Catechesis

God’s Light Guides Them

Ken and Janell experience Christ in the Mass and now take Him to others

Ken and Janell Halama, of Independence, have discovered the secret to happiness: Seek Jesus in the Mass and sacraments, then share Him with as many people as possible wherever and however you can.

Their Faith started small and it has never stopped growing. Janell, a faithful Lutheran, came into the Church when their oldest daughter was about to make her first holy Communion many years ago at the family’s parish of SS. Peter and Paul.

“I didn’t want to be the member of the family who was left out,” Janell says.

Ken’s Faith as a cradle Catholic was always strong, but also began to grow after Janell came into the Church and they experienced all the Faith has to offer. “There’s so much depth, so much beauty, so much wisdom in the Catholic Church,” Ken says.

As Ken and Janell moved deeper into the Faith, they began to share their discoveries with others. “It’s God’s wisdom coming through the teachings of the Church,” says Ken. “We have come to really want to let other people experience the amazing mystery, what goes on behind the veil. If others came to understand what we believe, I can’t help but think they would want to embrace it.”

If others came to understand what we believe, I can’t help but think they would want to embrace it.”

First, they created a library with books and videos to appeal to children and their families “We started a library in our parish in honor of our daughter, Noel, who died when she was 10,” says Ken. It’s been our ministry to continue to make things available for people.”

Ken spends time in prayer throughout his day – whether it is at home in his prayer chair or working. Often his prayer is the simple request, “Come, Holy Spirit.”

Catholic education has always been important to the Halamas, because they believe in educating the whole person. Ken and their three daughters all attended SS. Peter & Paul Catholic School. Janell is now the preschool teacher there. Ken and Janell want the school to thrive in the future, so they offer whatever support they can.

They were active in the Mass and with parish activities and organizations. If Ken saw a need, he would make it happen, if the priest hadn’t already asked.

Almost every time there was a little fear and hesitancy on our part. It was a little scary, but you realize if you pray and take a step you can do it.” – Janell

“Almost every time there was a little fear and hesitancy on our part,” Janell says. “It was a little scary, but you realize if you pray and take a step you can do it. I’m sure a lot of people are nervous to do things. The more you are involved the more you see the fruit. We all have some gifts and talents to give.”

“We live outside our comfort zone,” says Ken. “I feel you have to strive to be in line with the will of God because you are created for a specific purpose. When you are in line with that purpose, you find joy and fulfillment in it.”

Involvement at the parish and diocesan levels increased as their children grew up. It began with their work as extraordinary ministers of holy Communion and lectors for their parish. Every activity or ministry Ken and Janell participate in has one thing in common—bringing knowledge and proof of God’s love and the value of God’s children to as many people as possible.

Studying the Faith is important to Janell, both for her growth as a faithful Catholic and to guide her as she teaches children in SS. Peter and Paul Preschool.

One powerful way to share the joy of Christ is ministering at a nursing home. Ken and Janell experience the joy of bringing the holy Eucharist to the residents and witness the power God’s love has on people who are often forgotten.

“It’s such a blessing for us to go see them and bring Jesus to them,” Janell says.

“Some people have been waiting all week,” says Ken. “It’s such a blessing to experience their desire for the Eucharist.”

Ken and Janell are involved outside their parish through programs around the diocese—Ken works to promote men’s groups and the couple is newly active in the Right to Life mission of the deanery. Their work within their parish has always been to help parishioners of all ages find joy in the Faith, the sacraments and the Mass.

Janell and Ken bring Holy Communion to residents of a nursing home, and are pictured here with Velma. “It’s such a blessing for us to go and see them and bring Jesus to them,” says Janell.

“All the things we are involved in would be seen as work,” Janell says. “It’s with the grace and knowledge that none of this is work. When you are entrenched in trying to serve God, it’s a joy, it’s a blessing.”

Janell and Ken taught confirmation students through religious education and opened up their home to a junior program. Now they offer young people the program “Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed.”

“I wanted to do something that would keep them Catholic,” Ken says. “We are transported to heaven in the Mass. It’s a community thing—it’s a dialogue between us and God. We confess our sinfulness as a community, profess our Faith, listen to His word and reply as part of the dialogue. We share a meal and open ourselves up to our brothers and sisters. We process to the altar together—we are walking down the aisle to meet Christ. The Mass is not a spectator sport, it’s a family event.”

Ken’s handiwork can be found throughout the church. “It’s with the grace and knowledge that none of this is work. When you are entrenched in trying to serve God, it’s a joy – it’s a blessing,” he says.

Ken and Janell pray for more Catholics to feel the power of the Mass. “If I was given the choice to have been in Galilee when Jesus was there or have the Mass, I would pick the Mass,” says Ken. “We have the real presence of Christ in the Mass and I can have more of an intimate encounter with the Creator of the universe in the Mass. If you are not looking at the Mass in the spiritual realm, then why are you there? Have you misplaced your AWE for GOD?”

Their love for the Mass and the sacraments has strengthened their marriage and their love for each other. “The more we frequent the sacraments, we really feel God’s life working within us,” Ken says. “We can’t wait to see each other at night, as we are striving to imitate Christ in His sacrificial love, for the good of the other.”

“Yes, definitely. Our Catholic Faith has blessed us in so many ways,” says Janell.

What excites and empowers Ken and Janell are how many ways there are to personally encounter Christ that are only found in the Catholic Church. Their prayer is for others to make discoveries of the Faith that will strengthen them with the love of Christ and inspire them to pass the passion on to others.

“There is no place on earth where God communes with His people as He does in the Mass,” Ken says. “All of salvation history culminates in this age in the Catholic Church. What the Jews celebrate annually in the Passover, we celebrate daily in the Mass. Come, experience anew what started in the catacombs more than 2,000 years ago and take Jesus at his word, ‘I AM the Bread of Life.’”

Ken and Janell Halama, of Independence, have discovered the secret to happiness: Seek Jesus in the Mass and sacraments, then share Him with as many people as possible wherever and however you can.

Ken’s handiwork can be found throughout the church. “It’s with the grace and knowledge that none of this is work. When you are entrenched in trying to serve God, it’s a joy – it’s a blessing,” he says.

Story by Mary Kay McPartlin
Photography by Michael Lieurance

To Top