SANTAQUIN — Mike and Tracy Hacking are happy they found the community life they share with those at San Andres Parish in Payson. They will become members of the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil on April 7.
The couple moved to Santaquin from San Diego in 2009. They approached Jesuit Father Joseph S. Rooney, pastor of San Andres Parish, in September 2011 to inquire about the Catholic Church and he invited them to join his RCIA class.
"They liked what they heard and within a couple of weeks they were very interested," said Fr. Rooney. "They have been to all the classes and have asked good questions. Tracy has joined the women’s society, which shows they are aware of the parish as a whole and have a positive attitude toward becoming active members in the parish."
When they first started the class, the couple wondered why Catholics make the sign of the cross. They also found the Mass confusing at times.
"Now we understand that the sign of the cross is a commitment to our faith and learning the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist made it so we can participate at Mass," said Mike. "We’ve had the faith, we just didn’t have the organization or the formality for a long time. That was something that left a big hole in our lives and has been filled by going through RCIA. We pray a lot more now."
"I’m getting a better understanding of the Bible through RCIA," said Tracy.
"It’s not only a better understanding of the Bible, but also a better understanding of the Catholic Church’s position with Christ and the Catholic faith being the first Christian religion," said Mike. "And that means a lot to me. Fr. Rooney has been wonderful in explaining not only the beliefs of the Catholic Church but also the rituals to us."
Before they joined the RCIA class, the couple didn’t feel they had any ties to the Santaquin community or to a religion, Tracy said.
"We felt a vacancy and we wanted to have religion in our lives," she added. "We now feel like we are a part of something bigger. We had been talking about becoming Catholic for years but had never acted on it."
The Hackings started going to church with their children and with their daughter’s in-laws, who are Catholic, said Tracy.
"Mike’s step-mother is Catholic and his father converted to Catholicism," she said. "It seemed like the natural next step to take. I was influenced by our Catholic friends who shared their love for the church with us. They were all born and raised Catholic."
Mike was born in Cedar City and raised in Salt Lake City in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but left that faith when he was 16, he said. He joined the Navy and was stationed in Hawaii, which is how he met Tracy, who was babysitting for a woman who was dating one of Mike’s friends.
"We met when I was 16, but we didn’t get married until I was 18," said Tracy, who was raised in a military family. "My father was in the U.S. Air Force. All our lives we basically went to Bible churches but didn’t really have a religion."
After the couple married, they moved to Salt Lake City so Mike could attend the University of Utah. After his graduation, they relocated to San Diego for 25 years. When Mike retired, they returned to Utah to be close to their daughter and her family, and moved to Santaquin.