First published by Melbourne Catholics on their website, 07 March 2023.
Here is a story from two of our Catechumen as they near the completion of their Sacramental Journey of Initiation.
During the Rite of Election last week [25/26 Feb], people from all walks of life affirmed their readiness to embrace more fully the Catholic faith. The catechumens and candidates came from north, east, south and west, celebrating with Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, friends and family. We share a few of their stories as a way to nourish us on our Lenten journey. Lent is the season of conversion, after all, a time to return to the Lord with our whole hearts.
Rory, 22, from St James the Apostle at Hopper’s Crossing, describes his upbringing as one that was contemptuous of Christianity. ‘When I was younger, throughout high school and university, I was very hostile to religion,’ he says. ‘I despised religion and felt that religion and faith were responsible for a lot of the world’s problems and suffering, especially Catholicism. It got to the point I would look at people who were religious with disdain.’
What changed? ‘As I got older, around 20, I often felt that I was missing something and I started to slowly change my mind on there being a God. I became agnostic. It was around 21 I realised that what I was missing was God and his love in my life, and that my hate towards religion, particularly Catholicism, was misguided. That God’s love was eternal. From there, in 2022, I began researching and discovering what faith was right for me and the right path to follow, and I firmly believe that the Catholic faith is that one.’
Rory has felt deeply supported and encouraged by the community at St James, and he is looking forward to spreading ‘the love and truth of the Gospel to people close to me’.
Joanna, 36, is also from St James the Apostle, and she describes her upbringing as having been marked by a restless searching.
‘When I was growing up, I wanted to have answers to the bigger questions in life: Why are we here in this world? What is our purpose? As I grew older and started working, this question diminished. I was earning a fairly comfortable income, but I felt spiritually empty,’ she explains. ‘I did not understand why, and I was constantly trying to fill that emptiness through earthly comforts. It was only when I started going through a difficult time in life that I decided to ask a few friends about their Christian faith, tried attending Mass and started seeking my own journey.’
The RCIA process was one she describes as being deeply transformative. ‘With every passing week, I felt more attracted to knowing more about God, and before I knew it, I was spiritually transformed. The emptiness I felt was filled.’
There’s still the final stretch, though, and Joanna is looking forward to receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. ‘I look forward to Holy Communion and putting God’s way of life in mine, following his will and giving back to the community,’ she says.
For the full article and more stories from around Melbourne, visit HERE