Kelly’s Conversion, Part 2: This is the second story in a Lenten series following catechumen Kelly Seeman as she journeys through the last 40 days before entering the Church at Easter. This part shares her experience with Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Read Part 1 here.
When Kelly Seeman, 33, started classes to become Catholic last fall she loved every minute of it. It was like a “honeymoon phase,” she said.
“You feel like you’re surrounded by God constantly,” Kelly said of the twice-weekly Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) gatherings at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. “(I thought) ‘This is amazing; I really feel I’m at home.’”
But shortly after Christmas, that magic waned and she began to question her commitment and efforts when the “real work” began.
“It’s a huge time commitment,” she said of the initiation program that runs September through April. “And it’s a spiritual commitment as well.”
Her mind was flooded with doubts: “What have I taken on? Am I giving it enough time? Am I praying enough? Am I faithful enough? Am I ready?” she wondered.
She compared it to how some brides feel in the course of planning a wedding: there are times when the demands of family and friends, however well-intentioned, can stress them out. Those demands, compounded with soaring emotions and a long to-do list, can distract from the most important thing: the impending marriage itself.
“I got discouraged,” she said, but she tried not to let it show. “There’s so much to learn … it was overwhelming.”
At the same time, she was also finishing up a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Regis University, where she will graduate in May.
But prayer and an ensuing deepening of her faith—guided by the hour-and-a-half Thursday and Sunday RCIA classes in the basement classroom with 21 fellow catechumens and candidates—helped her make sense of the “funk” and get through it.
“Del (Aman, RCIA coordinator) taught us about getting prepared for confession by doing an examination of conscience,” Kelly said. “I think in a way I was doing that in January and February. I was examining my life, and that can put you in a funk.”
Participating in the Rites of Election liturgy at the Cathedral Basilica March 9 with Archbishop Samuel Aquila was a meaningful turning point for her.
“At Rites of Election, it became real,” she said. “I felt nervous, excited … emotional.”
Then she was calmed and encouraged by the archbishop’s homily.
“He summarized everything I was going through the last few months,” she said, which allowed her to concentrate on the “bright sides” of the journey and stay the course.
“He said it was important to have confidence in God that you’re on the right path,” she relayed. “That having confidence can be a spiritual battle … (but you need to) remember the ways you were brought to God in the first place.”
One of the primary ways she was brought to God was through her husband Ryan, a cradle Catholic who grew up at Spirit of Christ Church in Arvada. Ryan attended most RCIA classes with her.
“Father Roger (Lascelle) encouraged Ryan to come to classes with me because it’s a journey, it’s an experience, and he needed to be alongside me,” she said. “I think he is thankful he did. The experience has brought him closer to God.”
She is grateful to Father Lascelle, parochial vicar, and Deacon Jason Wunsch, who lead the RCIA classes, for all they have taught her—particularly the deep meaning behind Catholic liturgy.
“Father Roger does a good job of reaching a broad range of people, he’s really a great guy,” she said. “He ministered in the mountains for a long time … so he understands that ‘free spirituality’ type of mentality.”
Kelly grew up with in the mountain town of Coal Creek Canyon, raised with a spirituality she described as “new age spiritualism,” focused on meditation and Native American beliefs.
“Father Roger touches on a high level spiritual overview for RCIA,” she said. “He helps us better understand the Holy Spirit.”
Deacon Wunsch’s teaching concentrated on the Bible and understanding Church teachings.
“(He’ll say) Break open your books! It’s going to be amazing!” Kelly said of his enthusiastic and fun nature.
She also recognized Aman for “holding their hands” and keeping everything running smoothly, including assigning Kelly a sponsor to journey with her: Betty Dee, a parishioner of the Cathedral Basilica since 1993 and retired from the Denver Public Library.
“She has been supportive and awesome,” Kelly said of her sponsor. “I’m back to feeling whole and at peace with the process.”
Kelly will receive the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation and first Communion during Easter Vigil at the Cathedral Basilica 8 p.m. April 19. Continue with Kelly on her journey in the April 23 issue of the Register.
Kelly has been recording her thoughts and feelings in a journal during RCIA. Below is an excerpt:
“So here I am in the second month of RCIA and I’m learning the dialogue and a deeper meaning of what I’ve been searching for and feeling over the years.”