After leaving the ministry, Dow worked for a time with his father on the family farm near Orchard, Nebraska, and joined NorthStar Services in O’Neill, an agency providing support services to people with developmental disabilities.
But his wife, Amanda, herself a former Catholic, found the transition difficult.
The couple, who met and married during Bible college, had gone straight into ministry after graduation, Dow said.
“So that was kind of all we’d known,” he said. “It was very hard on her, very hard on our marriage. She continued to believe and continued to go to church some, but with me not going and supporting it, it was hard on her.”
All the while, something kept gnawing at Dow’s heart. “I was just feeling like, there’s got to be more to life than this,” he said.
One day, while watching the movie “The Shack,” a Christian film with themes of redemption and being open to God’s invitation, Dow reached a turning point.
“I remember just breaking down and weeping, realizing there’s a lot more to life,” he said. “It started waking me up to faith again.”
With that, he started praying and reading, “devouring Catholic literature,” Dow said. He began using the Catholic prayer and meditation app “Hallow,” which encouraged him to pray the Rosary.
Dow also began viewing St. Patrick Parish Masses online, and heard about upcoming RCIA classes.
Then, last September he took the plunge.
(Story continues below)
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“By the time I signed up for RCIA, I was fully convinced,” he said. “It was a good confirmation of what I was already coming to believe.”
Deacon M.J. Kersenbrock, who led RCIA classes at St. Patrick, noted Dow’s knowledge of and his openness to Catholic understanding of Scripture, and his receptivity to the Church’s teachings.
“There was a certain resolve in his heart. He knew where he wanted to go, … and when there were questions about Catholic dogma, his heart was open to receiving the truth of the Catholic Church.”
One thing Dow found confirming was the Church’s faithfulness to Scripture.
“I always thought that Protestants were the ones that took the Bible more seriously or more literally, and I was shocked at realizing that’s not really true,” Dow said.
“When it comes to things like the real presence in the Eucharist, when Jesus says ‘this is my body and this is my blood’ … Catholics are the ones that are taking this more literally and more straightforward, and not trying to explain it all away.”