UPDATE: I was able to stop at ave Maria Radio today and meet Erik. What a handsome gentle giant. We hugged and talked for a while and I was delighted.
“I’m sure you get tons of emails about how you’ve touched peoples lives. I would have liked to tell you this story in person, since I work every Friday at Ave Maria Radio in Ann Arbor now (I worked on a video for the interview you had with Al a couple months ago on your new Footprints video) but I don’t know if I will get the chance to meet you, and I am bursting at the seams to tell you what you’ve done in my life.
“I first learned of you when you came to Saginaw, MI in February a couple years ago for the men’s conference held at St. Thomas Aquinas. I was at the beginning of my faith journey there. My girlfriend and I had just broken up because I was Catholic who didn’t know my faith and she was a Assembly’s of God Protestant. In a service at her church one day, when the pastor finished his sermon, he said something that disturbed me, though at the time I didn’t know why.
“He said, (paraphrase) “Ok, Ladies and Gentlemen, you are free to go. Oh! and if anyone wants communion, it will be sitting here at the corner of the stage. Just come up and take it if you’d like.” Something hit me that day that I knew that was wrong. Even though now I know they don’t believe in our Lord in the Eucharist, and that only a Catholic Priest can consecrate the host, it still effected me greatly. This in turn started the turmoil in Renee and I’s relationship.
“Fast forward to the Men’s Conference, and you were giving your talk on Proclaiming the Gospel. The bit you do when you involve the congregation in the dangers of the lives of the early Christians put fire in me. How you say how our Parish suddenly get surrounded by Roman soldiers. The centurion comes up and says “We’ve noticed you Christians haven’t been burning incense to Ceaser! Now you will form two lines, one here to burn incense and receive a certificate as a Roman citizen in good standing. Or, you will form a line here with Brutus, who has a big ax, and you know what he’s gonna do with that.”
“Then you paused. “Well?!” and then you paused again.
“Mr. Ray, if you had pause for even 1 more second, you would have had a 22 year old kid up in the Sanctuary with you, his head on the slab to die for Jesus.
“Since then I have consumed and have been consumed with learning all I can about Jesus and His Church. I know I can always make more time for Gods word, and I know I can follow His Word better every day. Though its only been about 2 years into my faith journey and I can’t imagine a more wonderful time in my life so far. Now, Renee and I are engaged, (August 6th 2016 is the wedding) and she has started RCIA and I as her sponsor. Thank you Mr. Ray, and if you are ever at the radio station on a Friday, please look for me. I will most likely be right outside from Mike Jone’s office working on the middle laptop next to Dan. I would like to give you a hug.”