The following story appeared in the May 12 Idaho Catholic Register.
Don Beck, convert and OCIA instructor at St. George’s in Post Falls. Michael John Beck, who passed away in 1998 at age 15.
By Don Beck
for the Idaho Catholic Register
POST FALLS – My conversion story starts with my marriage to my lovely wife, Kathy, in May of 1982.
We had the great good fortune to have our marriage witnessed by an outstanding priest, Father George Hespadis of the Diocese of Spokane.
Father George required a lengthy period of counseling prior to marriage. As I was not even Christian at that time, a promise to raise our children in the faith was required of me in order for our marriage to take place in a Catholic Church.
If I were the benevolent dictator of the world, I would require six months of counseling for all who are engaged! I agreed to this because I knew, from my own observations, that young people need a firm moral compass in our world today.
In the course of time, we had two boys, Michael John, born in 1983, and James Edward, born in 1985. I was still not attending church at the time.
One day, when Mike was 5 or 6, he stopped behind my easy chair as he, Kathy and James were headed to church. He looked up at his mom and said, “Mom, I don’t want to go to church today.” Kathy asked him why not. His reply was, “Dad doesn’t have to, so why do I?”
Kathy looked down at me and asked, “Yeah, Don, why does he?” Remembering my promise to Father George, I changed my clothes and we went to Mass. After that, we went to Mass as a family unless there was an extremely time-sensitive job on the ranch.
On Aug. 28, 1998, Michael John, then 15, died of heart disease. His death came suddenly with no overt symptoms. Needless to say, we were devastated as a family.
About six months later, I had a vision in my mind’s eye. Mikey was about 20 feet away from me, and he smiled! I knew in that instant that Mike was fine; that he was where he should be. In that same instant I realized I was not where I should be. I had never been baptized. If I wanted to be where I knew Mike to be, I had to do something about it.
The next spring when RCIA started again, I started it as well and entered the Church at Easter Vigil in 2000. I now am a co-leader of our RCIA team at St. George’s Parish in Post Falls.
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