“Noe is the holiest person that I have ever met. And by ‘holy’ I do not mean without his own sins, but what I mean is that he is totally devoted to serving God and living his life with Jesus as Lord of it.”
Today’s #HolyPeople comes from Leticia Adams, blogger at Through Broken Roses. Leticia is a convert who came into the Catholic Church at Easter 2010. She is the mother of four kids and has three stepsons. She is also a grandmother to a beautiful two year old. Leticia sat on her Pastoral Council, blogs at Catholic Stand as well as her personal blog, is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree of Philosophy, a wife, and helps with her parish’s Jesus is Lord adult faith formation class and RCIA. Leticia has a radio show at Real Life Radio and is a volunteer with an organization that helps women in prison come to terms with their past and gives them the tools to cope with life when they are released. In her spare time she sleeps.
I walked into this church building after work not knowing what to expect. I was so tired of how my life had been going up to this point. I knew that something needed to change and the only idea that I could think of was to go to these classes at a Catholic Church instead of heading to my favorite dive bar. I did not have all my Sacraments, so I needed to attend RCIA which stands for Rite of Christian Initiation. I had been baptized in the Catholic Church as a baby but that was it. For most of my life I went to the First Baptist Church in small town Texas.
I walked into this class thinking that I was going to do what I had to to get the boxes I needed checked so my boyfriend, who was in Afghanistan and had moved all his things out of our house, would marry me. I had been drinking a lot and made a lot of horrible decisions while wasted that had convinced him I was too much to handle. This was not the first time that I found myself in this position in a relationship, but it was the first time that I had ever decided to look at my life and make changes. I needed to grow up, that much I did know, but I was not ever looking to become a REAL Catholic, much less a woman in her forties who can say without a doubt that I am in a relationship with the living and breathing God who created the universe. But here I am.
I got here by the grace of God. His Grace led me to St. William Catholic Church in the fall of 2009 where a little Hispanic man with a thick Spanish accent stood in front of a room full of people looking right at me and said “God loves you more than you think he does” during his teaching on God’s love. That moment changed my life.
Noe Rocha is the holiest person that I have ever met. And by “holy” I do not mean without his own sins, but what I mean is that he is totally devoted to serving God and living his life with Jesus as Lord of it. When I first met Noe, I thought he was just another paid Church worker saying what he was supposed to say but then as time went on I could tell th*/at he really did know Jesus. He talks about Jesus like he talks about his wife and kids, like Jesus is a real person in his life.
Once we were making copies of something and the copy machine didn’t work. Noe stopped and prayed for a couple of seconds, took a deep breath and looked at me with a smile and said “well, let’s see if Jesus wants us to finish this or not” and then hit the green PRINT button. It worked and we both laughed. It wasn’t a show though, Noe really put his faith in Jesus either making the printer work or we would move on to something else.
Noe has taught me so many things in the nine years since I met him, but the central thing that he has taught me is to never put faith in myself to do anything. It is always God’s work and the only way that it anything works is by the power of the Holy Spirit. He has taught me to make my relationship with God my first priority even if it gets messy.
He knows messy. The first step in his conversion story was him going to a priest in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas trying to score enough money to get a fix of heroin. The priest talked him into coming to a meeting they were having at the parish that evening and Noe showed up high. That was when he encountered Jesus. In March of 1977, Noe gave his testimony for the first time. I was born in March of 1977. Thirty-three years later, I went to a random mass on Sunday for reasons that I still do not even know, and I heard him give an invitation to begin RCIA the next day. That was the beginning of my conversion.
My children were baptized and received all their sacraments on Easter Vigil 2010 and I was confirmed next to them. My husband and I (the boyfriend that I was trying to get to marry me!) were married October of 2010. Noe read the second reading at my wedding and last year he read the second reading at my oldest son’s funeral as well. My oldest son, Anthony, died by suicide last March. Before he died he made sure his daughters were baptized and this past Easter Vigil, Anthony’s fiancé became Catholic. All of this because Noe encountered Jesus in a real way all those decades ago and said “yes” to God’s plan for his life. That is what holiness looks like.
My greatest hope in life is to do the same thing with my life. Thank you, Jesus, for the life and service of Noe Rocha, the holiest person I have ever met.