For those who are non-Catholic, Holy Martyrs’ Journey (formerly RCIA) welcomes each unique person into the threshold of full adoption of our Catholic faith. Chris Schaefer and Lisa Bogdanski have two meaningful, yet different pathway stories to share.
Chris and Lisa are both married to cradle Catholic spouses who supported their quest. Chris had been a member of Holy Martyrs with his family for 17 years. He absorbed much of the catechesis through Mass attendance and his wife Michelle’s engagement with LifeTeen. Lisa, on the other hand, was new to Holy Martyrs as she and her husband Glenn sought out a faith community that would be spiritually enriching for them and their three children. Both Chris and Lisa came to Journey to put the spiritual puzzle together – for Chris it was the last piece, for Lisa it was the beginning.
Chris admits that he had been “holding out” on the final piece of fully integrating with the Catholic faith. His catalyst came during a visit with parish staff to a discipleship conference where he realized he wanted to contribute as a leader of the laity to bring Discovering Christ to the parish. To be an authentic guide, he felt he needed to be fully in communion. Following that conference, Chris threw himself into the process of completing RCIA (Journey) over a few months. He was fully welcomed into the Church at the following Easter Vigil. His baptism records were untraceable, so he experienced the cleansing immersion of adult baptism during that vigil. For him, this was one of the most profound faith-connecting experiences of his life — to consciously make this choice as an adult.
The last piece of the puzzle was placed for him, closing an internal struggle of faith choices and providing a sense of peace. Chris moved forward in several leadership roles related to Discovering Christ and continues this calling to bring others to the table to discuss each person’s faith journey.
Lisa came to Journey because of her family’s choice to join Holy Martyrs in 2014. Her husband encouraged her to attend, to learn more about the faith and decide if this was a fit for her. Lisa had no preconceived notions; she met others in her group each week and slowly built upon her experience of the faith. She enjoyed the intimacy of the thoughtful discussions shepherded by members of the parish ministry. She met her eventual sponsor through the child-sitting support provided, which felt destined.
Lisa feels grateful for the experience to think through the tenets of the Catholic faith in a way that others born into it may take for granted. She was welcomed fully into the Church during the 2016 Easter vigil. She is active in the Holy Martyrs community, helping in the SPIRIT and HMKids classrooms and as a photographer for The VOICE newsletter. She has attended Discovering Christ and continues to grow her faith experience.
Both Chris and Lisa encourage those wondering about the Catholic faith to try Journey. They urge people not to be afraid of doubts, but to seek answers that will bring clarity. Chris believes it is a foundational means to become fully part of and belong to a faith he is proud of. Lisa said she feels each person’s journey will be different, but ultimately unfold in the way that God’s hand intended it to become.
Written by Linda Earhart