Those who dispute the power of Catholic sacramentals will be interested in the tale of how the holy card (pictured) was the seedbed for this Lutheran’s conversion to the Catholic Church and work as a Catholic journalist. The feast of St. Joseph is the perfect day to recount the story.

While in high school and staying at a friend’s house, I discovered the holy card sitting on my friend’s dresser. As a Lutheran, I hadn’t come across many holy cards, particularly one with such beautiful artwork and a prayer devoted to a particular saint. I told my friend that I liked the card. In his generosity, he told me I could have it.

I put the card on my nightstand, and through high school and college turned to the prayer in times of particular need. The example of that high school friend, his family, and then later my girlfriend (now wife) and her family, helped me to wrestle with the misunderstandings I had of the Catholic Church — the role of Mary, confession, papal authority and the Eucharist. I eventually joined an RCIA program, but it was Eucharistic adoration that was my final undoing.

During Lent of 1995, I approached the priest at the parish we were attending.

“I realize that I’m supposed to wait until Easter, but to wait feels like I’m somehow denying Christ. I believe everything that the Catholic Church teaches and believes. Is there any way I could come into the Church sooner?” I asked.

“Sure, pick a date,” he told me.

Since I had selected Joseph as my confirmation name, I settled on March 19 — the feast of St. Joseph — was received into the Church and accompanied my wife to the Lord’s table for the first time.

Only two weeks after coming into the Church, my wife and I, who had long battled infertility, were blessed to conceive. Imagine my surprise when I learned that we would share in the pregnancy of the Holy Family, with a projected due date of Christmas. Our first child, Elias Joseph was born on Dec. 27.

While not planned (at least not by us), the hobby farm that we ended up purchasing resides, in of all places, St. Joseph, Minn.

For more on how St. Joseph has helped other Dads, read this article at the Knights of Columbus’ Fathers for Good website.