It is hard for me to remember it now, but for about half my life I wasn’t a member of the Catholic Church. I was raised in the Congregational Church. Religion never played a big part in my life, and through my late teens and twenties I only went to church on Easter and Christmas — and that was only as a favor to my parents. Church was not high on my priority list, yet as I navigated the ups and downs of life, there was a void I didn’t know how to fill.
Sometimes when you least expect it, your life can change. That change happened when I met my wife, Polly, at a picnic one summer. We started dating and I began going to Mass with her on Sundays. What I came to discover was a chance to become closer to Jesus in a very meaningful way. I remember telling her that when I was at Mass, I felt like I was home.
I knew this was what was missing in my life. With Polly’s encouragement, I joined the RCIA program at St. Sebastian parish, where I made my First Communion and was confirmed. Polly and I were married there two years later and shortly thereafter started our family.
We moved to Cedarburg in 2003 and enrolled our daughter, Julia, at St. Francis Borgia School after joining the parish. Now, with Henry, the youngest of our four children, due to graduate from St. Francis in 2022, I can say with certainty both the school and the parish have been a gift to my family.
While at first just attending Mass seemed like enough, I soon wanted to get more involved in my faith, so I became a Eucharistic Minister. I also joined the Knights of Columbus and have been participated in several of the men’s morning groups. For any men reading this — I recommend both of those, especially if most of your friends aren’t members of the church. They provide an opportunity to get to know other men who take their faith seriously.
One satisfying event in my faith life was when my mother came back to the Catholic faith after being away for fifty years. Now both my parents attend mass three times a week.
We have made many true friends within the parish community and through the Catholic faith I have grown to be a better person, husband and father.
Written by: Peter Schmidt