Faith: A Family Affair
by Brother Bob Roddy, OFM Conv.
For those men and women participating in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), the season of Lent represents the home stretch as they prepare for their reception into the Catholic Church and for their sponsors who have walked with them. This RCIA experience encapsulates a turning away from an old way of relationship (or lack thereof) with the Almighty, and a turning towards a community of faith that will inspire, challenge and nurture them.
For one of our postulants, Colden Fell, this journey occurred relatively recently. In 2019 he made his profession of faith and was received into full communion in the Roman Catholic Church. Colden’s journey was the culmination of a family’s journey of faith, as his dad, mom and two brothers had been received into the Church earlier. “My family never pushed or pressured me to join the Church,” Colden said. “I was very active in the Protestant church that we had been a part of. Service was a very important component of that faith community.”
After her conversion, Lisa Fell, Colden’s mom, had begun to assist with the RCIA program in their local parish in Louisiana. (She co-led the RCIA for several years.) “I was literally leaving for my RCIA class in 2018 when Colden finally responded `Yes,” to my invitation to come to RCIA and experience for himself, what the rest of the family had found,” Lisa recounts.
Lisa started RCIA in the Fall of 2014, after her husband, Pat, who had been raised Catholic, had returned to the Roman Catholic Church. Their family had been active in several different non-denominational churches since 2000. “I was received into the Church during Easter 2015,” Lisa said, “I had experienced a health crisis in December of 2014, which forced me to be still during the last half of RCIA. It was a powerful time for me and my journey into the Church.”
As Lisa looked back on her path to the Church, she noticed that there were subtle influences that drew her to the Catholic Church: “Half of the parents in our home school group were Catholic. The majority of my 30 years in the nursing profession, I have worked in hospitals sponsored by Franciscans.”
After her husband, Pat, returned to the Catholic Church, Lisa began to accompany him to Mass. “Worship in the Catholic church was so different than anything I had ever experienced,” Lisa said, “The Eucharist immediately drew me in.” Colden, in his journey was strongly influenced by the “Word on Fire” videos of Bishop Robert Barron; the Eucharist continues to be a powerful source of strength and inspiration for both Colden and his Mom.
In co-leading her RCIA group Lisa found that she could readily relate to those who were coming to RCIA from either a non-denominational tradition or no tradition at all. “I loved sharing the wisdom and traditions of the Church as well as my personal journey to becoming Catholic. I’m passionate about teaching people. I can walk with them and understand where they are coming from.”
After being received into the Church, Colden, was drawn to the religious life, and through the “Breaking the Habit,” videos of friar Casey Cole, OFM, he focused his interest on the Franciscans. “St. Francis’ desire to live out his life as closely to Christ as possible as well as the Franciscans’ commitment to the poor and sick really resonated with me.” Colden contacted friar Andy Martinez through the Vocation Office website; friar Andy put him in touch with friar Mario Serrano and after making a “Come and See,” weekend retreat, Colden applied for admission to the friars’ postulancy program.
Colden looks forward to “growing in his faith” while experiencing the varied cultures in which the friars minister. Lisa herself is on fire for her faith. She and her family look forward to getting to know the friars better. Their journey reflects the journey of countless men and women who respond to God’s call and wish to share their joy with others. “Keep the Faith and spread it,” was a maxim that many cradle Catholics would hear; Lisa, Colden and their family joyfully live this out.