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Meet our RCIA Candidates (Part 1)

At the Easter Vigil on March 30, we will welcome a number of new Catholics into our faith. You may have seen them at Mass and not known that they were not yet fully initiated into our faith, so I’d like to take a few moments to introduce you to them so you can know their sacred stories.

At the 8:30 Mass back in December, when I invited all those who were becoming Catholic in

2024 to come up to the altar for a blessing, and Joe Stevenson, of all people, stepped forward, many people’s jaws were on the floor. After all, Joe has been at Mass at St. Mary’s with his wife Dorrie every week for 40 years! Not only that, but Joe is the woodworker who made the new statue stands and the reliquary (the cabinet in the back of the church that is home to the sacred remains of numerous saints). Because we knew from experience about the quality of his work, we consulted with Joe when the time had come last fall to make a new and larger Welcome Desk for the back of the church. Joe not only came up with a gorgeous, custom, hand-made design, but over the course of nearly 100 hours he crafted the Desk himself and surprised us by donating it to the parish!

Joe was baptized Methodist and felt that while coming each week to St. Mary’s was a nice

compromise for his family, actually becoming Catholic would be a step too far. His wife prayed for decades that he would change his mind, since she felt he wasn’t yet reaching his spiritual potential. “What would it take,” she wondered, “A slap upside the head?”

A shocking diagnosis and two brain surgeries later, Joe came forth a changed man. Convinced that God has a plan for his life and it’s his job to find out what it is, Joe is on the journey of a lifetime. He will receive Eucharist for the first time and be Confirmed at the Easter Vigil on March 30.

Back in his 20s Thomas Brewer served in the Army Reserves and the National Guard as a young man with a desire to use his gifts to serve his country. Thomas was baptized Protestant but his mom’s whole family was Catholic, which always left a fascination in his mind and heart with the ancient faith that was the trunk of the whole tree of Christianity.

Thomas has considered becoming Catholic for years and has been a part of the weekly RCIA

meetings with three cohorts of candidates for full initiation in the Church.

A thinker by nature, Thomas needed to wrestle with the differences in doctrine and practice that made his childhood faith distinct from ours. Because he deals with some persistent health issues, Thomas also wanted his health to be robust enough to enable him to be a part of the whole process and all the steps along the way. This year it became clear that the time had come. On March 30 I hope you’ll come witness Thomas receive his First Eucharist be Confirmed at the Easter Vigil on March 30.

Next week I’ll introduce you to Jacobe, Ariel and Maura.

With love and faith…

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