Teachers at heart

Jessica Beyer, a freelance video editor/animator and volunteer director of religious education, and John Beyer, who works in used car dealership management, are parishioners at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Burlington.

John Beyer

Age: 27 

Parish: St. Francis Xavier, Burlington 

Occupation: Used car dealership management 

What’s in your toolkit? Outreach minister during college at the Didde Catholic Campus Center; a Totus Tuus missionary/teacher during college; and a youth minister after college. After getting married, my wife and I began an adult ministry role in our parish; I have also taught high school religious ed and helped with RCIA.

What is your Catholic superpower? Being open to the Holy Spirit. I remember the first time praying with Scripture alone in my room and clearly feeling a deep sense of peace, joy and love for the first time, knowing it was the Holy Spirit. 

Jessica Beyer

Age: 25

Parish: St. Francis Xavier, Burlington 

Occupation: Freelance video editor/animator, volunteer director of religious education 

What’s in your toolkit? Two things I may be able to offer to our delegation is my perspective as a young adult from urban areas (now serving in a rural parish community), and my experience in Catholic ministry for young adults, both at a college campus and within a large city.  

What is your Catholic superpower? St. Thérèse of Lisieux and the Holy Spirit are special sources of inspiration for both John and me. We looked to St. Thérèse as a mentor and friend before we met.

Before the convocation

John and Jessica Beyer aren’t teachers in the traditional sense. Yet their paths, individually and together, have brought them to the classroom of a different sort.

Each was inspired to share God’s word long before they met. For Jessica, God’s healing power came at a Mass one Sunday when she was kneeling after Communion.

“I just started looking around the church and thought, ‘This is so beautiful that we all turn our lives over to God,’” she said.

“Soon after, I went to confession and I let go of a lot of hurt and anger and left feeling light and free and full of joy,” she continued. “That was a major moment for me. 

“I just let [God] enflame my heart. And that’s what I hope for everyone going to the convocation.”

Chosen to represent their parish in the convocation, John knew they had to answer the call after remembering a time when he and Jessica were preparing to be foreign missionaries.

“We’ve had many moments of leading a Christian life and listening to the Holy Spirit,” he said. “When my wife and I were discerning to become foreign missionaries, we felt a sense that we should do everything these missionaries are doing in other countries — only in our own country.”

After the convocation

What was your most inspiring or impactful experience at the convocation?

Jessica: One of the most beautiful moments at this convocation was sitting with a woman who mostly spoke Spanish. Our conversation began with hellos and how are you? But it became deeper as I asked questions and we spoke — half in Spanish, half in halting English — smiling at our own mistakes. Tears welled in her eyes. She told me of the struggles in her family, revealing the great pains in her heart. Several times she stopped, simply looking at me. More tears came. We ached together, and prayed together, about her burdens. I felt such love for her as a sister. . . . As I simply sat with her and listened to her, I felt the beautiful, all-encompassing arms of God holding us in that moment.

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