Upcoming Events View All
20
Vocation Day: Open Wide Your Heart

Saturday, 04/20/2024 at 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM

20
Ave Maria Workshop

Saturday, 04/20/2024 at 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

20
Bonus Day at St. Mark Book Fair

Saturday, 04/20/2024 at 9:00 AM

28
KC Ladies Auxiliary Council 7198 BUNCO BASH

Sunday, 04/28/2024 at 1:00 PM

28
Organ concert with David Sinden

Sunday, 04/28/2024 at 3:00 PM

4
La Festa

Saturday, 05/04/2024 at 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

5
May procession

Sunday, 05/05/2024 at 1:00 PM

5
International Bereaved Mothers' Gathering

Sunday, 05/05/2024 at 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

8
Made for More Speaker Series

Wednesday, 05/08/2024 at 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Churchgoers held candles during the Easter Vigil on April 8 at
Holy Rosary Parish in Warrenton. Twenty-four people entered
the Church from the parish at the Easter Vigil.
Churchgoers held candles during the Easter Vigil on April 8 at Holy Rosary Parish in Warrenton. Twenty-four people entered the Church from the parish at the Easter Vigil.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand

‘A miracle taking place right in front of us’

Holy Rosary Parish welcomes two dozen people as newest members of the Body of Christ at the Easter Vigil

Bradley Gross used to sit with his grandfather, who was nearing the end of his life and experiencing failing eyesight, reading the daily Scripture readings out loud and praying the Rosary with him.

Father Tom Vordtriede confirmed Bradley Gross at the Easter Vigil Mass at Holy Rosary Parish in Warrenton. Bradley said of his journey to the Church, “I knew I would like to receive Communion at my wedding — that was very important to me.”
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand
Bradley wasn’t Catholic at the time. But now he sees how his grandfather and others prompted him to turn toward the Church at a time in his life that was mired in heartache.

He is among 24 people — including English- and Spanish-speaking individuals — who were received into the Church this year at Holy Rosary Parish in Warrenton. At 24 years old, Bradley received his first Communion and confirmation at the Easter Vigil Mass with his sponsor and fianceé, Anna Chandler, at his side.

Four years ago, Bradley’s sister died in a car accident. Then, his parents divorced. He and his father moved in with Bradley’s grandfather to help care for him and an uncle with special needs. His grandfather, Frank, a longtime member of Holy Rosary Parish, died in 2021.

Bradley was baptized at a Christian church but didn’t regularly attend services with his family. His high school sweetheart, Anna, who was raised in Holy Rosary Parish, was another person who gently guided him toward the Catholic Church.

“After the accident, I struggled to believe in anything for a long time,” Bradley said. “It was through Anna and my grandpa’s perseverance that led me back into believing in God. My grandpa was a big inspiration on my journey to Catholicism. He had a devotion to Mother Mary and prayed the Rosary twice a day.”

As Bradley and Anna’s relationship became serious, he began attending Mass with her family. They began talking about marriage, and, he said, “I knew I would like to receive Communion at my wedding — that was very important to me.”

“We knew we had a long-term future together, so it was important for us to be on the same page,” Anna said. Going through Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) as a sponsor also helped her to go deeper in her faith. “Even as someone who was raised Catholic, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s why we do that.’ The classes have helped me to understand where (Church teachings) come from.”

Elizabeth Watkins lit a candle after her baptism at the Easter Vigil on April 8 at Holy Rosary Parish in Warrenton.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand

The building blocks of community

Father Tom Vordtriede has seen the Holy Spirit in action. Soon after he arrived at Holy Rosary in the fall of 2020, he immersed himself in the life of the parish, celebrating the sacraments, meeting people at social events and getting to know school families.

Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski greeted candidate Kelli Clodfelter and others from Holy Rosary Parish in Warrenton during the Rite of Election ceremony Feb. 26 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand
It is unusual for Holy Rosary Parish, which has about 850 registered households, to receive two dozen people into the Church at once. But Father Vordtriede stressed that the number isn’t what matters the most — it’s learning people’s stories, accompanying them and ultimately guiding them in their desire to live the Catholic faith.

“We’re not tricking anybody — it’s not, ‘Oh, look at this flashy thing,’” Father Vordtriede said. “We’re just giving them the authentic Catholic faith, and people want it. So many times we’re told, don’t talk about this controversial thing. But what we’ve seen is you can awaken a desire within people for the truth. The world is not delivering on it’s promises, and I think people are waking up to that.”

