May 29, 2009

A moment that changes two lives: College couple faces difficult choices about their faith and their future

Before their senior year in college at the University of Indianapolis, Scott Knust and Lindsey Loffer were confronted by several life-altering questions, including whether their relationship would someday lead to marriage or whether Scott would follow his interest in the priesthood. (Submitted photo)

Before their senior year in college at the University of Indianapolis, Scott Knust and Lindsey Loffer were confronted by several life-altering questions, including whether their relationship would someday lead to marriage or whether Scott would follow his interest in the priesthood. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

During the summer before their senior year in college, Lindsey Loffer and Scott Knust faced the questions that challenge many couples who have dated for a few years:

What will our lives be like a year from now?

Where is our relationship headed?

Do I want it to lead to marriage?

At the same time, they each wrestled with a personal choice about where God was leading them in their lives.

At 21, Lindsey struggled with a decision about whether she should continue to live her life of faith as a Baptist, or whether she should follow a growing pull within her to become a member of the Catholic Church.

For Scott, also 21 in the summer of 2008, the choice was even more dramatic: Should he continue to date Lindsey or should he follow his interest in the priesthood—a path that Scott had been considering before he met her?

There were no easy answers for either Scott or Lindsey. Only one point seemed clear to both of them: The choices they would make would change their lives forever.

‘We might be more than friends’

Long before they end up in love or heartbreak, all couples experience that moment of first connection that attracts them to the other person. For Lindsey and Scott, that moment came during their freshman year at the University of Indianapolis. Through mutual friends, they became part of a group one night that watched the horror movie classic Halloween.

“I remember that she laughed a lot that night, and she smiled a lot, and that attracted me,” Scott recalls. “And she screamed a lot during the movie, too.

“From there, we hung out as friends, and then we reached the point where we were thinking we might be more than friends. We talked together late one night about where we felt God was leading us. At that point, we didn’t know. We just felt there was something there. It was a time of discernment about whether we should be more than friends.”

Two hurdles complicated their relationship.

“One was that he had been discerning the priesthood for a while,” Lindsey says. “Another one was because I was not a Catholic. If he was going to get married some day, he wanted to be married to a Catholic. So there were some things we needed to cross there.”

Three weeks later, they still couldn’t deny the attraction. They decided to become a couple. But the two challenges stayed a part of their relationship until they each knew they had to confront them in the summer of 2008.

‘I had tears in my eyes’

Lindsey had grown up as a Baptist, but her interest in the Catholic faith grew the more she was with Scott, who was the president of the Catholic Student Association at the University of Indianapolis.

“He’s such a huge advocate for the faith, and he’s so knowledgeable,” she says. “From the beginning, I was open-minded, but I wasn’t going to change my faith for a guy. We had a lot of good talks. I went to Mass with him every Sunday, and then we went to whatever service I went to. After a while, I became hungrier and hungrier to become part of the Catholic faith, but I was afraid of what my family would say.”

Her choice became clear when she was part of a group of mostly non-Catholic friends that started debating the Catholic faith one time last summer—a group that didn’t include Scott.

“A lot of times, we’ll get into theological discussions with friends,” Lindsey recalls. “We started talking about the Catholic faith, and I found myself really standing up for the faith for everything. I had tears in my eyes. I was so hungry for the Eucharist, and to be a part of everything. I decided I would go for it.”

She became a member of the Church during the Easter Vigil on April 11 at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis.

“Going to Communion the first time, it was like, ‘I’m home. I’m finally here,’ ” Lindsey says. “Afterwards, I was crying. It was really exciting.”

Scott’s decision took more time. He spent part of the summer at the University of Notre Dame.

“I was still discerning whether to be in the priesthood,” he recalls. “I had a lot to think about. I still didn’t decide until we came back to school. I did a lot of praying in the adoration chapel at Our Lady of the Greenwood [Church in Greenwood].”

His answer came as he was praying, an answer that gave him great peace and joy. He just worried about whether Lindsey would feel the same way when he told her.

A moment that changes two lives

Scott shared his decision with Lindsey on Sept. 25, 2008.

It came at the end of a long day when Lindsey’s dog died.

It came at the end of a long day when Scott planned a late-night picnic for the two of them, a day when he bought her a container of her favorite ice cream, a day when he kept looking at the engagement ring he had chosen to offer Lindsey.

After giving a faith-related talk that night at the university, Scott asked Lindsey if she would come with him to pray at the adoration chapel at Our Lady of the Greenwood Church.

“It was 11:30 at night and my dog had died that day. I was tired and I was ready to be done with the day,” Lindsey recalls. “Scott said, ‘Why don’t we go to OLG and pray?’ I said, ‘Honey, I’m really tired. I want to go to bed.’ ”

Scott told her he had made a picnic for her. So they went to the chapel, they prayed, and then he set up the picnic in a grassy area near the chapel.

“I thought he packed me a nice little picnic to pick me up,” Lindsey says. “He had my favorite ice cream—mint chocolate chip. We were sitting there eating it and he told me to close my eyes because he had made something else for me. Finally, he had me open my eyes and he was down on one knee. He wrote a really sweet poem for me. He said, ‘Will you be my best friend forever? Will you be my wife?’ Then he pulled out a ring.”

Stunned, Lindsey said, “Wait a minute, are you proposing?”

Scott told her yes. And she told him yes.

‘It’s a match made in heaven’

The couple will be married on July 18 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Indianapolis. The wedding Mass will be celebrated by Father Rick Nagel, associate pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish.

Father Nagel laughed when he heard about the way Scott proposed to Lindsey.

“When I first heard about it, I was surprised she didn’t hit him,” Father Nagel says. “She had a rough day and she was done with the day, but he’s a guy. He has a plan, and he’s going to get his plan done. The fact that she came down to pray with him shows the depth of their relationship.”

It’s why Father Nagel rejoices in their decision to marry even though he is the associate director of vocations for the archdiocese.

“It’s a match made in heaven,” Father Nagel says. “They both have this great sense of the sacredness of married life. They were friends first. I think that’s always a great indicator of a relationship, with God at the center of it. Then they gave each other space to decide what needed to be done. It’s beautiful how God works when we’re faithful like that.”

Scott and Lindsey can’t wait for their wedding day and the beginning of a new life together.

“I have great love for Lindsey and for God, seeing how he’s worked things out for us,” Scott says. “I’ll really be filled with love when we marry.”

Lindsey touches Scott on the arm and says, “I think it’s going to be wonderful. It’s been a long journey of discernment and prayer. It really has been God-centered as we’ve tried to focus on what God’s will is for us. It’s apparent that God wants us to be together.” †

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