Former editorial assistant reflects on her time at Witness, looks ahead with hope

By Jill Kruse-Domeyer

Special to The Witness

I had the opportunity to work for The Witness for a total of five years. I began at the paper in 2015 and resigned from my position earlier this year in order to stay at home and care for my infant son. My time at The Witness is a time I will always look back on fondly.

It was a privilege to work with the people I got to work with at The Witness. The editor and other members of the paper’s staff are hardworking, dedicated professionals, but they’re also very kind, big-hearted people. Workdays were often busy and, because of looming deadlines, rather stressful. But The Witness office was also filled with humor and camaraderie and a good number of staff trivia competitions.

During my five years at The Witness, one of my primary job responsibilities was to write articles that highlighted what was happening in the church in northeast Iowa. In order to write those articles, I usually had to interview people, over the phone or in person, through email or even a time or two through text message.

In those interviews, I had the opportunity to communicate with Catholics across the archdiocese, men and women, young and old, of all walks of life. The people I encountered consistently inspired me and filled me with hope for the church’s future.

I interviewed so many devoted priests, faith-filled seminarians and selfless religious sisters.

I spoke with Catholic couples together for 60 or 70 years, as well as brides and grooms just starting out, but already making Christ the center of their marriages.

I talked to teachers and catechists working hard to pass on the faith to young people, as well as young people who chose to attend youth conferences and rallies in order to live out their faith more fully.

I interviewed individuals sick with cancer or recovering from injury who never lost faith and continued to put their trust in God.

I talked to staff members of area parishes and employees of the archdiocese, all working diligently and doing their small part to further the mission of the church.

I spoke with men and women who were going through the RCIA program and were planning to become members of the church. They each saw something good or true or beautiful about Catholicism and wanted to be part of it.

I interviewed Catholic Charities staff members and volunteers who work tirelessly to help others through programs focused on disaster relief, mental health counseling, immigration services, affordable housing, and jail and prison ministry.

I spoke with individuals involved in other ministries in the archdiocese that serve those with disabilities, assist women in unplanned pregnancies, feed the hungry in the local community, and raise money to ensure others around the world have clean water to drink or access to basic medical care. I met so many people doing so much good out of their love for God and their fellow human beings.

The Catholic Church has its share of problems and faces a great number of challenges today, and it’s easy to become discouraged or pessimistic about the church’s future. But the people I encountered through my work at The Witness reminded me over and over again that the church is so much bigger, and so much better, than any of its flaws or any of the difficulties it’s up against. I want to thank all of the people I interviewed through the years who were willing to have their story shared in a Witness article: I’m grateful for the ways in which you inspired me, filled me with hope and helped me grow in my faith. And thank you also to all the subscribers out there who read our Witness stories and gave me a reason to do the work I did. May God bless you all!

Since leaving The Witness, my workdays look a lot different than they used to. I no longer go into an office or conduct interviews or write articles. I now spend my days taking care of our 4-month-old son. The work can be challenging and exhausting and messy (When am I not covered in spit up or drool?), but it is also by far the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I’m cherishing each and every precious moment I get to spend with our little boy.

A few weeks after our son was born, he was baptized. Holding him at the baptismal font as the priest poured water over his head and he received the sacrament was a beautiful, powerful experience. He’s now one of the church’s newest members, and I look forward to watching him come to know God and grow in love for him throughout his life. The reasons for inspiration and hope continue!

Kruse-Domeyer worked as editorial assistant at The Witness from 2015-2020.

Cover image: Jill Kruse-Domeyer, former editorial assistant at The Witness with her husband, Brian. (Contributed photo)