Illinois-native Moves to Denver and is Drawn to Catholicism
When Phil Meyer moved to Denver from Minnesota last August, he wanted to explore the Catholic faith. He committed to going to weekly Mass, reading the Catechism every night, listening to talks on Formed.org and homilies by Fr. Mike Schmitz. However, he still had a lot of questions that needed answering.
Phil, a band teacher in Thornton, is a music education alumnus of Lutheran-affiliated St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He was raised by Christian parents in Illinois and attended Lutheran Sunday services, high school youth group and bible camp in the summers.
Although he grew up with a strong relationship with God, Phil, now 24, had a negative opinion of Catholicism. He met Eric and Brian Klein, both on his cross country team at St. Olaf, and that view started to change. When he started dating his current girlfriend, Karen, also a Catholic, he decided to research more about the faith.
“I didn't realize how crucial it would eventually be to me that we believe the same things, but at the time it was very important to me to better understand her Catholic faith.” Phil said.
Between the two Catholic friends on his cross country team and Karen, Phil found a community that didn’t fit his assumptions. Phil made the decision to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) in January after talking with Karen’s sister, a Nashville Dominican. He then talked with Fr. Peter Mussett at St. Thomas Aquinas in Boulder and he was allowed go through the program in three months. He was confirmed at St. Thomas Aquinas at the Easter Vigil in April.
“I wanted to do more reading, but I knew at that point that there was nothing that I was going to read that was going to change my mind,” Phil said. “It was just going to deepen my understanding and deepen my faith, not turn it the other way.”
Phil joined Paul Spotts’ men’s bible study through Catholic Young Adult Sports (CYAS) last year. He immediately felt welcome and was encouraged by the vulnerability of the other men. Phil believes the Catholic Church struggles with fellowship and thinks CYAS is doing a great job in building that community.
“I think that Catholic Young Adult Sports is such an important thing,” Phil said. “It continues to grow. I think it’s a really exciting thing. Coming from a men’s bible study perspective, we guys sometimes struggle a bit with building community, and it's a great gateway for that.”
Phil hopes to continue to grow in his relationship with God and be humble enough to discern His will. He wants to spread the Catholic faith and help people see the beauty and truth of Catholicism by clearing up misconceptions.
“It’s a really exciting and life giving journey for me, but also a challenging one,” Phil said. “Both of those sides are going to continue for the rest of my life. It doesn’t end with being confirmed, it’s just opening the door to the rest of my life.”
Paul Spotts believes that CYAS played an important part in Phil’s conversion, though it was not the first seed. He said, “CYAS is not what brought Phil to conversion, but I whole heartedly believe that we gave Phil that little extra assurance that his few Catholic friends were not a complete anomaly, and ultimately that he would not be alone in His faith journey, if he chose to become Catholic.”
When asked about Phil’s involvement in his CYAS’ Bible study, Paul said, “Phil is such a delight to have in our Bible study. He is absolutely committed to fostering friendships in our group and his quick wit brings such a delightful humor. Our Bible study group was extremely excited about him joining RCIA and becoming Catholic as we watched his faith in the Church’s teachings grow before our eyes over the past year. The joy he had on his face after receiving his first Holy communion was a great consolation to those that saw in that smile true joy and union with God. If only all of us cradle Catholics believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and received with such devotion. That contagion would transform the world.”