Pekin woman shares her ‘wonderful journey’ into church

Photo Caption: Bishop Jenky greets Jamie Wire and her daughter Ruby Sayers after the Rite of Election at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

By: By Jennifer Willems

PEKIN — When Jamie Wire was first approached about exploring the Catholic faith through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) at St. Joseph’s Church, she demurred.

“I said, ‘Not right now. Maybe next year,'” she recalled, but kept going to Mass. All the while, she felt something nagging at her.

“It was this voice saying, ‘What are you waiting for?'” she told The Catholic Post.

Wire asked her Catholic friends and future godparents, Edward and Judy Prechel, if it was too late to start RCIA. When Judy called the parish office she found out that her young friend had met the deadline with just one day to spare.

“I had missed the first two classes,” Wire told The Catholic Post. “The next night Msgr. (Timothy) Nolan was going to be talking about Jesus and that was the cutoff. I got in just in time.”

Wire was received into the Catholic Church through the waters of baptism at the Easter Vigil last Saturday. She also was confirmed and received the Eucharist for the first time.

This weekend she looks forward to being part of the community that will welcome her 4-year-old daughter Ruby and 16-month-old son Owen as they are baptized.

“It’s been a wonderful journey,” Wire said. “I thank God every day that this is the path he chose for me.”

Wire said that while she went to Baptist services with her father and grandmother on occasion, she wasn’t really raised in any faith tradition.

She had tried joining other churches, but encountered tight-knit communities and said, “I felt very alone, even in a church full of people.”

Always interested in Catholicism, she accepted the invitation of a former classmate to come to church with him and his family at St. Joseph’s. She wasn’t sure what to do at first, but it didn’t take her long to get comfortable.

“I fell in love,” Wire says. “I love the support of my church family. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have them.”

She also found a comforting presence in the Blessed Mother and fell in love with the rosary, she said.

“I knew I was on the path to something better,” Wire said. “It definitely gave me something positive in my life. It gave me somebody to turn to for strength.”

That “somebody” has been Jesus, the saints and Mary — depending on what’s happening on any given day.

“Some days are not so easy,” she said. “I am a single mom. My family helps out a lot but at the end of the day I’m still a single mom.”

When her son had an extended bout with pneumonia, for example, Wire turned to Mary every night. “As a mother I would ask for her prayers to help him get better,” she said.

Now she’s teaching her daughter how to say the rosary. They pray one decade before Ruby goes to bed and then Wire reads the Scriptural references for the other decades, stringing them together to make a story her daughter can understand and remember.

They are also working on other prayers Ruby needs to know and the family says grace before meals.

Wire had only words of praise for the RCIA team at St. Joseph’s Church, which is led by Deacon Marty Pogioli.

“They are a wonderful group of people who very much are excited for others to learn about their faith, too,” she said, adding that their help and the assistance of the clergy was invaluable at the Easter Vigil.

“We were so nervous,” Wire acknowledged. “They did an amazing job of making it look like it was flawless and seamless.”

What happened after Mass also holds a special place in her heart.

“I have never felt more welcome and have never had such an outpouring of well wishes and offers of prayers and cards and gifts from my fellow parishioners,” Wire told The Post. “I must have received 30 cards. . . . I got another rosary from the school kids and they made cards. It really touched my heart.”

While she has let go of the nagging voice in her head, she’s grateful for it.

“I’m glad I had the heart and the eyes and the ears to hear it,” she said.

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