning.

“A great thing if you’re interested in starting your faith is joining a Wednesday night youth group, it’s a great way to ease into your faith because we play games, have snacks, go on fun exciting trips. Obviously there are opportunities in youth group to have conversations and the end goal is to worship Jesus, but it starts with easing in and building friendships,” Cataldi said.

“Once you get to our age, it’s such a great thing because now you finally have the resources to learn about religion yourself.”

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    Nancy TiernanFeb 2, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. You impressed me when I heard you speak at church and now even more so. Beautiful testimony! You are amazing.
    After I heard you speak I put your name on something that I would see every time I stood at my sink so I could pray for you. Always know that we, me included, never know who is lifting us up in prayer.
    I will continue my prayers for you as you venture towards college and beyond.