EDMONTON – “My husband Darryl and I were both raised Protestants, and we were very devout. Then we realized that we are not saved by faith alone, and that’s a Protestant’s pillar,” said Julie Tymchuk, a catechumen from Vegreville.
She and her husband Darryl Tymchuk are parishioners at St. Martin of Tours in Vegreville. The two of them, along with their eight daughters, went before Archbishop Richard Smith at St. Joseph’s Basilica on the first Sunday of Lent, Feb. 21.
After years as a Protestant, she and her family chose to join the Catholic Church. During the Rite of Election she asked that she be allowed to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
“I was very anti-Catholic before. I used to think that they were just a bunch of Mary worshippers, and I didn’t really understand. A lot of the stuff I believed about the Church was wrong. There were rumours or things blown out of proportion or distorted,” she said.
Studying the truth changed her views about the Catholic Church. She learned that Mary is honoured, not worshipped.
“My husband was baptized United, so his Baptism is considered valid. I am a catechumen and he is a candidate. All of our kids, too, are candidates,” she said.
Darryl Tymchuk’s turning point came when studying the apostles at Bible college.
“I started researching and nine years have passed since then. Every year I would learn more and more about the Catholic Church,” he said.
Despite his interest in the Church, he kept getting “cold feet”, especially considering the fact that he wanted to stay in Protestant ministry. A year ago, he was a pastor at the Hope Mission Community Church.
Learning more about Catholic teaching, he could not avoid the pull of the Church any longer. After much prayer and discernment, the Tymchuk family decided to join the Church. He resigned from his position as a Protestant pastor to further his journey into the Catholic Church.
Today, he is the chaplain at Hope Mission for the Breakout Recovery Community, a supporting place for men seeking to break addictions.
Another candidate at the rite of election was Natasha Gunderson from St. Albert Parish. While Gunderson acknowledged that the Rite of Election is primarily for catechumens, she found the ceremony interesting and said it was nice to see the inside of the mother church, and the process behind the liturgical rite.
“I was baptized in another Christian denomination, but waited until I was ready to confirm and decided to confirm in the Catholic Church after attending with my husband,” said Gunderson.
“I kind of felt lost and wasn’t sure where I belonged. After attending with my husband, it was more like I remembered as a kid, and it kind of drew me back (to the Church).”