Eric Hinkle signs the book with his sponsor and wife Kayla Hinkle, from St. Joseph, Jim Thorpe. (Photo by John Simitz)
Eric Hinkle, one of 87 catechumens preparing for full initiation into the Catholic Church this Easter, attributes part of his faith journey to the witness of his wife and her family.
“I truly believe the Catholic faith gives me the tools to most effectively live my life and support others where I can,”
“Throughout college when my wife and I would visit Jim Thorpe, we would go to St. Joe’s Mass,” he recalled. “After time it really resonated that this was the right decision for me. When our son was born, that solidified my decision to raise him in the Catholic faith.”
Hinkle, 31, shared that religion played a role in his life even prior to his decision to enter the Catholic Church. Throughout his life, Hinkle’s mother exposed him to several different Christian traditions, including Pentecostal, Baptist and Catholic.
“I have been Christian my entire life and my mother was born Catholic,” he said. “She is still a devout Christian to this day.”
When he began attending Mass with his future in-laws during his college years, he became inspired by the way their faith kept the family “very grounded and happy in everyday life.”
Aside from his wife and her family, Hinkle credits Deacon Jack Mroz for playing a vital role in his conversion.
“He has been such an influential spiritual guide and leader throughout this process,” said Hinkle. “We were friends prior to me embarking on my Catholic faith.”
Some things that have moved Hinkle as he began learning more about the faith included the sacraments and the depth of God’s grace. “Fundamental teachings of the Catholic faith have infiltrated so much of our human history throughout time,” he said.
As a Catholic, Hinkle looks forward to receiving Communion and nourishing his relationship with God to be a better man for his family and community.
“I truly believe the Catholic faith gives me the tools to most effectively live my life and support others where I can,” he said.
In light of the clergy abuse crisis, Hinkle’s commitment to the faith stood strong.
“After much consideration and leaning on God, I was able to realize that this is the best time to become Catholic,” he said. “Catholics around the world are doing great things every day, and it is time to be an advocate of positivity.”
Hinkle shared that he has received a positive response from friends and relatives regarding his decision to enter the Church. “I am blessed to have such supportive family around me.”