There’s a real beauty to being raised in the Catholic Church and continuing to practice the faith from childhood into adulthood. But there’s also beauty in finding the Catholic faith as an adult and going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process, or RCIA. In their own faith history, Amy and Justin Schlemmer have a little of each of those experiences. Amy was raised Lutheran, and Justin was raised Catholic but fell away from the Church for many years.
It was an admittedly slow process for Justin to return to the Church, but it’s clear the Lord was there every step. It all started with a First Communion meeting for the couple’s oldest son, Ethan. They also have a son named Eli.
“Ethan started Faith Formation classes at St. James, and it was around that time I started to feel a responsibility to give my boys a spiritual life,” Justin says.
After almost turning the car around many times, Justin attended a meeting for Ethan’s First Communion. Looking back, he’s so glad he did, because it was such a positive experience that ultimately set him on a path back to the faith. Fr. Paul Timmerman helped Justin and Amy to have their marriage blessed in the Church about a week before Ethan’s First Communion. Justin went to Confession for the first time in 23 years, and he was proud to watch Ethan receive the Eucharist.
“What an amazing feeling when I was absolved,” Justin says. “My awakening was truly due to the grace of God and to the people God put in our paths.”
Fr. Paul and Ann Voller were particularly helpful in getting Justin on this path. Amy went through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes to become Catholic, and Justin also attended. Becoming Catholic had been pulling on Amy’s heart for years.
“After having our marriage blessed and seeing Ethan receive the Eucharist, I knew I was ready to become Catholic,” she says.
Justin and Amy had such a positive experience throughout the RCIA process. They formed relationships with the other participants, which are still important to them.
“I have learned so much from the classes and have grown in my faith more than I thought I would,” Amy says. “As Justin and I learned more from our classes, we were able to teach and set a better example for our sons.”
The couple also joined a small group, which has helped them add prayer time and Scripture reading to their days. Amy has enjoyed the opportunity to teach Faith Formation classes, which is something she has always wanted to do.
“I have loved learning about the Catholic faith,” she says. “It is so special to go to Confession and have your sins absolved, then receive Jesus in the Eucharist in a state of grace.”
The family lives on Amy’s home farm just outside of Dawson. In their free time, they enjoy going on vacation, watching and playing sports, and spending time with family. Justin and Amy are so thankful for how far they have come in their faith journey. They both thank everyone who has supported them.
“Thank you to everyone in our faith community,” Justin says. “Everyone is so kind and helpful.”