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  My Witness

Vol. 3, No. 4, November, 1998

My Story of Christ in Me
By Ken Koch

Right after high school I joined the Navy and lived my life thinking only of what I wanted. I was not leading too good a life. Jesus was not the Person I followed. However, He knew what I needed to become His follower.

I met a girl named Imelda. She was far different from the people with whom I had been associating, someone I could look up to. In her way of living there was truly a light that led me on. I see now that Jesus was working through her to bring me out of darkness and into the light of His love. Jesus Christ, number one in her heart, shined through her.

As I became more aware of the place Christ had in her life, I was led to think more about her religion. I had heard a number of negative things about Catholics but the way she was caused me to wonder if they were true. I started going to Mass with her and discovered that what the priest said and what I read in the missal were good.

Since Imelda and I were thinking of marriage, I thought it might be better if I was a Catholic too. But there was so much I did not understand, especially the Mass and the Virgin Mary. Imelda suggested I talk to a priest. After a number of sessions together, I asked to join the Church and even started to ask Mary, the Mother of our beloved Savior, to pray for me.

In March, 1937, I was transferred by my Company to San Francisco. Here I was, 24 years old and Catholic but life was dull and empty without Imelda. I proposed by letter and we were married in San Francisco. One of the first battles we had to win was to overcome the practice of artificial birth control. We conquered and were far stronger for having done it

Over the years, a lot of time was spent in Church related activities: I taught 1 1 th and 12th grade C.C.D., was chairman of the C.C.D. high school board, secretary of the Holy Name Mens' Club, usher and reader at Mass; Imelda was president of the Altar and Rosary Society, secretary of the P.T.A and Girl Scout leader. Together we chaired a Religious Discussion Group and joined the Legion of Mary.

During the intervening years, I was on the road as a salesperson and home only on weekends. This did not stop me from praying the rosary and attending Mass almost every day. All seven of our children were married in the Catholic Church.

In spite of all this, after Imelda and I sold a business we had begun, and were in a semi-retired state, we became lax in our prayer life. But Jesus brought the right person, at the right time into my life, a long lost friend. He invited us to a charismatic prayer group where we were prayed with for the release the Spirit and received the gift of tongues. Our prayer life became revitalized. Later, through a member of another prayer group, the Lord spoke to me: "Ken, you and your wife never pray together," which was true. For 44 years we had prayed alone. Now, we began praying out loud together which brought an intimacy between us never experienced before.

Shortly after our new prayer life together, I was led to consider the Diaconate. As an ordained permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Denver, I have been serving almost one year now at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, in Northglenn, Colorado.

It was not by accident that I met Imelda or my long lost friend. The Lord knew that I needed His light to follow Him. "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (John 8:12). I love my wife and my Lord. All I can say is thanks.

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