Seeking God in high school hallways

Dearborn Divine Child freshman John Lee and seniors Elias Bedran, Jesse Neumann and Lucas LaPlaunt will fully enter into the Catholic Church this Easter Vigil, each with their own unique faith journeys inspired by their time spent at Catholic education.

Four Divine Child students to join the church this Easter

Dearborn – It was contacts through club hockey that brought Lucas LaPlaunt to Dearborn Divine Child High School. It was the community he saw when he walked through the doors that made him want to become Catholic.

The senior is one of four Divine Child High School students who took Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes and will join the Catholic Church this year at Easter Vigil.

Growing up going to public schools in Garden City, LaPlaunt said there was something different about the people at Divine Child that made him want to explore his relationship with God.

“Since I transferred to Divine Child for my sophomore year, I was interested in being part of such a great community,” LaPlaunt said. “Being at Divine Child showed me that maybe it was time to become Catholic.”

Senior Lucas LaPlaunt chose to attend Divine Child after being told about the school by teammates on his club hockey team. After taking religion classes at the school, LaPlaunt discovered his desire to join the Catholic Church.

LaPlaunt is joining fellow seniors Jesse Neumann and Elias Bedran and freshman John Lee in joining the church, all of whom attribute their time at Divine Child to why they want to join the church this Easter.

“My parents never pushed me into any faith, just relative Christianity,” LaPlaunt said. “But I started studying church history, went through how the church developed, learned the morality of the church. It then just hit me this year, being so close a community that is so thoughtful and caring, that I just wanted to be a part of it.”

LaPlaunt took RCIA classes with Jodi Ann Micallef, RCIA director at Divine Child Parish, where Jesse Neumann is also being confirmed this Easter Vigil after receiving Baptism and Eucharist, but missing out on being confirmed with her Divine Child classmates because she and her family moved to Mexico for her dad’s job in the fifth grade.

“I didn’t get my confirmation because everyone would make it in school, and I got side-tracked with not going to a Catholic school in Mexico,” Neumann said. “Mass was all in Spanish, so we didn’t understand much of it and didn’t go that often. When we came back in the middle of the 10th grade, I felt I always wanted to get my confirmation, because it’s a missing piece of me.”

Neumann was further encouraged by her younger brother Joseph being confirmed in school last year, and Marcus, who’s set to be confirmed this year.

“I just thought I was a step behind everyone else in my school, and I wanted to catch up,” Neumann said. “I felt there was something lacking. It’s just part of my family, everyone in my family has gotten their confirmation.”

Neumann and her fellow confirmation candidates took RCIA classes with Micallef, receiving extra religious instruction in addition to Divine Child’s curriculum.

“I used to not really see the purpose of getting my confirmation, which is why I let it go and wait,” Neumann said. “Now that I’ve been to the classes, I see what it brings you. I learned it’s so enriching, fulfilling your baptism.”

Senior Jesse Neumann is a cradle Catholic who missed her chance to be confirmed with her classmates after her dad took a job in Mexico. Neumann felt it was important for her to be confirmed before heading to Western Michigan University.

For Elias Bedran, this year’s Easter Vigil will be a family affair, with him, his brother Gubran and sister Mariam being baptized along with his parents, Angela and Sami.

After attending public schools in Dearborn, Bedran started going to Divine Child as a freshman, and came back talking about God and the church.

“As a family, we haven’t been to church in a while, and at this school, you can explain your experience with the Church and talk about God,” Bedran said.

After a family discussion, the group decided to enroll in RCIA classes, a prospect Bedran thought would be daunting, adding onto his coursework at Divine Child.

“After my mom told me about the RCIA classes, I was thinking, ‘That’s a lot to do,’” Bedran said. “Almost for a full year, every single Tuesday going to class, and you’re just tired. But then I started enjoying the class, something to look forward to.”

Since the Bedran family started going to RCIA classes and as the family prepares to enter the church this Easter, Elias reports a dramatic change in life at home.

“Everyone is much happier, we’re spending more time together,” Bedran said. “A lot of the time, people in our house used to do their own thing. Now, we do more things together. We go to 10 a.m. Mass together. When I used to have problems, I used to try to solve them by myself. Now I find myself praying and asking God for help.”

For freshman John Lee, his family sent him to Divine Child for the school’s academic prowess after going to a small charter school in Plymouth. Upon arriving at the school, he learned more about God and the church through the school and talking to friends.

“I decided I wanted to be baptized from talking to friends and them saying how great it is to be closer to God, living a Christian life,” Lee said. “I have my younger sister, Madison, in the RCIA class too, we’re joining together. This is the first time we’re joining a church, and we just feel happier, more cheerful.”

John’s parents, Dave and Emily, are also taking RCIA classes, electing to continue with the formation process beyond the Easter vigil.

“I had a good conversation with my parents about wanting to join, their reaction seemed pretty normal,” Lee said. “I could tell from the start that was my second home.”

Lee, like his Divine Child classmates, said that something has just clicked in his life, and his family’s, since taking RCIA classes and approaching the Easter Vigil. Something he said he was searching for and found the hallways of Divine Child High School.

“I’m looking forward to being baptized, to learn how to be more Catholic and living a better life,” Lee said. “I love growing closer to God. God is the answer to everything.”