When I began my role as a Catholic Standard reporter in June 2016, it felt providential that I had the opportunity to get a job right out of college that so perfectly combined my love for writing and my love for the faith. But I didn’t yet know how God would use my time here to teach me more about the Church and to help me discern where He was calling me to go next.

These past three years have brought to life St. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12:4, when he says, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.”

Being a Catholic journalist provides a unique window into the life of the Church. I have covered ordinations and funerals, protests and celebrations, concerts and academic conferences, hearings about assisted suicide and lessons in elementary school classrooms. I have worn nice dresses to galas, a hard hat in a construction zone, and a life vest on a boat in Panama.

I have met people from many different cultures and of all different ages, with different perspectives on their faith. I have heard about injustice, often from the people directly impacted by it, and have been encouraged to do something to make a change. I have met scientists, artists, teachers, Olympians, doctors, priests, nuns, parents, lawyers, accountants and journalists who are spreading the love of Christ in different and necessary ways.

I have learned too many things to list, but the most important thing is this: there is room in the Church for all of us – and it is more beautiful that way.

It hasn’t been an easy time to work for the Church ­– or to live in D.C. – during these three years. I started at the Catholic Standard just a few months before the 2016 presidential election, and the past year has been a tough one for all Catholics, especially here. It has been a divisive and often disheartening time in our Church and in society at large.

But the experiences I have had and the people who I have met have strengthened my belief that the truth of the Gospel lies somewhere in between all of the divisions. I have found hope in seeing that the Church’s teaching does not fall neatly in any political party. I have seen the beauty and goodness in each of the people I have met, even amid their sometimes very different perspectives.

Of all the stories that I wrote, there were certain ones that tugged on my heart in a special way. Every time I interviewed someone working in the archdiocese’s Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns, I felt fired up about their work of evangelization and helping those in need. When I interviewed religion teachers and campus ministers in Catholic schools, I was reminded of the importance of the mission of those schools. And when I covered conferences with parish leaders, I had to restrain myself from chiming in about how we can all work to make our parish homes more welcoming, loving, and Christ-like communities.

I was particularly impacted by the articles I wrote about women leaders in the Church, as they opened my eyes to the opportunities that I previously didn’t know existed for women to be leaders in ministry. I saw that the Church has room for women to be at the table, and that it needs our voices and perspectives.

After speaking to so many inspiring people who are currently living out a vocation to ministry in the Church, I could no longer run away from the call I felt in my own heart to do the same.

Thank you to all of my coworkers at the archdiocese’s pastoral center, and to all of the people I met along the way. You have played an important part in my journey, and as I prepare to begin graduate school at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, I know the lessons I take with me from these three years will make be a better student and a better minister.