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St. Columban family makes journey of faith together

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

By Eileen Connelly, OSU

ST. ANDREW DEANERY — Faith is very much a family matter for the Wilsons — Doug, Christi, and their daughters, Abby, 12, and Katie, 10, who will join the Catholic Church together at Easter Vigil.

Doug Wilson, a Cincinnati native, was raised Baptist and attended church regularly until the age of 13. “I always had a lot of faith in God and Jesus,” he said, but not much faith in organized religion.

His wife, Christi, also from Cincinnati, admits she was not raised in religious home, although did sometime attend church services with family and friends on special occasions and participated in vacation Bible school. “I always believed in God and in being kind and loving toward others but didn’t believe I needed to be baptized or go to church to go to heaven,” she said.

The couple, who will be married for 13 years in June, decided on Catholic school at St. Columban in Loveland for their daughters when the time came, appreciating the values that would be instilled and the educational opportunities offered. As the girls attended school Mass and shared what they were learning in religion classes, “It got us thinking more about God,” said Doug Wilson.

When they became more actively involved at St. Columban and came to know their fellow parishioners, their interest deepened. “We felt so at home there,” Doug Wilson explained.  “The people were so secure with God, that it inspired us to consider the process of becoming Catholic.”

He asked the children if they wanted to take that next step, and the girls embraced the idea with enthusiasm; their mother, however, was not quite as certain. The next year came around, and while she still was not ready, she supported her husband and daughters’ decision to move forward. Ultimately, Christi Wilson decided to join them, and has “probably been the most affected” by RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation of Adults), said her husband.

They attended separate adult and children’s classes, each learning and growing spiritually in their own way. “I enjoyed the opportunity to learn a lot of things I was not aware of about the Catholic Church. The most meaningful is knowing how much the church cares about you,” said Christi Wilson, who works as a lunch server at St. Columban School. “The kids at lunch will tell me that they saw me in church, and parents will tell me how happy they are for me.”

“I’ve enjoyed the different ways I’ve learned to think and discuss the Bible and the way there is such a strong feeling of community in the church,” added Doug Wilson. “Going to Mass, praying and reading the Bible are all ways to remind us of God and that everyday things are less important than your final destination.”

Abby Wilson, a sixth-grader, and her sister, Katie, who is in the third-grade, both said the experience of preparing to join the church has been fun and brought them closer to God.

It has also brought them closer as a family, said Doug Wilson. “As a couple and a family, we are all learning together and reminding each other that God is with us.”

At Easter Vigil as they stand before the faith community that has prayed for and supported them in recent months, it will be a deeply spiritual and emotional experience for each member of the family. Christi Wilson anticipates shedding some tears and feeling as though every present is her family, her community. Her husband said he will feel as though he has taken an important step on his way to eternal life. Abby Wilson will know she is coming even closer to God, and Katie Wilson is excited about growing in her faith.

The Wilsons expressed their gratitude to all who have accompanied them on their journey of faith saying, “We would like to thank our sponsors and the RCIA volunteers. They are so great to give their time and are really doing their part to spread the word of God.”

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