Conversion Stories of Catechumens & Candidates - Easter 2016
Below are the conversion stories of some of the people who are preparing to receive the Sacraments of Initiation and become Catholic (and adult Catholics receiving Confirmation and First Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil of 2016. Please pray for them and may you be encouraged in your journey further toward Christ and His Church as you hear how God has worked so marvelously in others' lives!
Chelsea Thompson: Baptism, Confirmation, First Eucharist
I am from Burnsville, Minnesota but moved to Madison five years ago to attend the UW. I am now a sixth grade English Language Arts teacher in Sun Prairie. I was not baptized when I was born due to family circumstances, but everyone else in my family is baptized within various branches of Christianity, including Catholicism. I have always been curious about religion and saw it as this mysterious thing that no one in my house ever talked about. I began attending church with friends and when I visited my grandparents. In 2013, I spent a semester in Europe with a Catholic friend of mine who brought me along to Mass in every country we visited. I thought it was so incredibly beautiful how Mass was virtually the same in every language, and I was awestruck by the elaborate history, ritual, and architecture of the church. That trip is really what solidified my decision to become a member of the Catholic community. After two years of procrastination and chickening out, I finally worked up the courage to email Marc Laudonio at the Cathedral Parish to inquire about becoming Catholic and have been endlessly welcomed by the Cathedral Parish community ever since!
Jenny Ermert: Received into Church, Confirmation, First Eucharist
Derek Laczniak: Received into Church, Confirmation, First Eucharist
I’m a 28 year old insurance professional that enjoys spending time with my lovely fiancé. I enjoy sports, either as a spectator and as a participator, and meeting new people from all walks of life. Luckily I work in the insurance business where I constantly am doing so. I live in Madison (Fitchburg) now but grew up on the south side of Milwaukee and attended college at the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse.
I was raised Lutheran, attending Lutheran Grade School and High School in the Milwaukee area. I was baptized Lutheran at Hales Corners Lutheran Church. Growing up, I defaulted to my Lutheran heritage, but often felt that my experience was pushing me to have my faith be more about how I “feel” then what I really needed to do as a devout Christian and to further my relationship with God. Like many of the good things in my life, my fiancé Kelsey, helped guide and push me to a closer relationship with God through her Catholic faith. As we approach our wedding in September of 2016 I am excited and thrilled that we will be do so both as Catholics and that our family’s religious orientation will be Catholic.
Jackie Ferron: Confirmation, First Eucharist
I'm from Denmark, Wisconsin. I was raised Catholic, baptized by my paternal grandparents, and attended All Saints Church in Denmark as a child. I fell away from the Church in my teens and spent years feeling lost and unfulfilled. But all that changed when I simply started thinking about attending Mass again. My life has undergone a rapid transformation for the better, and God has been present in my life in a way I wouldn't have believed possible six months ago. I'm really excited and grateful that I'm being finally being Confirmed at the Easter Vigil!
Vikki Hettiger: Confirmation, First Eucharist
I grew up in Janesville, went to UW Madison, and now live in McFarland. I have worked at Pinnacle Health and Fitness for 16 years as a Manager, Personal Trainer and Fitness instructor. I was baptized in the Catholic Church as an infant (my mom's side of the family is Catholic). However, I spent my childhood growing up in a Lutheran church after my father decided we should switch churches when I was younger (his side of the family is Lutheran). In the past couple of years I have decided to reconnect with the Catholic Church as it just feels right to me now, and the timing is perfect, since my fiancé is Catholic and we will be getting married in the Catholic Church in the very near future!
Noelle Reading: Confirmation, First Eucharist
I grew up in Saint Francis, WI, and have lived in Madison since 2011. I wasn't religious as a kid, though I was baptized, and I've always had mentors who were good moral, secular people with positive ties to the Catholic Church. It was a long road of studying, reading, arguing, disagreeing and trying to live a wise way of life before I finally came to the Church, but that struggle has always been a search for truth, and has always been productive. Because of my baptism, the Catholic Church is "mine" in a way others just aren't. Finally sitting down for a serious relationship with the Lord, through the Bible and sacred tradition, I was most inspired by Christ's radical economic message -- sell everything you have and give to the poor -- and the strength of the virgin martyrs, who wouldn't bow to or be owned by any earthly authority, only what they knew was right. I'm looking forward to finally knowing the sacrament that animated them this Easter.
Morgan O'Leary: Confirmation
I'm originally from Menasha, Wisconsin. Being an Irish Catholic, I was raised with a strong knowledge of Catholic practices, beliefs, and morals. I attended Catholic grade school as well as high school. Due to some miscommunications, I missed the deadline for high school Confirmation preparation. When I attended college I found I wouldn't be putting the proper time in to exploring and expanding my faith that I felt was necessary in order to become Confirmed in my Catholic faith. When I moved to Madison, I figured I should embrace this new town by first embracing my relationship with the Lord and decided this was the perfect time to become a Confirmed Catholic.