Heidi Gold, right, and her sister, Kathryn (Katy) Rinderle will join the Catholic Church during Easter Vigil services, April 3, at St. Francis Borgia Parish, Cedarburg, and St. Josaphat Basilica, Milwaukee, respectively. The sisters were raised as Evangelical Lutherans and traveled separated faith journeys to the Catholic faith. (Catholic Herald photo by Juan C. Medina)

Kathryn (Katy) Rinderle and Heidi Gold have much in common. They share the same parents, work in finance at FIS Global and are good friends. Raised as Evangelical Lutherans, they shared a similar spiritual background – but alike as they are, neither was aware that their faith journeys would turn in the same direction.

This promises to be an Easter that Rinderle, 30, and Gold, 31 won’t soon forget. Both will join the Roman Catholic Church through an ancient rite almost as old as Christianity itself after participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

For Gold, stepping into her new home at St. Francis Borgia in Cedarburg is the beginning of a long period of soul searching, studying and self-examination.

“I was raised in the more liberal Lutheran faith and I had some preconceived notions about the Catholic faith that proved to be false once I began attending services with my husband, Brian, and his family,” she said. “Attending services, I realized that some of my misconceptions were incorrect, and upon learning more about the faith, I grew to admire the church’s focus on family and service.”

Struggling with infertility issues throughout their six-and-a-half-year marriage, Gold is optimistic about children, either biological or adopted, and wants her future family to share the same beliefs.

With the help of Brian, her chosen sponsor, and Emily Plumridge, her parish sponsor, Gold has grown in her relationship with God and with her husband.

“My relationship with Brian has developed in new ways as we discuss and explore our faith in greater depth than we ever have before in our 10 years of friendship,” she said. “I have also been so honored to get to know Emily who has made me feel a part of the congregation and who has shown so much compassion through some very difficult times in my life.”

While Gold expected to learn more about Catholic doctrine through RCIA, she never expected to feel so welcomed and loved at St. Francis Borgia, especially so soon after moving to Jackson and joining the parish.

“The RCIA team members have gone out of their way to make the elect and the candidates feel as though we are a part of the parish already,” she said. “I feel I’ve learned more about the faith through the interactions with the RCIA team – their support, their openness in sharing experiences and exploring the Bible passages together. The RCIA process has added a spiritual focus in my life and as a result I concentrate on how to become a better Christian and show my appreciation to God for all of the blessings in my life.”

Eager to share her journey with her sister, Gold called Rinderle one Wednesday and asked her if she would like to get together that evening.

“She responded that she couldn’t because she had RCIA that night,” said Gold. “I was taken by surprise and had no idea that she was considering becoming Catholic. She informed me that she was attending the RCIA weekly classes at St. Josephat Basilica in Milwaukee.”

For Bay View resident Rinderle, a single parent of a 5-year-old daughter, Marena Green, the quest for inner peace drew her to explore the Catholic faith. The tugging within her soul occurred after attending Easter Mass last year at the request of a Catholic family member.

“I felt a calm that I hadn’t felt in a long time, and the sermon was very moving,” she said. “I started attending Mass on a regular basis and decided to inquire about the RCIA program.”

With the guidance of Annie Haydon, her sponsor and family friend, Rinderle began learning about Catholicism and the Bible.

“The strength of her devotion is very inspiring and she attends Mass almost every day,” Rinderle said. “She has been a great resource to me over the RCIA process.”

Although raised in a Christian home, Rinderle admitted that along the way her journey stagnated and she lost much of the faith she once held so dear. Attending RCIA and Mass has brought spiritual renewal and great joy.

“It has been a spiritually cleansing process as well as a reaffirmation of my once-lost Christian faith,” she said. “Upon entering full communion, I hope to live my life according to Christ and raise my daughter to fully appreciate Christian values.”

Two distinct and unique journeys, but both seeking to grow in their relationships with Christ, Gold and Rinderle are an encouragement to each other, especially when faced with family members who cannot understand this new path.

“At a family dinner, my dad invited everyone to Arkansas over Easter,” said Gold. “Katy and I both told the family that we couldn’t travel over Easter because we would be joining the Catholic faith during the Easter Vigil. My dad was very vocal about his disappointment that we were becoming Catholic. He and others in my family have misunderstandings about the Catholic faith. Over time, I hope that we can help educate them about the similarities and emphasize the values that made us choose to become Catholic.”