Fonticulus Fides

Friday, March 16, 2007

Many becoming Catholic this Easter

Here's the story I wrote about our new candidates and catechumens following the Rite of Election a few weeks ago.

Rite of Election welcomes 120 to Catholicism

Last Sunday, February 25, those preparing to enter the Catholic Church this Easter were welcomed by Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz during the annual Rite of Election. The Rite was held at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln and attended by 31 catechumens and 89 candidates who are expected to be received into the Church from throughout the diocese. Many more could not attend the event but were remembered in prayer.

Each candidate or candidate has journeyed to the Church in a different way, but a common thread in their stories is the pursuit of truth.

As he addressed the catechumens and candidates, Bishop Bruskewitz said, “We must remember that the truth is not just something, it’s Someone. And that is the joy of coming into the Catholic Church.”

Historic Perspective

Elizabeth W____ had a strong Protestant upbringing. She attended a Presbyterian liberal arts in her hometown of Spokane, Wash., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music and studied theology and Biblical literature.

For her Master’s degree, Miss W____ chose to study at the _____. She didn’t limit her education to music, however.

“I wanted to pursue further studies in church history,” she explained. “I was already interested in Eastern Orthodox Christianity…The ‘missing link’ in my pursuit of truth was Catholicism.”

In January 2005, Miss W____’s roommate introduced her to Father M___, pastor of ____ parish and instructor at Saint Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward. When he learned she was interested in church history, he offered to teach a “mini-course” that emphasized the Reformation and divisions that followed.

“I realized two important things in studying the Catholic Church,” Miss W____ said. “One, that I had many misconceptions of Catholicism that were not rooted in anything substantial. And two, Catholicism has preserved the fullness of the Christian tradition in an unbroken succession.”

This past January, Miss W____ went on a spiritual retreat at the Community of St. John in Peoria, Ill, where every morning was spent in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. There, she had “a profound sense of all the fruits of the Holy Spirit,” and determined that Catholicism was the fullness of truth.

“I have a myriad reasons for becoming Catholic, and all of them point to only One Reason, who is Christ,” Miss W____ said. “Everything – incense, sacred architecture, Gregorian chant, Mary, the Pope, the saints – everything points heavenward to Christ.

Dante and Devotion

Another of this year’s candidates is Seth T____, a ____ College student who will soon finish his degree in history and political science with a minor in philosophy.

“The first time I remember really thinking about Catholicism was studying Joyce and Dante at W____ High School,” recalled Mr. T____ who was raised in the Methodist church.

In his first year at ____ College, Mr. T___ further indulged his interests in Dante, the Italian poet who penned the after-life epic The Divine Comedy, and Irish history. “The Catholic faith plays a major role in both,” he noted. While traveling in Italy that year, he went to Mass for the first time.

He began attending Mass regularly with his girlfriend, Jena A___, around two years ago. When the couple became engaged, Mr. T____ had been considering converting to Catholicism for some time. Still, he hesitated to enroll in RCIA until he had learned more.

Last year, Mr. T___ said, “I decided to really throw myself into the Lenten season.” He attended daily Mass often, observed Stations of the Cross on Fridays, attended Holy Hours with the campus FOCUS group, and participated in as many of the Holy Week activities as he could.

“By Easter Vigil,” he remembered, “I really regretted not entering the church that year… I loved the tradition of it all, and the community that tradition fostered. I love the saints, the sacramentals and the devotions.”

Resolute, he signed up for RCIA last fall at Saint C____ parish, where Father G____ is his instructor. Mr. T____ said, “As I got to know the Church better, it felt so natural for me.”

Couple on a Quest

When Bruce and Molly H___ met, he was atheist; she was evangelical Protestant. He asked her out, but since she only dated Christians, he had to settle for friendship and occasional cheerful debates about religion.

At the time, Mr. H____ was accompanying his widowed grandmother to weekly Methodist services simply to spend time with her. It wasn’t long before Mr. H___ had two people arguing against his atheism: “…this Methodist preacher and Molly.”

Mr. H___ read the Bible for ammunition against Christianity, but the tactic backfired. He soon became a Christian and was baptized. In time, the couple began dating and was married.

The H____s attended an evangelical church in Fremont as newlyweds, then a non-denominational church when they moved to Lincoln. However, Mr. H____ frequently found himself disagreeing with Protestant theology.

He started asking co-workers about their Catholic faith, but the combination of his natural skepticism and his wife’s reaction held him back.

“I was not going to become Catholic,” Mrs. H____ emphasized. She thought that if her husband investigated Catholicism thoroughly, he’d see its faults.

After more than a year of searching and reading numerous books, Mr. H___ decided to enroll in RCIA with Father K____ at ____ parish. “RCIA cleared up a lot for me,” he said. “But if there was any one thing that convinced me, it was Apostolic Succession.”

He longed for his wife to come into the Church with him. Nearly every night after their children were asleep, the couple debated. Not only would they discuss the RCIA material, they also read David Currie’s book, Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic.

When they got to the chapter on the authority of the Church late last year, everything suddenly clicked for Mrs. H_____. That was the point at which she realized, “Catholicism didn’t contradict what I believed. It was everything I believed, but it gave it much more fullness.”

Father K____ agreed to meet with Mrs. H____ privately to give her the instruction she needed to catch up with the rest of the RCIA candidates and catechumens. The whole H____ family will be received into the Church together this Easter Vigil.


  • Well written Sparki!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:23 PM  

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