Jeff Bossman got a ‘wake-up call’ from God
April 21, 2011
By Eileen Connelly, OSU
ST. MARGARET MARY DEANERY — It was profound experience of healing and faith that led to Jeff Bossman’s decision to convert to Catholicism.
|Jeff Bossman participates in an RCIA session at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Greenhills. (CT/Tony Tribble)|
Bossman, who works in landscaping and property management, was baptized in the Methodist church as a child and confirmed in the United Church of Christ. He married a Catholic, Virginia, and the couple has two children, Alan and Catherine.
“For 20 years I attended Mass with my wife and family,” Bossman said. “I was a Christian and attended church, and for me that was really all that mattered. I never felt the need to convert.”
That all changed last summer with Bossman received a “wake-up call” and the strong sense that God was calling out to him. During a routine physical the nurse practitioner heard a heart murmur. Follow-up tests led to the diagnosis of a aneurysm in the artery leading from Bossman’s aortic valve.
“I was in shock. I felt great and had no symptoms of this life-threatening condition,” Bossman recalled. “I was scared out of my mind.”
A weight lifted, though, he said, after Father Pete Helmlinger, pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish (OLR) in Greenhills, administered the anointing of the sick.
“I didn’t really understand what was happening, but I felt more comfortable and relaxed with all that I was facing. I felt the Holy Spirit and spiritual support of the parish,” he said.
During his hospitalization and recovery, said Bossman, “I knew from the love and kindness and sense of belonging shown to me and my family by the OLR community that it was time to go through RCIA and become a member of the Catholic Church.
“Up until that point, I was just going through the motions, not really a member. When you have a brush with death, it really causes you to look deeper into your faith and you start to think about your priorities.”
Thus began Bossman’s journey through the RCIA process, with OLR parishioner Walt Podman as his sponsor.
“I’d known Jeff for three or four years, and we’d never really discussed the fact that he’d never completed the sacraments,” Podman said. “He just decided it was time, and I’m flattered he asked me to be his sponsor. It’s been a privilege to walk with him on this journey of faith.”
Bossman’s wife and children, while initially surprised by his decision to join the church after so many years, have been very supportive.
“I’ve really got a kick out of having discussions about religion with my son, who goes to Roger Bacon,” said Bossman. “It’s brought us closer as we’ve talked.”
Bossman felt his experience at OLR has helped him build a solid foundation in Catholicism, but he found the RCIA process to be a chance to increase his knowledge and deepen his faith.
“I’ve really enjoyed the experience, the discussions we’ve had, getting to know the people and seeing how we’ve evolved. In a way I’m sorry the process is going to conclude, although I’m excited about Easter Vigil. It’s a good feeling to have finally made this decision and know that it’s right for me.”
Kathy Klich, pastoral associate at OLR, has seen how much RCIA has meant to Bossman.
“Jeff has thoroughly enjoyed all that he has learned in our RCIA sessions,” she said. “He has had to do a lot of rearranging in his schedule in order to be present every week. He has a much deeper understanding of the Catholic faith than he did in the beginning and is enjoying getting more deeply into the Scriptures and the history behind them. He has been able to see how God’s Spirit has been guiding him to this point of becoming Catholic, and he has put his faith into action in dealing with the challenges in his life.”