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Belonging

We thank God for His goodness and love. What a wonderful year it has been, journeying with these precious, open souls. In their own words, they share how they have been touched and changed….

“A candle can be described simply as melted beeswax, poured into a mould onto a wick. Its purpose is, and has been for many years, to create light. However for me, the role of a candle has become so much more since my evening at the Easter Vigil, where I was accepted into the Catholic Church and received my First Communion. That night, the humble candle not only gave light, but also warmth. When I turned and looked behind me, these beautiful, glittering flames resembled a glowing sea, like stars reflecting on the water. This powerful glow transmitted warmth through me and I could do nothing but smile, as I felt a sense of real acceptance and belonging…It was a truly memorable night and one that I will never forget.”

“I had grown up with God as part of my life, but my connection with Him lessened over time. I think I tried to do lots of things, some of which were pretty wrong and damaging, to make myself happy because my soul felt empty. None of these things worked.

As time went on, I had a few experiences and thoughts which led me to the Alpha programme when it
was offered. I had lost my Mum, and there were some difficulties in my marriage. Alpha was offered as part of our son’s Confirmation programme, so I thought it couldn’t hurt.

After having the experience of Alpha, I decided I wanted to become a Catholic. I found peace in coming to Mass and I started to feel happy. So I joined OCIA and after Reconciliation, Communion, and Confirmation, it felt as though the weight of my past had been lifted.”

“Before finding my way back to the Church, I would describe myself as someone essentially “good”, who
would say they knew about God and believed in Him, but wasn’t openly attentive or tuned into Him and what He was trying to say to me. I hadn’t been to Church since I was young, but had always identified with the Catholic faith. I did so, even though I wasn’t baptised, as that was the faith my family were from. As a child, I had attended a Catholic school and my grandmother took us to Church at times.

The point of change came three years ago, when the school principal where I worked gently asked, “You’re not Catholic, by any chance?” That question led me to meet Fr John Adams and to come into the St Peter Chanel parish. As part of my meeting with Fr John, I signed a commitment and made a promise that I was going to help teach and introduce my son to the Catholic faith. At the time, I was so grateful for the help and kindness shown to us, I took the commitment I had made seriously and I have stood by that promise. Initially my focus was wanting my son to stay within the Catholic schooling system, but over time, as I have come to meet people, become more involved in the community, began re-learning about God and faith, and seeing the strength of the faith of other people, my reasons for desiring faith have become more personal. At the beginning of our OCIA programme, Fr John observed that none of us were
here by coincidence, that each of us had received a quiet calling from God, and I feel that is true. It bothered me that I wasn’t baptised, or that God and faith had no place in my life. Attending Church, especially the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, was powerful and very moving. The
experience of this Mass had a personal impact on me. Being baptised has been significant.

After nearing the end of my OCIA journey, I’m happy to finally say I belong to the Catholic faith, that I now have a stronger sense of faith and relationship with God. I would describe myself as a work in progress. I now am more tuned in to God, I’m listening and open to Him. I have a better understanding of what He wants for me and a desire to achieve it.”