"I just kept growing and learning and hanging out with everyone and really falling in love with Mass. Everything about the Church was really coming together, and God was doing so much work through that," he said.
Eventually, Ascolese attended a campus ministry retreat: "Ram Awakening." There students participated in the sacraments, praise and worship sessions, and had religious discussions.
One of the major turning points, he said, was receiving letters of encouragement from his family and strangers during the retreat.
"The amount of love I felt from them, even just reading a piece of paper. You can really see how genuine and loving every letter was, even though I didn't know any of the people staffing it. It shows how happy, joyful, and loving they were for me being there. It was really amazing," he said.
"I think three days after that, I went over to the Church and met with Jessica Harris who leads RCIA at St John [XXIII Catholic Church]."
Keller has a similar story. He told CNA that he and his family and attended nondenominational services a few times each year.
At Colorado State University, Keller was invited to attend some religious events by some Catholic friends from high school. He said the events began as an opportunity to reconnect with old friends, but the faith soon became his point of interest.
"I started to become more in touch with God, praying a lot more, and believing a lot more. After joining their Bible study [and] doing a bunch of stuff with the Church, I eventually went on this retreat called Ram Awakening, we have at CSU," he said.
"That retreat really changed me. I learned a lot about suffering and how that can make your life better," he further added.
Keller said he especially struggled with the clergy sex abuse scandals and the Church's stance on marriage and abortion. He said, through discussions with friends, he was better able to understand these issues.
"[The scandal] was the main thing holding me back. I guess just trying to think about priests not as someone who is representing God but someone who God is acting through. It's hard to look up to someone but also understand that they are still human and they're imperfect," he said.
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"Going through with them, I wasn't doing it alone. It helped me look past the scandals in the Church because I am not doing it alone and there are other people doing it with me. Working through community helped a lot."
Holton was a staunch atheist for about 10 years; as a teen he devoured the work of intellectual atheists like Christopher Hitchens. But when he was 17, he became focused on researching and understanding Christianity. After reading books by authors like Thomas Aquinas and GK Chesterton, he realized, to his surprise, that he accepted Christianity.
A new believer, Holton said he didn't know where to fit in among Christians when he began attending college. He said that one day he visited the Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center, just off campus in Boulder. There, he said, a priest answered a lot of his questions about faith, and set him in the direction of Catholicism.
"From then on, I recognized that I appreciated Catholicism more than Protestantism because it was far more beautiful, interesting, and, most importantly, that is when I realized it was true."
He started RCIA in Boulder, but he transferred to CSU in Fort Collins, where he is from.
There, he said he discovered a rich and active Catholic community among the youth. He said he was further inspired to the faith by Fr. Rocco Porter, the pastor of St. John XXIII Catholic Church near the university.