Carol Demshuk and Lela Vandenberg spoke at the diocesan assembly in Lansing in October 2016. They shared the story of Carol, a parishioner at St. James in Mason, accompanying Lela on her return to the Catholic Church. Carol followed the lead of the Holy Spirit in praying for Lela’s spiritual growth, in letting her love for Jesus in the Eucharist be her witness, in giving timely invitations to Mass and suggestions to look at Scripture – and in accompanying her through life as her friend and prayer partner.
Ahmad and Manal Daboul are peaceful people. Grateful to be safe in the U.S., they shake their heads at the tragic circumstances that sent their beloved Syria into its current chaos and destruction.
“To talk about my city, Damascus,” Manal says through interpreter Aya Turki, “we were living in peace. Friends and neighbors always in peace. Shia or Suni never made any difference. Our faith is a peaceful religion, but people of all faiths lived side by side.”
Mitchell and Abby Feldpausch attended the inaugural FaithFest in June of 2016 and took their daughters Nora, Zaylie, and Lucia (now ages three, two, and one). The couple looks forward to attending FaithFest 2017 with an additional family member – the baby they are expecting this spring. “A lot of our friends were going last year and bringing their kids, so that made it easier and was a great chance for the kids to enjoy their friends and for us to gather together,” Mitchell says.
The hardest journey in life can be the work to link one’s heart and soul. Just ask Barb Sierra, who has spent most of her life connecting these two. Raised in Connecticut, Barb did not feel secure or special growing up. These feelings were complicated when, at an early age, she began to recognize her same-sex attraction. Confused and insecure, Barb was drinking heavily by the age of 19, and entered her first same-sex relationship. The relationship ended abruptly after 18 months.
The invitation was simple
Ryan Adelman was a freshman in high school, and one of the youth ministers at his parish, David McHugh, invited him to a youth group paintball event. Not one to typically be involved in faith-related activities, Ryan joined simply for the fun of it. Despite enjoying the evening, Ryan ignored David’s subsequent invitations to join the youth group for Sunday night gatherings – until the lure of pizza won him over. What teenage boy can refuse free pizza? That night, Ryan began to think membership wasn’t all that bad, and started attending regularly.
The loss of a loved one. Battling cancer. Mental illness. Self-doubt. A crisis of faith. Isolation. Loneliness.
Rich or poor. Young or old. Man or woman. Christian or Muslim. Each of us has a cross to bear. Some are heavier than others. Some stay with us longer than others. All of them require the strength of the Lord to help us carry our burden.