“Behold I am with you always, even to the close of the age.”

Matthew 28:20

Jesus promised that He would never abandon His people; He promised that He would remain until the end of time. Jesus walked the earth over 2000 years ago, yet He is still present and active in the lives of His people. He is with them. However, recognizing God’s presence in our world today takes a ‘trained eye’ and an act of faith. Jesus can most readily be recognized through the witness of Christian people, people who acknowledge and testify to the power and presence of God in their lives. The ‘Encounter with Christ’ stories help to highlight how God is working in the lives of the people in the parish of St. Magdalen’s Church. These stories are meant to help those who read them to more easily recognize God’s presence in their own lives. God wants to be known by you and to work in your life—invite Him to do so.

Coming to Jesus Through Stewardship

05-29-2016Encountering ChristBilly Tackett

My "Come to Jesus" moment began when I fell behind in completing stewardship hours for Confirmation. By January of my 7th grade year I had failed to complete any of my stewardship hours, with no prospects going forward. To remedy this, Sr. Lorraine offered to waive any stewardship hour deficiencies if a student attended the Pro-life March in Washington D.C. My parents were unable to accompany me, but gave instructions to "follow the nun" wherever she went. I did. As I entered into 8th grade Sr. Lorraine informed me that in order to complete my stewardship hours that year, I was going to assist her in teaching a 2nd grade class. This was a real challenge and gift for me because I didn't know anything about my faith until I had to teach it.

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Fullness of Joy in the Lord

05-22-2016Encountering ChristJennifer Prickel

"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11). I have always loved teaching. There is something so special about sharing your passion with others through explanation and group discussion—and when it comes to teaching others, not about a subject, such as math or Spanish but the person of Jesus Christ, it becomes even more significant. I had the great privilege of co-teaching a group of 8th graders on Monday nights this past year and it was as if this verse from John's Gospel came to life. I was entrusted with a group of young people, desirous of being understood, listened to, and known. It is precisely in being aware of these basic human needs that a soul can be open to God's word. In each one of my students, I saw a soul on the journey to God and I wanted to do all I could to help them along the path. I sought to share my experience of Jesus's love in my life and the joy He brings as the fulfillment of all desire.

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My Journey to the Church

05-15-2016Encountering ChristAnonymous

Although I was not raised in the Church I married a Catholic. I went to Mass on Sundays with my husband and children, refraining from going up for communion. I was intrigued by the person of Jesus but not willing to make a commitment to this way of life. It wasn’t until my daughter was in first grade that she asked me pointedly, “You say that God is important and that we need to do our prayers but why don’t you go up to get Jesus?” I was stumped and began to really ponder this question. I asked myself if I really believed that Jesus was Lord and Savior or was I just going through the motions? I realized I was afraid of disappointing my family, fearing that they might look down on me for converting to   another religion and it was only when I began to ask   myself what was more important: disappointing my family or accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior that I went through RCIA.

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My Extraordinary Journey of Faith

05-08-2016Encountering ChristDolores Berardi

My parents were Italian Immigrants who came to America during the early 1930's. My mother, having been taught by nuns in a Catholic boarding school in Italy, was very strict. She walked to Church with us every Sunday. My two siblings and I loved going to Church because afterwards we would stop at the local bakery and pick up donuts and fresh baked bread. My mother had a great devotion to Mary and so named me after, Our Lady of Sorrows.

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The Grace of Baptism

05-01-2016Encountering ChristMary Ann Flood

I grew up in in a predominately Catholic neighborhood in upper Manhattan. My parents were not practicing Catholics; for their own personal reasons they had turned away from the Church. As I reflect back upon my upbringing, I believe my parents, without realizing it, raised my brothers and I according to the Ten Commandments with the exception of 'keeping holy the Sabbath'. All of my friends were Catholic and it was through them that I learned about God and the Catholic Church. They attended Catechism (as it was called then) taught by the nuns.

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Jesus is With Me Always

04-24-2016Encountering ChristAnne Hercek

My parents raised me in the Catholic faith, providing me with a Catholic education; but apart from Sunday Mass we did not focus much on faith. Despite this, I always had a desire to know and love the Lord. I can remember reading St. Therese's "Story of a Soul", and becoming aware that God was always with me. In high school, I remember having an assignment to read about Moses in the Old Testament, (where God delivered the Israelites from slavery), and thinking that if this story were really true, God must have deeply loved His people.

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Jesus Keeps Me From Going Crazy

04-17-2016Encountering ChristTerry Weaver

I can't pinpoint a particular moment when I first came to know Jesus as my savior and friend; it has been a journey. Yet, there have been moments throughout my life when this realization has been more clear. For example, early in my marriage I found myself in Michigan, living in a community where I didn't know anyone; however, our local Church had a perpetual adoration chapel. Spending time with the Lord was the one thing I "knew" and I found comfort in His presence. I asked the Lord while I sat before Him in the Blessed Sacrament to "increase my faith", and I felt like He really filled me with His strength.

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Meeting Jesus in the Garden

04-03-2016Encountering Christ

The Young Adult group of St. Magdalen's encountered the Lord in a very particular way on Holy Thursday, this past year: in both adoration and in the traditions of the Church.

The Holy Thursday Mass commemorates two great gifts in the Church: The Eucharist and the Priesthood. At the end of Mass the altar is stripped bare and the tabernacle is left empty—signifying the fact that Jesus goes into the Garden of Gethsemane to suffer, and to begin the Passion. The empty tabernacle, is like the tomb, it tells how God handed over His Sprit and died for us. The Blessed Sacrament is placed in a side chapel—called a repository. It is a custom in many cultures to visit seven churches, praying in those side chapels—heeding Jesus' request to "stay awake and watch" with Him. The side chapels are decorated with beautiful flowers and plants to signify the Garden of Gethsemane.

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Finding God in Hardship

03-27-2016Encountering ChristAnonymous

I was not raised in a Christian home, even so, I had heard that the Christian God loves us and answers prayers. So as a teenager when my mother was dying of cancer I prayed to God to grant her a cure. I prayed to Him and to every other deity I knew, just to be safe. Yet in my heart of hearts I wanted to believe that God was real and that if He was real He would prove this by preventing my mother from dying. When my mother did die, despite my prayers, I hated God for it.. It wasn't until I was in college and met my husband who was a practicing Catholic, that I acknowledged that God was real and began to understand how God communicates His love to His children.

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Meeting Jesus in Adoration

03-20-2016Encountering ChristMaggie Castles

I was in the 2nd grade the first time I ever encountered Jesus in Adoration. I went with my mother to the Carmelite monastery in Flemington and in the stillness of that place I could sense something special was happening. This realization filled me with awe, even as a small child. I would watch my mother shut her eyes and just let go of the concerns and worries she carried as a mother of 12 children. She would go to the turntable and leave her troubles in the hands of the nuns and at the feet of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament—that was the kind of faith she had.

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Renewal in the Confessional

03-13-2016Encountering ChristJan Coey

I was raised Catholic, so attending Mass was just something we did every week throughout my childhood. However, as I got older and made decisions for myself, I often struggled to find a real purpose for my faith. I drifted farther and farther away from any kind of relationship with God. I justified myself, thinking, 'If I actually heard the voice of God, like Abraham, Noah or Moses, surely I would listen too! It was easier to forget what I knew about the Ten Commandments than to face how desperately I needed the Sacrament of Penance.

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