SPECIAL TO THE CATHOLIC HERALD
Steve Fluur was born and raised Lutheran but like many of all faiths, he fell away from church.
He maintained his belief in God but thought that occasional prayer and attending church a few times a year would be enough. God gradually became an afterthought as Fluur lived his life, getting married and having a family, and later divorced. Five years ago, something seemed to shift in him and he started to feel a strong call from God to do something more with his life.
He began to volunteer at his Lutheran church, getting active in their high school ministry and close with its pastor, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more. He couldn’t imagine what it might be.
In his search for God’s will in his life, he started reading books about a Church that had always rubbed him the wrong way. He said he doesn’t know why he began picking up books on Catholicism. When he’d gotten married many years before, he’d refused to do so in a Catholic church.
“I wasn’t anti-Catholic,” he said. “There was just something that I wasn’t thrilled about; I didn’t want to do it at all.”
Almost four years ago, grace, not any earthly reason he can imagine, made him start attending different parishes. He’d been to Catholic Masses for weddings, but this, he said, was different. There wasn’t an “aha” moment or a burst of light, just the steady growing peace that meant he was home.
An avid bike rider, he regularly rode down National Avenue and looked at the cross on top of Holy Apostles Parish for weeks. He’d stare at it, then keep going, only sometimes acknowledging what might be stirring to life within him. One day on what he calls a whim, he called the parish and asked to speak to the priest.
He talked with Fr. Don Thimm several times over the next few months and eventually Fr. Thimm brought up RCIA.
Fluur wasn’t sure. He couldn’t imagine that Catholicsm was where God was calling him. He kept praying and listening, and in the fall of 2016, entered into the RCIA program at Holy Apostles Parish and was welcomed into the Church in January 2017.
“My life changed, my faith exploded, this call from God wouldn’t stop, and hasn’t stopped.” He said that he knew God wanted him to do something; that he wasn’t supposed to just sit on the sidelines of his new faith.
Grace continued to work through his life, which led him to meet Susan McNeill, who mentioned Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s Cor Unum program where students earn a master’s in systematic theology. When he read that Cor Unum challenges cohorts to identify and heal fractures in the world, he knew it was exactly where he needed to be.
As part of his “Call Project” to help heal the broken world, the 12 cohorts in the program are asked to find a project out in the world where they can use their faith and knowledge to help heal. Fluur had a deep desire to give back to Holy Apostles, the parish that has given him so much throughout his conversion and the first few years of his life as a Catholic.
He remembered Fr. Thimm mentioned that caring for the elderly is something he wanted to focus more on, and that one of his missions is to serve the least, the last, the lost and the lonely. Last fall, they began to group together and expand upon existing ministries in the parish so they could serve the elderly population with a greater focus. Before the COVID-19 virus slammed into us, this new venture was off the ground, and parishioners who haven’t been able to make it to church began to receive visits and calls that drew them into the heart of the parish even if they couldn’t physically be there.
“It’s truly been a group effort,” Fluur said. The list of parishioners who have volunteered to reach out to the 300 elderly members of the parish have grown since the recent outbreak. Not only do they call to chat but to make sure they have everything they need.
They work closely with Joy Delivered Errands, who provide grocery and pharmacy delivery, and help the elderly parishioners reach out to St. Vincent de Paul for any financial needs.
“We want to make sure that everyone within our parish has everything they need, now especially, but always,” Fluur said. “It’s our duty as Christians to form disciples and care for each other.”