Riley Simpson

Growing up, my family was religious but, we never went to Church. We weren’t even those buffet Catholics (you know, the people that only come on Easter and Christmas). We prayed and I was taught about God but, I never really understood religion. Around 4th grade, I told my parents I would like to start going to Church. My parents immediately enrolled me in CCD, at St. Patrick’s of Merna, where we started attending Mass, every Saturday evening.

The time came when I was going into Jr. High. After much though and consideration, my parents came to make the decision, that the public jr. high I would be attending, just wasn’t going to be a good fit for me. Their concern was how a military brat would fit in where cliques had already been formed. Since we had a new found commitment to religion, it was decided I should enrolled in Holy Trinity jr. high. During the first day, I was immediately welcomed by all my new peers, whom would soon become my life long friends. Religion was obviously emphasized in junior high but, it felt it was more like a chore. Of course, I was at the age where I knew everything and no one understood my opinions. It wasn’t until high school that my love for the faith took off. I truly feel I am the Catholic I am today because of Miss. Booth, who is the Spanish teacher at Central. She always encouraged me to talk about the faith, to ask questions, and most importantly; to pray.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I was looking for my own place to call my home, or what I like to call my “home” church. I was still going to Mass every weekend with my parents but, it simply wasn’t clicking for me like it used to. You see, God has areally funny way of answering our prayers because, at this very time when I was struggling, my prayers were always answered. I was given the opportunity to do my senior internship at Epiphany Catholic Grade School. Everyday after lunch, instead of taking a study hall or another elective, I would drive over and spend my afternoon in the second grade classroom, with Mrs. Lohr. My purpose was focused on helping with the kids as well as intermediate housekeeping items. On Wednesday’s, Epiphany students attend an all schools Mass, in the afternoon. Seeing the student’s enthusiasm for their faith, their teachers, and all the faculty members, is what really drew me in. However, what sealed the deal for me, was Father Eric. The way he carried himself and they way he connected with the students, had me in awe. I started going to Mass on Sunday’s, at Epiphany, and it’s like Father Eric knew exactly what I needed to hear. Week after week he answered all of my questions, all of my doubts, and all of my fears. Its amazing how there can be a church full of people yet, he was always speaking directly to me.  This was the calling of Faith that I needed.  He was giving me the answers, I had been longing to hear. 

As a young adult I often get the question, “What’s next or what are you doing after you graduate?” I always have one answer; I don’t know what my future holds but I do know that for now, I have found my home.

When I was away for college my first year, I longed for the Homily I was missing at Epiphany.  I knew that my home was always going to be, right here.  I am currently attending ISU with a major in Elementary Education with an endorsement of English as a second language.  It is my hope that my earlier role at Epiphany will become my life focus.  I not only encourage my peers or families that I meet to try Epiphany Catholic Church but, to also take a moment and see how their educational program works.  Epiphany is a Blue Ribbon School and the Parish Family is one of a kind.