By ANDREW HANSEN
As a child, Allison Jayne Meinhart of Dieterich remembers attending Baptist and Methodist churches. Despite that non-Catholic background, Meinhart says that she had always been intrigued by the Catholic faith especially the structure and prayers. Little did she know that her marriage to her husband, Anthony, and two children would be a catalyst for her joining the Catholic faith.
“I watched my son (Gavin) be baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church,” Meinhart said. “We then had our daughter (Mabri) and again baptized her in the Catholic Church. I went to sign my daughter, Mabri, up for religion classes at St. Rose of Lima Parish (Montrose) and talked with Lisa Probst, who was very helpful I might add about joining the Church. At this point, I knew we were going to be raising our children in the Catholic Church and wanted to be able to understand everything they were doing and be able to take them to church and participate with them.”
Going through the process of learning and accepting all the Church teachings can sometimes be a daunting experience for people going through a conversion, but for Meinhart, it was anything but.
“I didn’t struggle with anything that I can recall,” she said. “Matter of fact, I felt like things became much clearer for me once joining the Catholic Church, and I feel so much closer to God.”
In 2022, Meinhart was baptized, confirmed, and received first holy Communion at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Montrose. It’s a day she’ll remember forever, especially receiving the Eucharist for the first time.
“It was so different from what I was used to growing up,” Meinhart said. “Growing up when we would do communion, we would get a broken-up cracker and grape juice and just pass it down the pew on the first Sunday of every month. I love that you receive the Body of Christ at every Mass.”
As a 34-year-old wife and mother who works in the medical field as a respiratory therapist, Meinhart says she chose St. Gianna Baretta Molla as her confirmation saint for several reasons.
“St. Gianna is known as the patron of mothers, physicians, and unborn children,” Meinhart said. “St. Gianna was a loving wife, a working mother, and worked in the medical field as I do. St. Gianna chose the gift of life for her daughter when she was told she had a tumor in her uterus. I could relate to this in a couple of different ways. When I was conceived, my mother was told that I would have Down Syndrome and the doctors recommended that she have an abortion. My mother also chose the gift of life and here I am today with no development delays. I also was told a few years after having my son that I had pre-cancerous cells, and it was strongly recommended that I have a hysterectomy. I knew that I wanted more children and refused to have the hysterectomy at that time and am glad I did because many years later I was blessed with my daughter.”
One year into her conversion to the Catholic faith and Meinhart says she loves every bit of it, most especially the Mass.
“I love being able to arrive at church early and get the Breaking Bread Missal out and being able to read to over the Scripture before church starts so that I can take it all in during Mass,” Meinhart said. “I mostly love being able to sit in church on the weekends with my whole family and having those bonding moments.”