Your Stories

Conversion to Catholicism is the best chapter in Stephanie's Book of Life

A bond with Catholicism for Stephanie Van Koevering of DeWitt happened in a series of chapters, like a terrific book. At the start of the book, Stephanie had no idea she would end up in love with the Catholic faith.

“We all have journeys in all of our stories,” Stephanie says. “My kids have been taught from a young age that you look for those stories in people.”

As a child growing up in Bangor, Mich., every week Stephanie attended the First Congregational Church where she had been baptized.

2017 Father Charles Irvin essay contest winner: Talking about Jesus to someone who doesn't know him

The question for the 2017 essay:  How would I explain Jesus Christ and what he means to me to someone who doesn’t know him?

I invented this scene; it never happened. The character Grace is me, represented as well as I could write myself. Anna is a fictional character, but the situations and people that I wrote about are all true.

SCENE: Barnes & Noble, the Christianity and Religion shelf. A teenage girl, Grace, bumps into another teenage girl, Anna, who is squinting at the C.S. Lewis books.

Although It may not be easy to talk about Jesus, Alyssa says: ‘Don’t be afraid. Jump in!’

Alyssa Pfarr knows it’s not easy to talk about Jesus. “Sometimes, my friends ask me questions because they know I care about my faith … I want to say to other young people, ‘Get out of your comfort zone. Maybe you think you don’t know God, or maybe you do, but it doesn’t matter – everyone is trying to figure it out.’”

How can you be a missionary disciple?

Lately, we’ve heard the phrase “missionary discipleship” quite a bit; it’s one of those “trending” topics. Much of the buzz about missionary discipleship comes from Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, or The Joy of the Gospel. In it, Pope Francis says, “Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus; we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples.’”


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