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She made the choice

by Danika Lang

It was her decision.

Her mother had been baptized Catholic but was no longer practicing. Her father had not been around as she was growing up. Kierstene Frye was never baptized. Her mother wanted her to make an informed decision about her faith when she was old enough.

An experience she had in eighth grade began to pave the way. When she visited V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School as a prospective student, “shadowing” an upperclassman as they went about their school day, something gave her the feeling she was meant to be there.

She made the choice “When I was there it felt like, ‘Kierstene you need to be there, Kierstene you have to go!’ So I chose Skutt after the day I shadowed,” she said.

A member of the Youth Leadership Team for ArchOmaha Unite, Frye shared her conversion story for the theme video at the Teen Unite youth track event.

Soon after enrolling at Skutt in the fall of 2015, she found the faith community she didn’t realize she’d been longing for.

“Freshmen year I went on the March for Life with a bunch of friends and we went to the ‘Life is Very Good’ rally, she said. “It was at this arena with thousands of people.”

At the rally, Frye had an encounter different from anything she’d ever experienced before. “I felt like somebody was just watching over me, like somebody was hugging me, and I just started crying,” she said.

“I talked to my youth minister about it. She said that that was God. And that was something I’ve never experienced before, so I kept praying about it and I started joining prayer groups at school,” she said. Frye also attended Mass whenever possible.

“Then my senior year, I was in three prayer groups and I really enjoyed going to Mass, so I felt that it was time that I fully received the sacraments,” Frye said. As a catechumen, she would receive the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist and confirmation at the Easter vigil to enter into full communion with the church.

During the March for Life her junior year of high school, Frye had first asked Skutt’s campus minister, Christine French, about joining a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program. French connected her with the youth minister at St. Wenceslaus Parish, who happened to be at the march with Skutt students at the time. Soon after, Frye officially enrolled for RCIA with French as her sponsor.

French has tried to help Frye feel more a part of a faith community at Skutt. “A lot of the kids knew each other from grade school or they’d done things at their parish together and she didn’t really know people,” said French.

Her efforts bore fruit, as some 30 Skutt students witnessed Kierstene’s baptism at the Easter Vigil April 20 at St. Wenceslaus. “It was pretty impressive: All of these teenagers who could do a million other things were all there. I thought that was a really beautiful moment,” French said.

As a new Catholic, Frye is already helping others encounter Jesus. Throughout her faith journey, she has been inviting her younger brother to join her at Mass and annual trips to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life.

“I just felt that it was important to open it up for discussion with him,” Frye said. “A few weeks ago he told me he was going to sign up for RCIA and he asked me to be his sponsor,” she said.

Kierstene with fellow Youth Leadership Team members