Finding ‘God’s greatest gift’ in parish program

PHOTO: Angie Shaw – a. photography

Finding ‘God’s greatest gift’ in parish program

Two couples— Mark and Sara Bartels and John and Lyn Kedzierski — were brought together by faith, having first met at the ChristLife program at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, Greensburg.

The Bartels met through the praise and worship segment of the ChristLife program after Sara became the music leader and Mark set up the sound system and the PowerPoint slides with lyrics for the session. They became friends and went on their first date after a ChristLife meeting. Within two months they became engaged and were wed six months later, in September 2016.

They simplified the wedding to make sure the focus was on God and the sacrament of marriage, according to Sara.

The Bartels recently celebrated their third anniversary. Mark attributes the success
of their relationship to learning to be more compassionate and understanding toward each other. They have two young daughters who were baptized at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, where they are parishioners.

Neither John nor Lyn Kedzierski was looking for a relationship when they entered the ChristLife program. Lyn was a widow, and John had never married.

At the encouragement of mutual friends, John asked Lyn to dinner. They dated for two years before becoming engaged and marrying a year later in May 2019.

“I was like Moses wandering throughout the desert for 40 years,” John quipped.

He said “yes” to Jesus and the plan in store for him, and the couple has now been happily married for about five months, John said.

They keep Christ in their lives by praying daily together, according to Lyn.

John said their marriage is successful because they seek to love unselfishly.

“Don’t make it all about you, because it’s not supposed to be about you. It’s supposed to be about the other person,” he said.

Msgr. Raymond E. Riffle, rector of the parish, said ChristLife is “a program that invites people to come to Christ and to bring Christ into their lives.”

The program is offered in three increments with seven sessions in each part. Once a week, members participate in praise and worship, watch a video regarding faith, and engage in group discussion.

“(ChristLife) changes the dynamic of the parish,” Msgr. Riffle said, noting that people in the program tend to develop long-lasting friendships — and relationships — which contribute to a growth in community.

He said this phenomenon is a facet of God’s plan.

The Bartels and Kedzierskis came into the program “as individuals wanting to deepen their relationship with God,” Msgr. Riffle said, but ultimately left with “God’s greatest gift” in the form of a spouse for life as well as a richer faith relationship.

PHOTOS: Savvy Shots Photography

PHOTO: Angie Shaw – a. photography


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