Easter marks reconciliation for more Catholics

Immaculate Heart parish helps another group find way back to church life

Don Mayer, 81, left the Catholic Church in 1959, but returned 43 years later in 2002 as part of the Catholics Coming Home program, and has spent six weeks during the past Lent season as a team member with the program through Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.



When Don Mayer was a child, the Catholic church played an essential role in his life. He was an altar boy and a member of the choir. He went to Catholic grade school and then to Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

Then he left the church.

“In 1959 I was asking questions and not getting any answers,” Mayer said. “I stayed away for 43 years.”

He was drawn back to the church in 2002 when he was traveling through Tucson, Ariz., in his recreational vehicle. He read a sign outside the local Catholic church that Catholics
Coming Home classes were about to start. He wondered what it was all about, and then he saw an advertisement in The Daily Sentinel for the same kind of classes at Immaculate
Heart of Mary Catholic Church and decided to check them out.

“I found you can have an issue, or difference, with the church and still be a practicing member,” Mayer said.

The classes at Immaculate Heart of Mary continue six weeks and coincide with Lent. They are done at this time to offer an opportunity for renewal of faith before Easter, said Jill Moten, the course coordinator.

This year was her first time coordinating the course. She was the director of faith coordination at Immaculate Heart of Mary until September.

“It’s an honor to be an instrument of people’s return to faith life,” Moten said.

There were 14 participants this year, along with eight team members, including priests. She said it is important to have clergy involved because they help validate the program. It can be a hard step for participants to make, she said.

It takes courage to make that first step “and respond to the spirit’s action in our lives,” Moten said.

Participants are not required to attend Mass, and they are encouraged to take the process at their own pace.

“It’s up to them to seek, rather than us imposing,” Moten said.

Mayer is active again in the church, and he still participates in the classes as a team member. He shares his story on the first week of classes and offers support to participants.

He said he plans to continue to help with Catholics Coming Home.

“Absolutely, as long as they want me to say my piece, I’ll be there,” Mayer said.


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