Salina — Both Lien Tran and Andrew Hecker say they have found a home in the Catholic Church.
“It felt like God had his hands in this. It just came naturally, as if it were meant to be,” Tran said.
She became a Catholic two years ago as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Her fiancé Andrew will follow suit at this year’s Easter vigil April 4.
Hecker will be among 190 individuals formally joining the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Salina.
The couple’s backgrounds and journeys to full communion in the Church are strikingly different.
Tran, 21, said her family were Buddhists but that she grew up a non-believer.
“In high school I was atheist. I’d only been in a church once,” she said.
She moved with her family to Salina from Reading, Pa., when she was 16.
It was after enrolling at Kansas State University-Salina that Tran said she felt something missing.
“I hit a low point in college,” she said. “I was living alone in the dorms and I felt I needed something. I asked to go to a Catholic Church with a friend.”
She said she immediately felt at home at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Salina.
Father Keith Weber, pastor at St. Elizabeth, agreed to instruct Tran separately because a conflict kept her from attending the regularly scheduled RCIA classes.
It was during that time that she met and began dating Hecker, and soon he began joining her at Mass at St. Elizabeth.
What is it about Ash Wednesday that it exerts such a pull on the lives of Catholics?
There are three days within the Church’s liturgical year that are guaranteed to bring people to a church service. The first two are Christmas and Easter. They are the two most important feasts in Christianity, marking, as they do, the birth and resurrection of Jesus. The third day is Ash Wednesday.