‘God brings us to him in different ways’

Kelly’s Conversion, Part 1: This is the first story in a Lenten series that follows catechumen Kelly Seeman as she journeys through the last 40 days before entering the Church at Easter vigil. Part 1 shares the spiritual path that led her to the Church and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

Kelly Seeman had always been curious about religion and the presence of God in her life while growing up in the mountain town of Coal Creek Canyon. Her parents, Kay and Jack Herndon, raised her and her older sister with a spirituality she described as “new age spiritualism.”

“I think people sometimes associate it with paganism which wasn’t the case for us,” said Seeman, 33. “It was more of a ‘free spirituality’ kind of thing … focusing on positive meditation, taken more from Native American belief systems—there was a divine piece to it.”

Her parents instilled in her a strong sense of self, and of family, she said, and taught her to trust her instincts and intuition.

“They raised us with the values of the church,” she added. “But we never went to church.”

As Kelly got older, her curiosity about God and religion grew. Her parents were supportive of her quest to find answers in other faiths during her young adult and teen years, allowing her to try non-denominational groups, Protestant churches and an assembly identified as Born-again Christian—but “it never went well,” she said.

“I was genuinely interested in God but it was never the right fit.”

That was until January 2008 when she and now-husband Ryan went to Spirit of Christ Parish in Arvada, Ryan’s lifelong parish, to inquire about marriage preparation. At their first meeting, Kathy Galiffa, pastoral ministry coordinator and a longtime family friend of Ryan’s family, said to Kelly: “I understand you’re not Catholic?”

“No,” she replied.

“Are you baptized?” Galiffa asked.

“No,” she answered, bracing for a negative reaction.

But she was taken back by Galiffa’s response.

“God brings us to him in different ways,” she said matter-of-factly, and proceeded to fill out the paperwork.

“Hands down, that was the one thing I needed to hear,” Kelly said. “Seriously, it was huge … for the first time, I didn’t feel like an outsider.”

During her time investigating other faiths, she had felt rejection, pressure, disappointment and uneasiness. Now with those simple words, she felt acceptance.

“That sealed the deal,” said Kelly, who had been attending Mass with Ryan and his family. “I respected all the other churches; they just weren’t the right fit.”

And though it was the right fit, it wasn’t the right time—as the couple moved to Anchorage, Alaska, shortly after they were married in September 2008.

“I looked into RCIA when we moved,” she said. “But I’d just started back to school at Regis (University-online), and being a new wife and going back to school, I couldn’t really commit to it.”

Kelly, who attended community college, Metro State College (now University) and the Art Institute of Colorado, had dreamed of attending Regis University since hearing Nobel Peace Prize recipient Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak there in 1998. It was an experience that opened her eyes “to a larger spiritual picture.”

“I totally fell in love with Regis; it took me three schools and one degree to get there,” she added with a laugh. But in May she will reach that goal, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Kelly Seeman

Living in Anchorage, she maintained a connection to the faith as the couple attended Mass together and she regularly “popped in” to church to pray on her own. In 2012, they moved back to the Denver metro area to put roots down.

“It was a good time (to begin RCIA), everything was falling into place,” she said, including landing a job as the Operations Coordinator for the archdiocese’s Office of Communications. “It’s important to me because, as a family, I want to support the same spiritual goals … to be on the same page as far as religion.”

She started RCIA at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception last September, where she attends class twice each week with 20 to 30 fellow catechumens (those who are not yet baptized) and candidates (those who were baptized in another faith) to prepare to enter the Church during Easter vigil at the cathedral 8 p.m. April 19.

“I’m learning the deeper meaning of what I’ve been searching for, and feeling, over the years,” she said of her growing relationship with Christ. “My horizons are brighter and I feel an excitement for what’s next. The world is a little more colorful looking through the lens of faith.”

Continue with Kelly on her faith journey in the April 9 issue of the Register in a story that will share more about her RCIA experience.

 

Kelly’s Journal
Kelly has been recording her thoughts and feelings in a journal during RCIA. Below is an excerpt:

“I remember there was a lot of popping into church to pray and we attended Mass as newlyweds. I began to feel God’s presence and it was a beautiful experience. One time in particular, I was on a break from work and I popped in to a local parish to pray. I was having a particularly hard time. … I remember praying for guidance … I felt a warmth on my head, like a warm touch, and was simply filled with peace. … I think that overwhelming sense of peace and love that I felt was God.”

COMING UP: Colorado bishops issue letter on the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life Congressional policies

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

We, the Catholic bishops of Colorado, urge Congressional Representatives to support the Hyde Amendment and the Walden Amendment. We also ask the Faithful to sign The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) petition to lawmakers encouraging them to preserve the Hyde Amendment, which can be accessed at: NoTaxpayerAbortion.com, and to contact their Congressmen and women to support the Hyde and Walden amendments.

The House Appropriations Labor and Health and Human Services subcommittee recently passed a spending bill that strips protections for pre-born children, healthcare providers,and American taxpayers by excluding pro-life provisions, including the Hyde and Weldon amendments.

The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion in most cases, except for rape and incest, has received bipartisan support since its inception in 1976 – including by pro-abortion administrations. Hyde is critical in saving lives. The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that approximately 60,000 pre-born babies are saved every year because of the Hyde Amendment.[1] This is the first time in 40 years that the Hyde Amendment was not included in the annual appropriations bill[2] and failure to include pro-life amendments will only further increase divisions in our country.

The Weldon Amendment prevents any federal programs, agencies, and state and local governments from discriminating against health care practitioners and institutions that do not provide abortion services. It ensures that pro-life individuals and organizations can enter the health care profession without fearing that the government will force them to perform a procedure that violates their well-founded convictions. It has also received bipartisan support and was added to the appropriations bill every year since it was first enacted in 2005. [3]

Congress’ recent actions endanger the lives of pre-born children and infringe on the rights of millions of Americans who do not wish to participate in the moral evil of abortion. A recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll found that 58 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions[4] and a 2019 Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of Americans think abortion should either be illegal or only legal in a few circumstances.[5]

The government should neither use taxpayer funds for the killing of pre-born children nor compel medical practitioners and institutions to violate their well-founded convictions. Congress must uphold these long-standing, common-sense bipartisan policies that promote a culture of life in our nation.

Human reason and science affirm that human life begins at conception. The Church objects to abortion on the moral principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with respect due to every human person. There has never been and never will be a legitimate need to abort a baby in the womb.

It is critical that Congress continue its long-history of supporting policies such as the Hyde and Walden amendments, and that all Colorado Catholics and people of good will make their voice heard in supporting these life-affirming policies.

Sign the petition to Congress here: www.NoTaxpayerAbortion.com

Contact your Congressional Representatives here: https://cocatholicconference.org/news/

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Denver

Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo

Most Reverend James R. Golka
Bishop of Colorado Springs

Most Reverend Jorge Rodriguez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver