Terri Voss, center, with her mother, Patty Voss, on left, and Dorothy Sokol, parish life director at St. Francis of Assisi, Albany, on right.
Terri Voss, center, with her mother, Patty Voss, on left, and Dorothy Sokol, parish life director at St. Francis of Assisi, Albany, on right.

As a teenager, Terri Voss wasn’t ready to be confirmed. 

“I was just a young girl,” she explained. “For my confirmation, we needed to go away on a retreat and I had never been away from my family before.”

While her faith was always strong, receiving her confirmation was something Ms. Voss wasn’t prepared to complete at that stage in her life. 

Today, Ms. Voss is the newest parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi in Albany, after being confirmed Nov. 25 at the parish of Mater Christi in Albany. 

“I’m more open now as an adult to understanding the real meaning of confirmation and making that decision,” she said. “I’m glad that it happened when it happened in my life.”

Growing up, Ms. Voss was baptized and received first Communion at St. Francis of Assisi, along with her six siblings. While she always wanted to get re-involved with the Church as an adult, between work and raising two children, no time seemed perfect.

What ended up bringing her back into the Church felt like a sign from God, she said.

Back in September, Ms. Voss was approached by her brother and sister-in-law, who were awaiting the birth of their daughter, Aliyanna. They asked her to be godmother; she was thrilled with the request.

Ms. Voss realized she would have to be confirmed before she could take on the role. She reached out to her home parish, St. Francis of Assisi, where she spoke with the parish life director, Dorothy Sokol, on how to prepare for confirmation.

Mrs. Sokol agreed to lead Ms. Voss through a series of one-on-one formation classes, teaching her about the basics on confirmation, updates in Church prayer, the basics of attending Mass, and a refresher on the sacraments.

“She is a lovely girl and a devoted mom,” said Mrs. Sokol. “Family is big to her, so being a proper godmother is a big deal.”

Ms. Voss recalled that during one of her classes at St. Francis of Assisi, Mrs. Sokol asked her to write down when she saw God that week and how she responded to it. 

She wrote about a fundraiser she was organizing for a close friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has since passed away. During the fund­raiser, Ms. Voss saw people give gracious donations in honor of her friend: “I’ve seen God, and He was in all of those people.”

At first, Ms. Voss said her confirmation felt more like a technicality; a step on the path to becoming godmother. But after she began taking classes, she quickly saw how helpful they were for reconnecting with her faith.

“The initial thing was [that in order] to be godmother I have to [get confirmed],” she said. “But once I got there and started doing it, it was like, this is where I belong. This is what I need to be doing right now at this time in my life.”

For her first class, Ms. Voss was worried about being judged for her decision to delay her confirmation. But she said Mrs. Sokol “never made me feel like anything I had ever done, as far as heading in the right path, was frowned upon.

“If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know if I would have had the same experience with this,” said Ms. Voss. “When I met her, I was like this lady is her own little angel.”

On the day of her confirmation, Ms. Voss was joined by her family, which included her ­father, brother and sister-in-law, her daughter, Alexis, and her mother — who was her sponsor.

Ms. Voss choose “Philomena” as her confirmation name after St. Philomena, the patron saint of infants, babies and youth. It was fitting for both her role as godmother and her love for children, she said.

Looking back, Ms. Voss said that her request to become godmother “was God’s sign to me” that she was ready to make her confirmation. Getting that initial push to rejoin the Church was just what she needed, she said.

“I think God was calling her,” said Mrs. Sokol. “She’s just a very generous person. If you’re looking for the presence of God, she’s got that in spades.”

Ms. Voss said she is looking forward to getting involved in her parish and welcoming her goddaughter, who is due mid-January, into the world. 

“I felt like I was making a change in my life for me, not just to be a godmother,” said Ms. Voss on her confirmation. “It didn’t feel like I was there and doing this because I had to or my parents told me I needed to, everything about that moment was all me and what I was ready and wanting in my life.”