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 | Mitchell Palmquist

‘I had to visit the Catholic Church’

Frank Lazcano’s leadership role at an Assembly of God church led him to ask questions all the way to the doors of the local Catholic Church

Frank Lazcano was baptized a Catholic as a child, but he spent much of his adult faith life as a Protestant, though that word would not have been how he described himself.

After moving to Rosalia, Washington, to be closer to his children from his first marriage, and to raise his children with his wife, Karrie, in a small town, he and his family became involved in the local Assembly of God church. After their arrival in Rosalia in 2006, “We found ourselves sitting in an Assembly of God church. In our small town, we came to have friends from all the churches. We experienced community church events with the Methodist and Baptist churches. I eventually became an Assembly of God board member, deacon, and adult Bible study teacher.”

Frank is an avid seeker of the truth. He speaks about his desire to know more. However, when he was asked to lead Bible studies at the Assembly of God church, the seriousness of the role struck him. “It was during this time of teaching that I became more aware in a spiritual sense that I will be held accountable for others at the Last Judgment. The passage of Scripture (Mt 18:16) — “... (W)hoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, ...” — would frequently visit my mind.”

Taking note of the seriousness of his role as a Bible study leader, as well as helping others to come to a better knowledge of Christ, he began to wonder about the leadership guide booklet his church had provided and his own interpretation of Scripture. Lazcano said that, as a Protestant, he had come to believe that, “I must share what the Scriptures mean to me.” At the same time, he said the leadership guide had scriptural interpretation from theologians and wondered that if it was only the theologians’ personal understanding of Scripture, how could he teach with authority if it was just another person’s opinion?

At the same time, Lazcano began listening to Catholic radio. He heard about infant baptism and speaking in tongues, among other topics. He began to wonder about other things in relation to what he was hearing on the radio, and what he was wrestling with as a Bible study leader. “I’ve always have had these two lurking questions,” Lazcano said. “Where are all the different denominations listed in the Bible? And, which is currently applicable — pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation?” (The tribulation is an idea in eschatology, or the study of the end of time and the second coming of Christ, that holds special preeminence in some corners of evangelical Christianity. Differences of when Christ might return in reference to a period of tribulation can be a dividing line between different schools of theology.) Hearing Catholic radio was (and is) a great help.”

While Frank was struggling with these questions, his pastor announced his retirement. “He was very instrumental in helping me see the bigger picture in life because of his fallback answer on some of the more perplexing questions in life,” Frank said. “He said, ‘Just trust Jesus and it will all pan out in the end.’ He didn’t necessarily adhere to the constitution and by-laws of the Assembly of God, but he did love Jesus and lived a life of personal integrity.”

While Frank is appreciative of his former pastor, the thought of the changeover at his church brought to mind more questions. “What would the new pastor bring? How would the dynamic of his interpretation of Scripture affect my marriage and family?”

At the same time, Frank became more curious about the Catholic Church. He wanted to seek after truth, and he was finding the claims of the Catholic Church to be “logically consistent.” For Frank, the Church’s teachings as he learned them through the radio programs were making sense of many of his questions. With his pastor leaving, he was convinced that, “I had to visit the Catholic Church. That’s when we met Father Mike Savelesky, a relatively new pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Rosalia.”

Before Frank and his family first arrived at Holy Rosary, Frank had to share his desire to learn more about the Catholic Church and to visit the local parish with his wife, Karrie.

Frank said she had many questions about theology, as well as concerns about uprooting their kids from their current church. “She had a lot of questions at the beginning,” Frank said. “Even if I thought I had the right answer, I could not convince her. God decided to use Father Mike — unbeknownst to him — to answer Karrie’s questions that she had that might keep her from entering the Catholic Church.” According to Frank, after they started attending Holy Rosary but before they began the process of entering the Church, Karrie would often have questions that seemed providentially answered by that Sunday’s homily.

Frank said that each week his sincere prayer was: “Lord, I can’t convince her; you’re going to have to do it, if she is to come with me. And please help me.” Frank said, “Karrie was good in attending Mass each week and God was good in answering her questions through Father Mike’s homilies.”

Frank and Karrie credit Father Mike with helping them through their questions, leading them in a “custom-fit” RCIA course. In December 2015, the entire family was brought into full communion with the Catholic Church, and subsequently, Frank and Karrie’s marriage was convalidated (blessed) in the Church. Their children now assist as altar servers at Mass.

Frank said that since entering the Church, “We have had an abundance of Scripture, prayer, peace and joy in our family.”