My journey into the Catholic Church began many years ago when at the age of 17, I responded to a newspaper advertisement for an introductory course for new Catholics. To this day I don’t know why I responded. I had been brought up as an Anglican and my social life revolved around the church. One year later I met my future husband who was a Catholic.
I was received into the Catholic Church in 1966 and was married a few weeks later. On the Sunday after we returned from our honeymoon, we attended Mass, but when I went for Communion I was refused in a very public manner because I wasn’t wearing any head covering. I was hurt and humiliated and I felt very insecure and uncertain.
The years that followed saw me struggling with my faith and the Church. When the last of our three sons was confirmed, our attendance fell away. However, I was always aware of a spiritual emptiness.
Some years later I started to pray and to search for a Church to belong to. I began to attend courses at the Christadelphian Church and the Seventh Day Adventist Church but was put off by their anti-Catholic standpoint. Why did I care so much when I had not been to a Catholic Church for years?
The turning point came soon after this when I was overcome by a very strong conviction that I was to return to the Catholic Church. I believe this call was Spirit led. I was very nervous about doing this alone but was introduced to the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program which gave me spiritual guidance and surrounded me with so many wonderful people.
The culmination of my journey was my Confirmation at the Easter vigil when I was formally welcomed into full membership of the Catholic community. I was welcomed and accepted and I really felt I had come home.
It was with great joy that I went to the Lord’s table to receive Holy Communion. The hurt and sadness of the past years had gone and in its place came a great love for God. I am so thankful for all He has done for me.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I drew enormous strength and courage from reflecting on Christ’s own pain and suffering for us. My recovery has been aided by participating in the Eucharist and by the tremendous support I received from fellow parishioners. I am nourished and strengthened by this to go out and serve and follow the Lord. As I have learned more about the Eucharist, my personal faith has deepened.
The 40 years since my first inquiry were my 40 years in the desert but I had come to the Promised Land. My journey continues but I now know I am going in the right direction and I just feel so blessed to be part of the Catholic community.