Jerry Zufelt 2018-03-08 00:38:45
Thursday, March 8, 2018 GREENSBURG — Bishop Edward C. Malesic said the candidates and catechumens in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults help remind lifelong Catholics of the “greatness of our faith … and teach lifelong Catholics how excited we should be about our belief in Jesus.” Bishop Malesic delivered remarks at the annual Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion services at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral on Feb. 18 and 25. He greeted each of the participants during the services, where they made a public commitment to continue their journey to full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Masses in their parishes March 31. Candidates are people who have been baptized and will receive the sacraments of Eucharist and confirmation at the Easter Vigil Mass while catechumens will receive all three sacraments of initiation — baptism, Eucharist and confirmation. At the Feb. 25 service, Bishop Malesic reminded those present that Jesus Christ is the founder of the Catholic Church. “It was Jesus, our Lord and God, who gathered that early first group of believers together,” he said. “And our church has continued to grow in every generation by the power and persuasion of the Holy Spirit.” Bishop Malesic said he realized in college that he is truly a disciple of Christ. “I learned why I was Catholic,” he said, calling it an “aha” moment. “It was this simple: If I loved Jesus, I had to love his church, the one he died for and promised to remain with until the end of the age.” There are 114 people in the RCIA process in the diocese this year: 65 candidates and 49 catechumens. Coming full circle 46 years later The Feb. 25 service had special meaning for a retired priest of the diocese and the music director he hired shortly before retiring as pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Derry. Father Stephen C. West is the sponsor for Joshua Dunmeyer, and the two share several similarities in their faith journeys. Father West was a fine arts and art history major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania when he entered the Catholic Church in 1972 through St. Thomas More University Parish. Born in Georgia and raised a Southern Methodist, Father West stayed in southwestern Pennsylvania after college, entered a Catholic seminary and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Greensburg May 5, 1979. Dunmeyer, 29, was raised in the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Somerset. He learned keyboard and organ from his late grandfather and studied music ministry for a year at a Bible college in Georgia. Dunmeyer began attending Mass at Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, with a friend eight years ago and later attended morning Mass in Pittsburgh. After working in Lutheran and Methodist churches in the Somerset and Johnstown areas, Dunmeyer received a call from another friend, Andrew De- Broeck, the music minister at St. Joseph Parish, letting him know he was leaving that position at the parish. “He said I would love working here,” Dunmeyer said. And he has. “Joshua talked about entering the church from the first time I met him,” which was at the interview for the music director’s position, Father West said. “I told him my story, and that seemed to resonate with him,” he said. Dunmeyer became the music director at the parish on Ash Wednesday of 2017. He asked Father West to be his spiritual director, then entered RCIA last summer. By then, Father West had retired from active ministry for health reasons — cancer that is currently in remission. And because he was no longer pastor of the parish, Father West could serve as Dunmeyer’s sponsor. “This has been God-ordained,” Dunmeyer said of his journey to the Catholic Church. “I have been prayerfully considering entering the Catholic Church for eight years. “I have received wonderful support from the people I work with at church,” he said, which includes finding an apartment to rent through the parish custodian. “It’s been a blessing and a God-send ministering in this area,” he said. “God has really encamped around me this whole year,” he said. “I have grown deeper in my faith in RCIA working with Father Stephen and now with Father Sam (Lamendola, the current pastor).” Near the end of the service, Bishop Malesic introduced Father West and noted he entered the church 46 years ago in much the same way this year’s candidates and catechumens are doing. “I was very touched by his recognition,” Father West said of the unexpected comment from the bishop.
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