Rodney Kroetch

Rodney Kroetch

August 29, 2016
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Raised on a farm near Killam in a devout Catholic family, Rodney Kroetch's own faith was strong enough for him to enter the seminary.

However, it was only when he took part in a Cursillo weekend when he was 42 that Kroetch said he experienced the presence of Jesus.

As a youngster, Kroetch loved life on the farm and working side by side with his father. But as he neared the end of high school, people began asking him, "What are your plans after graduation?"

Irked by the constant questioning and having worked in an auxiliary hospital to save funds for university, he remained uncertain of what course of studies to take.

Finally, he applied to enter the seminary and was soon off to St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ont. He spent three blessed years there and experienced the "joy of being with other men seeking God's will."

Kroetch, 61, shared the story of his faith journey at a Catholic charismatic prayer breakfast Aug. 13 at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre.

At the end of three years in the seminary, he and his spiritual director agreed that he should take another look at his direction in life. Armed with his philosophy degree, Rodney went on to earn a degree in education. But neither was teaching his calling.

At age 23, Rodney married Rebecca, ruling out the priesthood as a possible vocation. The couple have a daughter Aruna and a grandson Rook.

It was in 1996 that he attended a Cursillo weekend at the Star of the North Retreat Centre in St. Albert when he had what he called a "life-changing experience."

Praying the Stations of the Cross, he "felt the presence of Christ, that I was truly precious to him just as I was."

Kroetch says his Cursillo friends have become "so close, . . . life-long companions."

RICH IN LOVE

Likewise, his marriage is rich with love. Rebecca sees the face of Jesus in him each day and "helps me see the face of Jesus in those I see every day," he says.

Now he works as office manager for an impound lot and towing company in Sherwood Park. There, he witnesses people who have suffered tragedies.

Kroetch told of seeing people come in to his office who had been in crashes, crashes that no one, on seeing the written-off condition of the cars, would believe they had survived.

"You had to know God and the angels were working overtime," he said.

Knowing his clients will be distressed when they arrive, he first prays to Jesus. They have suffered loss of their vehicle and financial loss. But often as not, once they meet Kroetch, they calm down and shake his hand when they leave.

Kroetch had a mystical experience of his own when recovering from brain surgery.

It was a miracle, he said, that his daughter showed up at his home one evening and noticed he was acting strangely.

She called an ambulance and Rodney was whisked off to the hospital where coincidentally a neurosurgeon was present and recognized that he was suffering from serious internal brain bleeding.

MYSTERIOUS PRESENCE

Kroetch said he was lucky that Aruna was present when the bleeding happened and that the right neurosurgeon was at the hospital to perform life-saving surgery.

After surgery, he was moved into a private recovery room where he stayed alone. Yet for two nights he had the sense of a presence of "two entities at the side of his bed."

Rodney shared two sayings with his audience, "Be the change you want to see in the world," and "What will your life mean when your heart stops beating?"