Catholic Herald staff
Beth Juranek’s students are preparing to make their first Communion, and so is she.
A second-grade teacher at St. Patrick Catholic School, Hudson, Juranek journeyed to St. Patrick’s, and to the Catholic faith, in a roundabout way.
The supportive feel and community vibe first attracted her.
“Our first day at St Pat’s, someone said something along the lines of, ‘Welcome to the family,’” she recalled.
That was about three years ago, and now she’s teaching at the Catholic school and preparing to join the Catholic Church.
Juranek’s story began in River Falls, where she and future husband Andrew Juranek both attended the university. Raised Lutheran, she decided to embark on her own pilgrimage of faith, “find something that fits my journey with God.”
The Minnesota native visited a number of area churches, attending services and searching for the elusive spiritual “fit.” She and Andrew, a Catholic, “kind of just naturally fell into St. Pat’s” after becoming engaged.
Juranek was attracted by the warmth of St. Patrick parishioners, the Catholic Church’s teachings and its universal sense of community.
“I just felt like that’s what I had been searching for,” she added, “a perfect fit.”
Her family supports her decision.
“My parents have been really awesome,” she said. “I have this amazing support system.”
Currently navigating the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process, Juranek will make her first Communion at the Easter Vigil, April 19. Her students make theirs in May.
“I’m really excited, and the kids have been really excited about it,” she said. “It’s been fun to share the experience with the class.”
Juranek taught kindergarten in Minneapolis before joining the staff at St. Patrick’s. This is her first year in Hudson and her first time teaching second grade, which has been less an adventure than a homecoming.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of kiddos to start out with,” she said. “I feel like I’ve come home.”
Throughout her preparations to take Eucharist, Juranek is hoping she can someday encourage others, and make her own contribution to the parish community.
“I think the big thing for me is just the level of support, and how excited people are for me,” she said. “It’s been really nice.”