Although raised Lutheran (nobody’s perfect) with obvious ties to the history, beliefs and traditions of the Catholic faith, we really weren’t exposed to Catholic teachings growing up, except for the occasional anecdote or life-lesson from Mrs. Hochstatter up the street — my boyhood friend’s mom. They were parishioners at St. Jude in Eugene. I was a devout attendee of her “cookie baking day” – every Sunday afternoon.

I’m a firm believer in that where and with whom you work impacts your point of view and your actions for the rest of your life. I came to the Catholic Sentinel without knowing much about the faith, but knew that these were good, talented, mission-driven people who were easy to work with. I was — and still am — impressed with the stories of devotion to belief and the obligation to helping the poor, the disadvantaged, the immigrant, and those who have lost hope over rough times. I’ve seen and read about extraordinary acts of kindness and charity, done because it’s part of the Catholic culture and a natural thing to do; no flashing lights, no bragging, no fanfare to call attention to the actions that make life just a little bit better for those needing help.

So as I write, I realize that it’s the people around me who have reaffirmed my Christian faith, and what it means to do more for others, that has me working at the Catholic Sentinel. Whether getting long-troubling questions answered (thanks Sister Krista and Bishop Smith!), banging nails at Camp Howard, or helping the occasional altar society lady with a “Here’s What’s Happening,” it’s added to the richness of my life and that of my family, and I’m grateful.