Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
New Catholics to be welcomed at Easter Vigil
by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff
(From the March 18, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)
Each Easter, in Catholic parishes all over the world, Catholic converts are baptized and/or confirmed and received into the church.
The Diocese of Spokane, too, will welcome its own group of neophytes at Easter Vigil liturgies throughout the diocese. According to Dominican Sister Judith Nilles, diocesan Secretary for Evangelization, this year, “based on numbers reported,” 169 people will become Catholic this Easter. Four of these people, randomly selected, agreed to talk with the Inland Register about their experience.
The Proszek family
• Alex Proszek, 24, attends St. Augustine Parish in Spokane with her husband, Rich Proszek, and their sons, Nicolas, 3, and Andrew, 1.
“My parents never took us to church,” she said. As a teenager, however, with friends she visited various Christian churches, and when she visited her grandmother she would go with her to a Methodist church.
“Shortly after I met my husband,” she said, “I asked him to take me to church with him. In all the churches I had attended in high school I had never attended a Catholic church. I fell in love with the Catholic Church during that first Mass that I attended six years ago. I love how steeped in tradition the Mass is. I enjoy the organ music, and the sung responses to the Responsorial Psalm. I like how there are so many different ways to pray: the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, or to a particular saint.”
She has thoroughly enjoyed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), she said. “I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be Catholic. When I first started the process I had some reservations about Catholicism, but the more I learned the more I grew to appreciate the Catholic world view. I also really enjoy the people in my RCIA group. We have a group of people with all sorts of different backgrounds who all ask different questions and bring up different topics to discuss. The leaders we have are very knowledgeable and nurturing and do a great job of creating an environment conducive to open discussion where no one feels excluded or alienated. We can discuss any topic, and the conversation will remain calm and respectful.”
Proszek is looking forward to being a full member of the Catholic community. “Catholicism is a world-wide religion that is practiced very similarly wherever you are,” she said. “It is mind-boggling to think about all the different people around the world participating in a Mass that is very similar to the one that I am participating in. I have a great feeling of community and fellowship when I think about the Catholic Church.”
• One soon-to-be Catholic at Spokane’s Sacred Heart Parish is S. Krouyslaer (name changed to maintain anonymity), who said, “The first thing I found attractive was the writings of the church fathers. Also, a Catholic television station ... EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) was key to my wanting to become a Catholic.”
S. also said that the RCIA experience “has been very positive.” Ron and Jan Eberley, who direct Sacred Heart’s RCIA program, “have been very knowledgeable, helpful and caring on my journey into the church.”
At the same time, S.’s decision to embrace the Catholic faith is not without its difficulties. “My biggest challenge (is) family members that don’t want me to be Catholic. I’m leaving them in the Lord’s hands. I look forward to fully participating in the Eucharistic celebration and partaking of the body and blood of Christ with the rest of the community.”
The Steiner family
• Preparing to enter the church at Spokane’s St. Augustine Parish, Shirlee Steiner, 51, was baptized earlier in life as a Lutheran. “I knew nothing about the Catholic religion,” she said, “until I met my husband, Stu. My children were both baptized in the Catholic Church and attended Cataldo School. I have attended the Catholic Church and Cataldo religious activities with my family since my marriage 20 years ago, and have always been attracted to the caring and loving community the Catholic religion represents.”
Following the end of an RCIA process about which she speaks very positively, and after her reception into the church, Shirlee plans to go on learning, she said, “about the Gospel and the life of Christ. I am only in the beginning stages of a long journey to know everything there is to know about the Catholic religion,” and is looking forward to “joining the Catholic community in celebration of the Eucharist.”
• Kristen Welsh, 30, who also is at St. Augustine Parish, was baptized in a Lutheran church as a child. “We attended church infrequently,” she said. “My parents are not very religious, and we stopped going while I was still very young, except for a handful of Easter Sundays.”
First attracted to the Catholic Church by attending Mass with her husband, Jamie Welsh, and his family, Kristen said that the RCIA “has given me the ability to talk and ask questions ... The process has been a very enriching experience.” Becoming Catholic is “definitely a great feeling, but also a big life change for me,” she said, as she looks forward to “becoming a part of a community based on faith and prayer, raising my family in the church,” including Liam, almost 17 months, and Kyla, 11 weeks old.
“My husband attended Catholic school in Spokane, and the friends and values he has made makes me excited to give my children the same experience.”
Kristole and Ryan Roseburrough
• Ryan and Kristole Roseburrough will enter the church at St. Joseph Parish in Otis Orchards. Both in their mid-30s, they have two children, Ella, 4, and Caleb, 2.
They were married in a Baptist church, because that was the religion Kristole had grown up with. During college Ryan drifted away from any formal religious practice at all.
As a couple, in the early 2000s, Ryan and Kristole became active in a nondenominational Christian church. “It was a great church that nurtured our faith,” Ryan said, “and I started to join Bible study groups and just craved scripture to the point of staying up late at night just reading.”
Browsing in a bookstore one day, looking for “anything faith-based that caught my eye,” Ryan said, he found a book on Catholicism and “read it at one sitting and found nothing I disagreed with.” Subsequently, he stopped by St. Joseph Parish, where he was referred to the Director of Religious Education.
“I set the book on the desk,” Ryan said, “and asked her if she believed that, and she responded , ‘Yes, we do,’ and I said, ‘I think I want to become a part of your church.’”
Ryan said that he has thoroughly enjoyed the RCIA experience. “If my wife and family had not come on this journey with me,” he said, “it would have been hard to not have anybody to share the knowledge and love with, (including) learning to see Scripture in context (instead of) searching for rules and proof text(s).
Looking forward to life after becoming Catholic, Ryan thinks that the biggest challenge will be continuing to spread the Gospel. “It is easy to take somebody to see a church centered on music and coffee with a theme-centered inspirational speaker. I have to learn to propagate the truth instead of entertainment.”
He is very excited about being able to participate in the Mass and receive Communion. Other blessings he looks forward to: “The community that has surrounded us and is helping us to raise ourselves and (our) children in faith. Being able to go to Mass no matter where I am in the world. Studying Scripture with everyone having almost the same translation and understanding.”