Shortly after he arrived at Holy Rosary, Father Vordtriede started a running list of people he thought might be good candidates for RCIA. It started as a chat with parents about a school matter. Or a couple who approached him about having their marriage recognized by the Church. Those conversations eventually shifted to an invitation to RCIA.

He credited the RCIA team, led by Michele and Mike Moore, for creating a welcoming and family-like environment. Father Vordtriede and permanent Deacons Ray Burle and Mark Schmierbach lead the English-language RCIA sessions. The Sisters of the Consecrates of the Most Holy Savior lead the Spanish RCIA formation. Father Vordtriede also credited the support of Holy Rosary School principal Lori Racine in connecting with families who wish to receive the sacraments.

“They bring this nurturing quality as a group,” Father Vordtriede said. “They are also connected in the community and have identified people who would be good sponsors. I get to go in there to teach and see this incredible family environment,” with an open exchange of honest discussion and questions about the faith.

Michele described what’s happened in the past year as a “miracle taking place right in front of us.” The diversity of the group includes married and engaged couples, English- and Spanish-speaking individuals, families of students at Holy Rosary School and more. “It takes a while for this kind of thing to happen,” she said. “But if you ask me my opinion, it’s all Father Vordtriede. He’s so immersed in their lives, and he invites them and encourages everyone to live a sacramental life.”

Marcos Garcia received the Eucharist from Father Tom Vordtriede during his first Communion at the Easter Vigil. Marcos said, “My son is my motivation to keep going, and I decided I had to receive the sacraments and be the best example for my child that I can be.”
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand

Better father, better faith

Marcos Garcia was baptized as an infant at the Church of Santo Domingo in Oaxaca, Mexico. He attended Church until about the age of 10. He was on the path to being confirmed, but at 14, his family moved to the United States. His father was involved in the army and as a police officer, and he sent the family to the United States for their safety.

As an adult, Marcos fell into alcohol addiction. He turned to the Church for help. After attending a retreat, he asked to join RCIA.

Every Sunday morning for months leading up to the Easter Vigil, Marcos met with a Spanish-speaking group led by the Sisters of the Consecrates of the Most Holy Savior. The religious community from Mexico has been assisting the Hispanic Catholic community at several parishes in Wentzville and surrounding areas.

Marcos said he’s learned much from the sisters and likes how they approach Catholic teachings. He also hopes returning to the faith in which he was baptized will help him grow personally and as a father.

An RCIA group photo taken during a trip to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis for a Rite of Election ceremony was on display March 30 at Holy Rosary Parish in Warrenton.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand
“I am working on myself, coming here,” he said. “I was just kind of lost before. My son is my motivation to keep going, and I decided I had to receive the sacraments and be the best example for my child that I can be.”

One of his catechists, Sister Mary of the Angels, suggested, “You know what you can do? Ask for the Precious Blood of Jesus to cover you and to cover your son, and to cover his mother. The prayer of the Precious Blood of Jesus helps to make us stronger and also takes away the evil spirit.”

Mystagogy

For several weeks after the Easter Vigil, the newly initiated Catholics continued to meet and reflect on their new journey of faith, a period called mystagogy. They were asked, What is the Lord doing in your heart? An invitation was extended to become involved in the ministries at Holy Rosary. Extra time for prayer and the sacrament of reconciliation also were offered.

“I hope they see in themselves what I see in them,” Father Vordtriede said. “I hope for them to become leaders in the Church, to witness to their own stories and to share that with others. I want them to notice where the Lord has been working in their lives and to be able to express that to others.”

As for the next RCIA group, Father Vordtriede already has the names of nine people written down on a piece of paper that he and the team plan to invite.

“It’s about building relationships and not missing out on those opportunities,” he said. “I hope that this impresses upon the whole parish. To have so many good people like this shows them how enlivened our parish and school are.”

Father Tom Vordtriede blessed a group of new Catholics, their sponsors and RCIA catechists after the Easter Vigil on April 8 at Holy Rosary Parish in Warrenton.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand

Recent Articles Module

Other Recent Cover story Articles View All

For the Life of the World

From the Archive Module

A miracle taking place right in front of us 8694

Must Watch Videos

Now Playing

    View More Videos