With their children getting older, the Aguilars wanted to find a church home for their family. They visited a few Christian churches close to home, but nothing felt right. They were surprised, the couple said, to find that Catholic Church – the Church of their youth – was the place where they realized they were at home.
Michelle and Andres Aguilar decided to reenter the Catholic Church in 2019, finishing Michelle’s confirmation process and validating their marriage in the Church.
The couple now attends St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bloomfield, New Mexico, which is pastored by Fr. Josh Mayer. Michelle, 38, owns the oilfield company Ernie’s Pilot Service, and Andres, 33, works as a parole officer.
Michelle was confirmed by Bishop James Wall of Gallup on Easter 2019. She told CNA that the Easter Mass, where her two children also received their first communion, was one of the most beautiful experiences of her life.
“Last April, we all made our sacraments together. I tell everybody that aside from my marriage and my kids’ births, that was the best day of my life. I felt so much joy and it was at the Easter vigil. We [got] home [at] like one in the morning and I could not sleep. I was just so excited from it,” she said.
Michelle and Andres were both baptized and raised in the Church. Michelle attended Mass and catechetical classes with her aunt, but she fell away during her teenage years once her aunt became too busy to take her to Mass. Andres told CNA that he began distancing himself from the Church when he was in his 20s, after a priest who gave a disappointing homily with a judgmental and unkind attitude at his cousin’s funeral.
“The priest at the time made a comment during her funeral. It just kind of shut me out,” he said. “She was murdered … the comment he made was, had she not been living the lifestyle [she] was living, she wouldn’t have died. It was like I saw him almost condemn her in the Church.”
“I didn’t want to be a part of something group that would condemn people,” he further added.
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