New to the faith, a mother helps her family’s grow
April 21, 2011
By David Eck
ST. MARYS DEANERY — With her newborn son lying in a hospital crib struggling to breathe, Jennifer Meier felt peace that his fate was in God’s hands.
|Precious Blood Father Thomas Brenberger, senior associate pastor at St. John the Baptist Parish in Maria Stein, greets Jennifer Meier, her husband, Greg, their son, Kollynn, and her father-in-law, Stan, during the sign of peace at a recent Mass. (CT photo/Jeff Unroe)|
It was the point at which Meier, who was raised a Baptist, decided to join the Catholic faith. Her husband, Greg, is Catholic and they are raising their three sons in the church.
Meier, 32, had attended Mass with her family for years and discussed going through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), but wasn’t quite ready. When her son, Jackson, was born last June with two collapsed lungs, she and her husband went to the hospital chapel and prayed.
“I could feel that God was with me,” she said. “The weight was lifted from me, and I knew there was nothing I could do. God brought (Jackson) home.”
Jackson spent two weeks in the hospital and is now healthy, but the experience helped Meier develop a stronger sense of faith. She knew the time was right for her to begin the journey through RCIA, and she wanted to join her husband in raising their children Catholic. Their other children are Kollynn, 8, and Maverick, 2, and Meier is pregnant with a fourth child.
Meier’s father is a Baptist minister, and the family supported him by occasionally attending his services. They also attended Mass, usually at St. John the Baptist Church near their home in Maria Stein.
She and her husband let Kollynn choose if he wanted to be Catholic or Baptist; at the age of seven, he decided he wanted to be raised in the Catholic Church, and he and Maverick were baptized in 2009.
Eventually Kollynn began asking Meier questions about the faith, and through that interaction, she contemplated becoming Catholic herself. She began RCIA last fall.
The classes have given her a new understanding of the meaning and significance of the sacraments and rituals at Mass.
“The things that we’re learning, understanding the Bible, knowing the support we have in the community,” Meier said. “You’re going to have faith knowing that there are people out there, the support that’s around you.”
Her husband Greg, who is her sponsor and godfather, has seen his own faith deepen by attending RCIA with his wife. The classes have helped him renew what he learned growing up.
RCIA has helped Meier focus on her prayer and family life, Greg Meier said. The family prays more, discusses church teaching more often and spends more quality time together.
“It’s filtered through all of us in the home in ways like that. The family aspect of our lives has grown so much stronger in the last year,” he added. “It’s brought a lot of traditional family practices back.”