My name is Helcio de Nazaré Jose Maria Sumbe; I’m a Junior Sociology major. I was born in Luanda, Angola, on the southwest coast of Africa on October 4, 1993, and I have been blessed with a Catholic upbringing. From a very young age I was blessed with the opportunity to have a rich prayer life with my family, which helped develop a firm foundation in my Catholic faith, but the concept of a personal relationship with Christ had never been a part of my formation.
At the age of 12 I learned I had siblings whom I had never heard of, news that ultimately led to crippling of the idea of a father-son relationship, and a downward spiral into sin. For years I harbored anger until I found two ways to numb the pain: alcohol and marijuana. For 3 years all I sought was a way to gain these “pain killers”, and keep myself from ever being suspected by friends, or by family, and I allowed sin to rule freely in silence. Sin and lukewarm Catholicism ruled my life. Prayer with my family decreased while late nights out with my friends increased. Senior year was coming to a close and the news of a new retreat seized me with curiosity, and after hitting rock bottom, I knew God had something in store for me.
Kairos II came at a pivotal moment in my life where sin had burrowed an empty hole in my heart that could only be filled by Christ and an even deeper yearning to follow him. A weekend of reconciling year’s worth of sin and sorrow left me weak, but I encountered Christ in a deep way through the sacrament of Eucharistic Adoration from a resounding call to holiness rang. This was followed by a period of fervent prayer, followed by a period of struggle, and so on.
Coming to college, the same trend continued until my sophomore year when I took a stance and made a commitment to make Christ the center of my life. Seeing first hand the impact I am able to have with Christ at the center of my life, there was no other way of life I wanted to live if didn’t involve proclaiming the gospel. My faith has waivered, but through the constant reception of the Eucharist at daily mass, and a participation in a number of ministries at St. Peters like Theology of the Body, S.P.R.O.U.T and Focus, I have been able to overcome my pride and allowed Christ to work to be the ruler of my life.
“He must increase, and I must decrease” –John 3:30.