The following story appeared in the April 28 Idaho Catholic Register.
Jackie and Luke Hatch
Editor’s note: As has been our Easter Season tradition, this issue of the Idaho Catholic Register profiles in our series, “He Left the 99 to Rescue Me,” a number of converts who received the Easter sacraments this year.
By Melissa Martinez
for the Idaho Catholic Register
IDAHO FALLS – St. John Paul II Catholic Church in Idaho Falls received Jackie and Luke Hatch into the fold of the Church this year.
The couple received four times the sacramental graces of Easter Vigil by receiving their baptism, then First Holy Communion, Confirmation, and also having their marriage convalidated in the Church after the Vigil Mass.
Jackie, 37, and Luke, 42, both grew up in Idaho Falls in non-religious households and graduated from the same local high school. Luke’s mother was an atheist and his father, an agnostic. Jackie’s only connection to formal religion was being baptized in the LDS faith due to her grandfather’s Mormon beliefs.
Luke recalls, “I was always asking my classmates the big questions like what happens when you die. They were honest with what they believed and, to me, that was intimidating. Their answers didn’t satisfy me.”
While Luke was attending a public university, he took a Medieval Literature course in which the class read predominantly Catholic books such as the “Rule of St. Benedict” and “The Confessions of St. Augustine.” These books launched his interest in Catholicism.
In 2016, after returning to Idaho Falls, Luke attended Sunday morning Mass at Christ the King Church. Shortly thereafter, he began dating Jackie in 2018. They have a daughter, Hallie, who is now 4.
As for Jackie, she, too, yearned for Christianity, despite her LDS baptism. Her parents were not practicing Mormons. Jackie doesn’t recall ever going to church until she
became a mother at age 21 during a previous marriage. Her ex-husband’s
father introduced Jackie to Christianity. She occasionally attended services at a
local non-denominational church.
Later, despite Jackie’s former husband being an atheist, Jackie was determined to find a church on her own. She attended a non-denominational church for about a year, but she said that non-denominational churches did not impact her interiorly because of their informality and ambiguity.
When Luke and Jackie began the journey toward marriage, Luke brought up the idea of finding a church community. Jackie immediately agreed, and they began their pursuit for a home church, leading them first to the Episcopal Church. “The community was very kind, but it was difficult because there were not many children. This was important to us because we also wanted our daughter, Hallie, to join as well,” Jackie said.
Around this time, Luke tried reaching out to a former coworker, Melissa Martinez, on social media, because he knew Martinez was an active Catholic. He didn’t hear back from Martinez, but saw her a month later at a grocery store. Luke was able to get Mass times and contact information for the OCIA coordinator, Deacon Jason Batalden. Martinez encouraged him to persevere in studying the Catholic faith.
The Hatches decided to attend Mass at Holy Rosary Church, also in Idaho Falls. “When we walked into Holy Rosary Church, we were in awe,” Jackie said.
During the months leading up to her baptism, Jackie says there were “countless unexplained things and occurrences trying to prevent our special Easter Vigil from happening. We easily recognized what this was and kept overstepping obstacles, keeping sight of the light we were entering into.”
When the Vigil approached, the catechumens had a day of retreat. “I love how you never stop learning about the faith,” Jackie said.
Luke and Jackie worried about how, Hallie, 3 at the time, would behave during the long Easter Vigil liturgy. “She was an angel, even through our nuptial blessing,” Jackie said. The convalidation was officiated by Deacon Jason Batalden, who has been a significant influence on their journey to becoming Catholic.
Their other children and new friends through the OCIA program also stayed after the Vigil for the Nuptial Blessing of Vows. “We just felt thankful for the people that had come into our life since we first asked our friend Melissa about what it meant to join the church 18 months ago,” Luke said.
Hallie was baptized that night as well and attends Holy Rosary Catholic School.
As the faithful intercede for our new catechumens and candidates, the Church reminds us: “God of everlasting mercy, who in the very recurrence of the Paschal Feast kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed...” (from the Collect for Divine Mercy Sunday).
If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.