Good morning. My name is Bob Koch. And my name is Sue Koch.
When we were first approached to share our Resurrection story, my initial reaction was: "Are you kidding me? We'll have to change parishes!" After laughing hysterically, I said, "Really? Fr. Andrew wants us to talk?! Okay seriously, what could we possibly say that would portray our faith journey?"
Unlike many others, we never lost our way but have become strengthened by the many bumps in the road that we have encountered along the way. So for us, there was no defining 'aha' moment but more of an enrichment of the faith we both hold so dear. And yes, this is a true story and we'd like to share it with you!
Bob and I just celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary, but we've known each other for nearly 50 years. It's hard to recall what life was like bb. – Before Bob. At any rate, we were both were raised in homes where being Catholic was woven into the fabric of our lives. For me, having one or more of our parish priests join my family for Sunday dinner was the norm. That might be the reason one of my brothers went off to the seminary at the tender age of 13! Needless to say, he only made it through 1 year. To this day, my mother wishes he had stayed. For us, Catholic education wasn't optional and I am forever grateful to the Servite sisters and priests for guiding my faith formation at St. Juliana and Servite High School, which by the way is where I met this remarkable man standing next to me. And how coincidental is it that I work in a hospital founded by the Felician Sisters, the same religious order that initially steered Bob's journey in faith at St. Ignatius School!
We began seriously dating during our senior year at Servite and I can truly say that it was our faith that brought us together and continues to be a huge part of who we are. When we married and began raising our family we chose to let our faith guide us in the decisions we made. We sent our kids to Catholic schools and trusted in God to keep a roof over our heads while we struggled to pay their tuition. It was our belief in God that encouraged us to teach High School Religious Ed, along with some guidance from Fr.
Dave Brown, OSM who instructed us in what was then referred to as 'Phases 1-4' so we would be certified by the Archdiocese. It also prompted us to share our faith with a group of our friends who got together once a week to read and discuss the Gospel of St. Luke. This same group would meet after Sunday mass for coffee and the famous traveling coffee cake to chat about that Sunday's homily. We continued to live our faith by becoming involved with Focus Hope. We actively sought out opportunities to enrich our faith by attending programs offered at nearby parishes, including talks given by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. And like Sue's parents, we opened our home to the Servite priests, who by the way, like to have as much fun as Fr. Andrew! We met some pretty exceptional Servite sisters along the way as well.
We were very blessed to be part of such a vibrant community as St. Juliana and were very sad when we moved to Our Lady Queen of Peace parish where we continued to raise our family. We tirelessly supported the school and the Sisters of Divine Providence, but soon realized that the church community wasn't nearly as vibrant and forward-thinking as St. Juliana. It was after we sent our youngest daughter off to college in 1995, that we moved to Grosse Pointe Farms. Because we were looking for a new parish, a former co-worker recommended St. Clare. From the first time we attended Mass here, it felt like we had come home and the decision to register as parishioners was a no-brainer.
However, not having children in the school made it a bit difficult to build friendships. But a conversation with Paula Miller, led to an invitation to become members of the Worship Commission, prompting us to make new friends, whom we truly treasure. They've become an extension of our family as they've celebrated with us, shared meals with us supported us through some very difficult times, laughed, cried and prayed with us and reinforced the beliefs that we hold so very dear to our hearts. And the next thing I knew I was recruited to coach the girls' soccer team!
If we had to choose one thing that we've done well, it would be living the life that we have chosen and being faithful to each other and our conviction that all we do and all we have comes from God. We take pride in knowing that we have passed these beliefs
on to our children, who are raising their own children to share that same faith and trust in God. Well, two of them are, the third one will begin that journey sometime in June when her first child is born.
We've passed on the commitment to Catholic education that began with our parents and is evidenced today by the fact that two of our grandchildren are students at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth. In fact Benjamin, who is nearly 10, is already talking about where he'd like to go to high school, U of D Jesuit or Catholic Central! He's pushing for CC, much to our dismay, his mother's, and his Uncle Thomas who is a De La Salle alum. Our newest grandson, Matthew, was baptized last Sunday. Remember, Fr. Andrew made him cry. We like to think this was Matthew's way of saying 'Amen!' And in terms of stressing the importance of prayer, our other grandson, Sammy competes with our granddaughter, Mia, to lead us in the prayer before meals. On occasion, each insists on leading us with their own prayer. These may be little things, but at the end of the day, we can look at each other and know that we wouldn't have it any other way. We've done our job. We've raised them well. We've taught them to be respectful, to be faithful to God and each other, and to love each other for all of their days. All done without too much Catholic guilt! Well, maybe a little!