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Archives ‘I feel like my soul is on fire’

May 25, 2022

By Suzanne Pietropaoli
Staff Writer

FORT COVINGTON – “You have been enlightened by Christ. Walk always as a child of the light and keep the flame of faith alive in your heart.”

These words from the Rite of Baptism have come to life for Chelsea Lavoie, who was baptized, communicated, and confirmed at the Easter Vigil at St. Mary’s Church in Fort Covington. Her joy is contagious as she confides: “Everything is different now.”

That difference becomes clear as Lavoie explains her journey to the Catholic faith.

“I had always been searching, looking and wondering why I and so many other people were so unhappy,” she said. “My parents believed in God, but there was never any practice of religion. Even when I was younger, I noticed that religion plays a big part in people’s happiness. Sometimes I went to church with a Methodist friend but did not find what I was looking for.”

That began to change when, as a young adult, Lavoie met the man who would become her husband.

“At one point I asked Scott how he would handle a certain situation,” she said. “He told me that he never felt alone because he could always talk to God. But I always felt alone. Now I knew that I wanted to have this faith, to never be alone.”

Even though Scott was not a regular churchgoer, his parents were excited to learn that Lavoie was so interested in the Catholic faith.

“When I told Scott’s parents that I wanted to have this faith, and to raise my children this way, they invited me to attend Mass with them. This was real worship at last, real thanksgiving, ” Lavoie recalls.

However, more years passed between that discovery and Lavoie’s entrance into the Church. Eventually the couple became parents to Henry (6), Graham (5) and Abigail (8 months).

“When I was pregnant with Henry,” Lavoie relates, “ I knew we had to go to church. I asked Scott questions about it all, but he didn’t know the answers. I appreciated the Mass, but I did not understand it. I usually took the boys to church by myself. It was challenging, so attendance became irregular.”

Before too long, Lavoie was drawn back to church by a particularly challenging event.

“We were set to take over the family farm,” she remembers. “When it fell through, I was miserable and unhappy. I expected Scott to fill that gap, which was not possible. I was determined to go to Mass. I wanted to take classes. I wanted to be able to answer Henry’s questions about God and about what was happening at Mass. We were attending Mass at St. Francis in Constable. But I wanted Henry to start religious ed classes and realized that it might be easier for him in Fort Covington, where he goes to school. That way he would be in classes with kids he already knew.”

With Henry in classes at St. Mary’s, Lavoie and her other children began attending Mass there as well.

“Jocelyn Kelly and Kathleen Lauzon—who would become my sponsor – made me feel at home right off,” LaVoie said. “I was taking all three kids by myself, and they were so kind and helpful. One day I talked to Deacon Brian Dwyer about having Abigail baptized and mentioned that I wanted to become a Catholic. Once I started RCIA, the cloud of sadness disappeared, and I just feel different. I am happy!”

Lavoie said she feels her years of searching are over.

“I have always been searching for happiness and connection,” she said. “Now I know it is not about me, but about loving and serving God. In a recent conversation with Scott, we talked about what we are here for. I told him that I now know that we are made in God’s image and are here to do his will. And happiness comes out of that! It is one big circle.”

And there are other joys.

“My path toward the Catholic Church started with Scott,” explains Lavoie, “and my journey has been his too. Recently I was in my room praying the rosary. Scott came in with the baby and joined me in prayer. Once Scott joined, the boys (who idolize their dad) wanted to come in, so they also prayed with us. It is never enough for mom to pray; kids need to see that dad prays too! Seeing Scott pray is so good for Henry and Graham’s faith.”

Lavoie recalls that ahead of receiving baptism, Eucharist, and confirmation at the Easter Vigil, she was “very anxious and nervous.”

“Now all my worries have gone into God’s hands,” she said. “I think about the Eucharist from the minute I wake up in the morning and try to receive as often as I can during the week as well as on Sundays. I just feel like my soul is on fire!”

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