Introducing Our RCIA Elect & Candidates

Posted on March 20, 2023 by Published by

Please welcome our new brothers and sisters into Our Lady of the Wayside’s faith community. After a lengthy discernment and study, Mike Fontanez, Elena Hemmila, and Ed Spence have committed to growing their faith in the Catholic church. Thank you for your prayers and support along their journey.

Welcome Nick Komp

My journey into the Catholic faith began through my fiancé Cristina, a cradle Catholic. Prior to our engagement, the importance of religion was always brought up, but I had never taken actions to learn and understand. As we take our next steps towards marriage and hopefully being blessed with a family, it was important to me to start my faith journey for our future. I came into the RCIA group with an open mind and willingness to learn the Catholic faith. Through pursuing the Catholic Sacraments, I have found my relationship with God and a new purpose in life. I have been welcomed with open arms into the OLW community and will be forever grateful to have met Deacon Paul, Carol and the rest of the RCIA group. Time spent in prayer and theological reflection with these individuals has been instrumental in my journey to God’s love. I feel blessed to continue a lifetime of learning Catholicism and sharing the mystery of faith with those around me.

Welcome Mike Fontanez

I’ve never truly believed in God. I’ve tried. I’ve tried to occasionally pray and feel something but the connection was never there. On Tuesday, August 30th, 2022, I walked around St. Paul’s cathedral for a tour while my fiance and I were in London. A special part of the tour was going up the spiral staircase that takes you to the top of the cathedral. At the top, I walked outside to see a 360 view of London. I didn’t understand at the time but I had a moment with the Holy Spirit. It touched my spirit and filled me with knowledge and joy. From that moment on I didn’t need faith; I knew what was real. For the rest of the trip I felt a longing to know more. When I got back home, I reached out to Carol at Our Lady of Wayside and began my journey in RCIA. RCIA saved my life and my soul. I don’t have the words to describe how I feel. All I try to do is give love to the world around me whether family, friends, co-workers or strangers. My purpose was always, and is, to share my story and spread the good word with my actions.

Welcome Elena Hemmila

I was baptized in a Lutheran church. As a kid, my family regularly attended church and I was given a strong Christian foundation. My husband is a cradle Catholic. When we got married, we decided to attend a non-denominational Christian church. We now have three boys. Through some unique circumstances, our oldest attended OLW School’s 8th grade last year. During that time, he received all of his sacraments and was confirmed with his 8th grade class. As I attended these milestones for my son, I got increasingly interested in the Catholic faith. I decided to pursue RCIA
and we enrolled our younger two sons in REP. They will be receiving the sacraments (Baptism and the Eucharist) and then continuing along with their peers toward Confirmation. I have really enjoyed learning about the Catholic faith and am so happy that I am on this journey with my husband and children!

Welcome Ed Spence

I was born and raised Catholic receiving Baptism, Eucharist and Reconciliation but never Confirmation! My wife Lisa and I both grew up in Lombard and moved to Arlington Heights in 2001. Our daughter Audrey is a junior at Rolling Meadows and Patrick is an 8th grader at South. I’ve enjoyed gaining a deeper knowledge of our faith during RCIA and am excited to continue my journey at Wayside!



Please keep our RCIA Elect and Candidates in your prayers as they continue their journeys to becoming full members of our Catholic Community.

Mike, Elena and Ed, we relished the opportunity to share your journey with you thus far!

~RCIA co-directors Deacon Paul Onischuk and Carol Stuber

*Not included in this post: Nick Comp and Sarah Ventura (Elect)

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed here.