The winding path to the Catholic faith traveled by Erika Zamora-Valle took more than 30 years. Zamora-Valle was baptized April 16 during the Easter Vigil at St. Matthew Parish in Hillsboro. She also received first Communion and Confirmation. Next, she hopes to get married in the church.

Zamora-Valle was born into a Catholic family in San Lucas Cuauhtelulpan, a small farm town east of Mexico City. Her parents took her to Mass on Sundays.

“I learned to believe in God, to say the prayers, and with their example they helped me build a faith so strong that it has endured over the years,” Zamora-Valle said in Spanish.

At 12, she and her brother began to prepare for first Communion, but the priest fell ill. They tried again the following year but transport to the church fell through. Disappointed, the teenagers abandoned the idea of receiving the sacraments.

But both felt a call to join the parish choir, serving God with their voices for a decade.

After graduating as a veterinary doctor, Zamora-Valle moved to the United States, arriving in Oregon 16 years ago. The first thing she did was look for a Catholic parish, finding St. Matthew in Hillsboro.

The call to receive the sacraments came up again as her three children were preparing for their own first Communion and confirmation. Zamora-Valle hungered for Eucharist. To meet the church's requirement, she needed her baptismal certificate and so asked her mother, who is still in Mexico. To the family's surprise, they found no records at home or at the church.

Zamora-Valle said it has been a long and hard road to bring herself closer to God, but she realizes God has been with her the whole time.

“I have faced very big challenges. I have fallen, cried and suffered. But I am not giving up,” she said.

Zamora-Valle was plainly happy and excited to be united with Christ after receiving the sacraments at the Easter Vigil. "I hope to continue strengthening my faith and be the best example for my children so that they remain firm in their faith because we are in a society with influences of all kinds and where our faith and the existence of God are questioned,” she concluded.