This week two students in the Confirmation program at the Church of the Annunciation parish in Kearney, Missouri, — Kendall Ernzen and Jon Rinehart — talk with Fr. Ron Will about times in their lives when, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus,” a light went on” in their faith lives.”
Fr. Ron begins the conversation by talking about a book he read that was made into a movie, “The Shack.” The main character of this movie has a near-death experience through which he comes to experience God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a personal way.
Since watching the movie, Fr. Ron said, “The Holy Spirit has become a real person for me, not just a vague experience … the three persons of the Trinity Father, Son and Holy Spirit became tangible expressions for me.”
Kendall, a sophomore in high school, related her experience at two youth gatherings, the Vision Academy for High School Students at Notre Dame University and the 2019 National Catholic Youth Conference.
“I got to hear amazing speakers that were not only geared towards adults in the room, but also for young people like me. It was more relatable, that helped me connect with God in a more personal way,” she said.
Jon also talked about the 2019 National Catholic Youth Conference but from a little different perspective. He “wasn’t convinced” that the church was for him, Jon said.
“But being with tens of thousands of people [at the youth conference] just kind of flipped this switch,” he said. “It gave me an experience to tell me this [the church] is something that I need to believe in … [It] made me realize I should be closer to God than I was at that point.”
Kendall also said that working with younger kids of the parish — she had just finished helping second graders make their First Communions — “I always feel connected to the Holy Spirit.”
Jon says that he still sometimes has doubts. When those occur, he said he looks around himself, especially out of doors “to see — as my Grandpa likes to say — just looking at the painting that God made. Nobody else could that.”
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All the videos in this series are here: Easter Season 2021: The Emmaus Journey.
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