For the 28th June ‘Parish Newsletter Extra’ I was asked to write a little piece on being received into Full Communion with Rome, at the vigil Mass of Pentecost 2012. I would like to share it with you.
26th May 2012. St Philip Neri Feast day. The patron Saint of joy.
“On the 26th May 2012, I was absolutely overjoyed to be received into Full Communion with Rome. It has been a momentous journey for me, one involving a very happy secular/agnostic upbringing. A very alternative twenties, which saw me observing from a distance different alternative faiths and philosophies. A thirties with family aspirations being exceeded, and then sadly dismantled, and then re-marriage to a humanist. And then, completely unexpectedly, an amazing experience of being led (by extreme coincidence) to the Catholic Church, which I have completely fallen in Love with.
On separation from my first husband I brought and renovated a tiny 2 up 2 down cottage, with my two tiny children. When my parish priest first came to our parish and went through the archives in the safe, it was revealed that my tiny cottage was the home where Catholic Mass took place in my town from 1904-1935.
I often wonder what it was about the Catholic Faith that so won me over. When I think back to the very beginnings, I was too embarrassed to go to my local Catholic Church, in case my alternative friends saw me entering or leaving the building, or in case I hated it and would find it too difficult to make my excuses upon not returning. So I began my journey driving the early morning 20 minutes run to the next town, every Sunday for the first 4 months.
The first tearful appearance I ever put in at my local Church was at my dearest next door neighbours funeral. It is thanks to their friendship that I first ever dared to put my foot inside my local Catholic Church, where my children and I were met and welcomed with such mammoth and deeply unconditional Love. Love that I had never experienced in any other place of worship so authentically.
My journey since has had many tears and many obstacles to overcome, including marriage annulment. And despite my initial four years of non reception, throughout my entire journey I have been held especially close by so many, many whom I have come to Love dearly.
Despite the frustrations there has also been much cheeky humour, great playfulness and much fun. So I was delighted that on Pentecost Eve it was the feast day of St Phillip Neri, whom I have heard at times was a little eccentric. ‘St. Philip possessed a playful humour, combined with a shrewd wit. He considered a cheerful temper to be more Christian than a melancholy one, and carried this spirit into his whole life:’ “A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.”
Having been so inspired by Catholicism, her people, her Mystics and her Saints, last September I decided to go back to University and educate myself. I am presently doing a degree in Pastoral Mission, and loving every minute of it. I have many years of faith education to catch up on. I am daily discovering new treasures, and being endlessly inspired by the people of faith that I meet.
But above all, my children and I have come to know the unsurpassable and infinite Love of Jesus Christ and for that I am eternally grateful. And to be able to share in the Sacred Communion of the Holy Eucharist, with my church family and my children, by being fully received into the Catholic Church, is to share a little Heaven on earth.”
Thank you for All of your Love.