This past Easter Sunday, I was blessed to bring three adult men into the church. All three were heavily influenced by the example of faith they saw and experienced in the lives of members of our parish. This should be a good reminder of how much our living out of the faith can lead people away from or to the Lord.
Shawn is a young man in his 20s who works at McKay’s Grocery store. He came to know a parishioner of ours who works there, and who has a deep love of the Lord. This parishioner often spoke to him of Jesus and the importance of the Mass and Confession. After many discussions and attending Masses on his own, he felt a great desire to enter the church. At the Easter Vigil, Shawn received Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion! His friend, Marcus, who was influential in his conversion, served as his Godfather and Sponsor.
Stephen is a young man in his 20s who just graduated from St. Mary’s College. He met Catholic students on campus who took their faith very seriously and lived it out well. Though not Catholic himself, he joined the Catholic Seahawks for Mass, retreats, social gatherings, Bible study, and many other events. This awoke in him a great desire to become Catholic and to receive the Sacraments. Our Catholic Campus Minister, William Bolin, worked with him for almost a year to prepare him to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. At the Easter Vigil, where he was received into Full Communion of the Catholic Church, he had his parents and their current spouses, his brother, and his step-uncle and aunt. They were happy for him and attended to show support with his decision to live a life as a disciple of the Lord in the Catholic church.
Finally, we welcomed Dr. Chuck Benner into full Communion with the church. Raised in another Christian tradition, he had been very active in several Christian churches over the years but has finally found a home in the Catholic Church. He was strongly influenced by his wife, Dr. Patricia Gurney’s faith. Coming often with her to Mass, he had a desire to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. I prepared him with one-on-one classes to enter the church. He consumed the church’s teachings with joy and faith. I have known the good doctors for years. They have both come to my rescue many times over the years, as they have for so many of their patients. Dr. Chuck’s decision to join the church was incredibly special for me because of our friendship and the blessing of seeing their faith grow together and leading them closer to the Lord, each other, and our parish.
Please pray for all three of these men and their families. Remember, continue to seek to lead others to the Lord by your example, words, and good deeds. Nothing attracts people to Jesus like a Christian filled with the Joy of the Lord. May the many opportunities to receive the grace and love of Jesus this Easter season in your reception of Holy Communion, Confession, daily prayer, personal scripture reading, and bible study set you on fire with the joy and peace of the Lord. From you, may others catch the flame!
Your brother and father in Christ,