Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Church Welcomes Candidates

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Church Welcomes Candidates

Article excerpt

Daniel McLeod has always believed in God -- he just didn't attend church on a regular basis.

"I had the basic belief," McLeod said, "but when I turned 25, something just clicked in my brain.

"Everyone gets to God in a different way," he said, smiling.

McLeod, 27, will soon be recognized as one of 13 new Catholics who have gone through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process to become members of the Church of St. Patrick at the Easter Vigil service on Holy Saturday.

McLeod's sponsor is his fiancee, Jenna Kalis, but he is quick to point out that he is not joining the church in order to marry Kalis.

"This is not preparation for a wedding -- this is learning about the Catholic faith," he said. "Catholicism has brought God to my heart and peace to my life."

Doug Parnell was brought to the faith by his wife, Gina.

Parnell's mother, he said, was a very faithful Protestant. After his mother passed away, Parnell said that he has "no doubt that my mom brought me to my wife, Gina -- and then my wife brought me to the Catholic Church."

Parnell researched and studied Catholicism.

"Doug is a very logical person," Gina Parnell said. "He really likes for things to make sense." Doug Parnell suggests that his transformation is the result researching 2,000 years of church history intertwined with the history of the world.

He said that his RCIA class was blessed with theologians to teach "the majesty and history of Catholicism.

"It was an amazing experience -- to learn and understand," Parnell said.

Gina Parnell has a different idea. "He calls it learning and studying, but I call it something else," she said. "I call it 'God opening his heart.'"

The Church of St. Patrick is experiencing remarkable growth. Because parishioners place tremendous value on financial responsibility, they have begun a capital campaign to retire their construction debt in the next three years. …

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