Come and Follow Me!

My name is McKenna Wulker and I’m 24 years old. I work as a Records Analyst at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, LLP in downtown Cincinnati. I am just now coming into the Catholic Church and was confirmed and made my first communion on the Easter Vigil.

I was baptized at St. Andrew as an infant, but did not complete any Catholic Education or receive sacraments beyond that. It wasn’t until I graduated college, had a best friend pass away, and ended a two year relationship that I found myself at a complete crossroads in my life. I had no direction, felt hopeless and confused about where my life was going and ultimately decided to rededicate my life to God, give up my control to God’s Will and complete my Catholic Education to enter the church.

I met with Deacon Tim in June to discuss how adults entered the church, a week early for my appointment; I guess I was too eager. We discussed my options and next steps which turned out to be RCIA. I have attended RCIA, Rite of Christian Initiation in Adulthood, since September in preparation to come into the Church.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, RCIA is the process through which candidates and catechumens enter the Church, learn about Catholic religion and the Church’s teachings, and discern if this is the right path for them. Normally, this all happens when you are a child, but for people who didn’t experience the rites in childhood or are converting to the Catholic Faith, this process is mandatory.

I have learned so much in RCIA and gained a fantastic faith community through the other candidates and the RCIA support team. I encourage anyone who is trying to get involved to become a member of the RCIA team and support the candidates entering the Church. It’s a great learning experience for even the most experienced Catholic.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

McKenna Wulker

Mc Kenna was initiated at the Easter Vigil.  We look forward to her joining our community she will certainly be an asset.  When you see her, please be sure to welcome her and encourage her to participate actively in our parish.

God Bless you McKenna and welcome to St. Andrew, the Apostle Church!

 

Father, Into Your Hands I Commend My Spirit. Reflection 2

I had the honor a few weeks ago to attend the Rite of Election at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral.  I have been on the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton RCIA team for the past two years.  Last year due to the weather, we did not attend this Rite, so this was my initial experience.  My first thought was it was hard to find parking!  So, I dropped off my carpool mates, found a place to park and walked in right before the procession with the Bishop. I found my group just in time and sat at the end of the pew.

The Rite itself was beautiful and since I was on the end, Patty Norris, our RCIA Director, asked me to take up the Book of the Elect with the Catechumens.  I was not sure what  was going to happen but luckily there were more that enough people to follow so I brought up the book. Once on the lower level of the sanctuary I stood while the Bishop asked questions of the Catechumens.  When they left the sanctuary, the book bearers remained.  We were asked to come up and stand by the altar.  From that vantage point, I was able to take a long view of the people in the pews and it was truly awe an inspiring sight. Then the blessing of the Book of the Elect began. The incense from the thurible was pouring out and as the Bishop moved back and forth in front of the groups. I looked up and watched the incense curl and rise past the Books all the way to heaven. I now understood the meaning of incense to our faith. This last of word of Jesus on the cross took on new meaning to me as I watched our prayers rise to heaven.

Father, into you hands I commend my spiritLk. 23:46 

These final words of Jesus in this simple and impactful prayer also billowed up from this earthly place and reached up to heaven.  I had thought of it as an ending, a complete abandonment after everything possible had been given.  But standing next to that altar of the Cathedral, as I watched the incense reach the heavens, it became apparent to me it was a prayer of new beginnings, not an ending.  A starting point for us all and thousands of years after it was originally said it has the same impact on me today as it did with the centurion standing guard to the foot of the cross, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

My prayer for all who are part of RCIA this Easter Season is to take a step back to be inspired by what you are doing.  Remember, it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s Grace to enter and do the rest.

Like the Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer teaches us, “…it helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.”

                                                                                                 Tom Hodson  0

Father, Into Your Hands I Commend My Spirit.

There’s a sense of relief that comes from giving up total control. When I’ve been struggling with something for a particularly long time and/or I’ve been anxious about a task, project or uncomfortable situation, the most calming feeling occurs when someone else steps in to say, “I’ll take it from here,” or “All is well – let me help you.” Realizing the burden of the task or thing you’ve been fighting or struggling with is now given to someone else, or shared with that person, provides instant relief.

I can only imagine that sense of relief that Jesus must have experienced as he hung on the cross, dying, and finally uttered these words: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Growing up, I would often envision Jesus’ crucifixion as this terrible occurrence where Jesus remains completely calm and stoic. Unafraid. But now as an adult, I realize that my imaginings were probably not exactly accurate. Jesus was fully human – meaning he experienced every feeling, thought, temptation, physical symptom, and emotion that we face on a daily basis. In other words, there is no way that he wasn’t scared, struggling, anxious, and mentally breaking down throughout the entire ordeal.

It really is remarkable to think about – to envision Jesus hanging on the cross, each hour passing by, as he fights with himself to finally succumb to the inevitable – his death. He knew it had to be done, and he knew he was the only way to our total salvation. Yet I have no doubt he was terrified about what would happen once he finally “gave in,” and gave God total control. Jesus had never died before, he had no idea what the process would be like, if it would be painful, if it would be dark and lonely – he struggled with the same fears and anxieties that we face about death each and every day.

And yet, he let go. He finally let go of his human emotions and fears and allowed God to take total control of the situation. While he preached the importance of this throughout his life, he didn’t just “talk the talk” as they say. When it came to his death, the “big moment,” he followed through, and practiced what he preached. And in this one blip of time with these 8 words, seconds before his death, he proved to us the power of finally giving in to resistance and letting God and faith take over.

Into You Hands I Commend My Spirit.

 

                                                                                              Mandy GeymanFullSizeRender (2)