Easter 2013 - Welcome to those being received into the Catholic
At the Vigil Mass
(30th/31st March 2013), in the Church, we welcomed thirteen new members into
Just before 9pm, after lighting the paschal candle, Fr Charles
and the clergy led a procession in from the Car Park into the Church.
Despite the cold, at least it was dry - our prayers for the rain to hold
off had been answered !!! We had a huge crowd in the Church
to celebrate our first Mass of Easter and the church looked magnificent
As at prevoius Easter vigils, we were delighted to welcome a number of new
people into the Church. Thirteen in total this year have journeyed
the RCIA programme, under the spiritual guidance of our deacon Steve Pickard.
We congratulate them all and applaud their commitment, and we thank
Steve and his RCIA team for all their hard work over the past few months
Two in particular, Jason Jeffery and David Myles, have shared some of the background, and the
emotions. Many thanks to Jason & David for this.
Having not grown up in either the Catholic faith or even a religious family
and only having brief experiences of religion taught badly in the Sunday school
held at the local village hall and RE lessons in school during the early
70's and 80's, I never really considered Christianity at all.
As a young adult I started to feel a bit of a void forming but at that
time and for many many years never really knew what that void was.
After a particularly long, painful
and difficult period in my life I started to feel that void grow bigger and
bigger and stronger and stronger. I began to feel I needed some spiritual
guidance, a sort of framework or a way to live my life that would give me
strength. This was when my real search began. I started reading various books
on the subject of many religions, faiths and realised after many months that
what I actually yearned for was a desire to have a relationship with Jesus
You would have
thought on that realisation it would be easy to find somewhere however, nothing
could have been further from the truth. For a long time I was attending various
different churches across many demonisation within the Church of England but
none of them felt right. My search to find a way to worship god in the way
that felt right for me continued until one day I drove up Beaconsfield Rd,
a road I'd driven so many times before however, on this occasion felt compelled
to pull into the car park adorning the church. I got out the car, walked
round to the front of the church and stood there in the darkness for ages
just staring up at the building. I took the telephone number from the board
outside and phoned the office the very next morning. After doing my best
to explain to Gina what I was looking for, she took my number and soon after
Deacon Steve called me back.
Two days later there I was, walking through the doors of Maryland convent
to join what were soon to be my RCIA buddies.
Joining the RCIA program was certainly the beginning of a journey we were
all about to take together. A true life changing experience. Deacon Steve
is the coordinator of the programme with massive help from Fr. Tom and Fr
Jimmy. They were always available to me and to others to answer questions
and offer guidance and support every step of the way.
Each Thursday night I learned about Jesus, the bible and about the church.
I was introduced to different forms of prayer, meditation and ways of communicating
with God. I learned the history of our faith, about the life and teachings
of Jesus and the struggles he endured. I learned about Mass, the gospel,
Eucharist and the Sacraments. I learned what it means to be part of a "church
community", I learned ways to read, interpret , reflect upon and understand
the Gospel. Through group discussions, I started to learn how to apply the
teachings of Jesus Christ to my everyday life. I learned how to look for
and recognise the presence of God in my life at all times, not just while
in church on Sunday. I leant that Steve's wife bakes the most delicious hot
cross buns and that Cath Pointer really likes to eat them (only joking Cath),
I have learned many things in RCIA, the most important is that the journey
of faith can begin at any time but certainly doesn't end with Baptism.
I would like to thank Deacon Steve, Fr Tom and Fr Jimmy along with my RCIA
friends who have been pivotal in helping me along my journey. I would also
like to give special thanks to Anne Myles for her full support to me as
my sponsor. Thank you all.
As a member of the Catholic Church I feel the massive strong bond that
we share together as Catholics and I will always Cherish that.
just been through the truly wonderful experience of being confirmed and becoming
a full member of the Catholic community at the Easter Vigil Service. This
followed a journey lasting over a year, which has fundamentally changed my
It has taken me a long time to reach this point, as revealed by the greying
hair and receding hairline! You might reasonably ask me why it has taken me
so long to develop a belief in Jesus Christ and a desire to become a Catholic.
I was bought up in the Christian household. My parents were and are practicing
and very devout Christians. So what happened to me?
As a child I accepted my parents’ view of the world, including their Christian
Faith. However, until recently I didn't develop an adult faith of my own.
I went to University and thereafter life became very full and somehow I didn't
see the relevance of Christianity to me.
So what changed? In a word, it was my wife, Anne. As the
years went by, I observed that her faith was becoming more and more important
to her, and she was getting more and more involved in church activities.
I worried that far from growing closer together as our lives progressed,
we could actually grow apart. I thought that if this was really so important
to her, then the least I could do was to read and investigate it - something
that in truth I had never seriously done.
In the mornings of January last year, before going into work, I started
to read a Bible Study guide to the Gospel of Mark, written by William Barclay.
It was quite a revelation - it put the words of the Bible into context and
helped me to understand for the first time. I found it totally engrossing.
As the days went by, I couldn't stop reading it. It was the implications of
the gospel readings on how we should be living our lives that really got to
me and made me think about my life. Anne had to be very patient with me as
I asked her lots of questions. I'm a scientist by training and I'm afraid that I ask questions
all of the time. Some of Anne's friends were also very kind and helped me,
including suggesting further reading I could do. One of the authors that had
been recommended to me was an American called Peter Kreeft. I started reading
a book by Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli called "Handbook of Catholic
Apologetics". I decided that if I was going to really belief in Jesus Christ,
I had to believe in his Resurrection. I wasn't expecting to find proof of
the Resurrection, but I wanted to understand the circumstances of the death
of Christ and his Resurrection. The book directly addressed a lot of alternative
explanations that have been put forward for Christ's death and Resurrection
(that he didn't die on the Cross, that his body was stolen, etc). Having
read it, I found that the evidence compelling that Christ did indeed die
and rise from the dead. I've described this as very intellectual exercise.
But then it suddenly became a very emotional experience.
I can still very clearly remember the morning in February of last year when
this just hit me. I really can’t describe my feelings adequately. It was so
sudden, I found myself shaking and in tears.
I had in a split second moved from an intellectual exercise, to an intellectual
belief, and then suddenly to a very emotional experience. It wasn’t until
that evening that I got up the courage to tell Anne, I was so scared that
she wouldn’t believe me – it was such a dramatic change.
I carried on reading avidly. In fact, I was pretty difficult to live with,
going to bed late, sometimes getting up at three in the morning to read more,
always asking questions, often emotional. I joined Anne’s prayer group and
have received their support and advice throughout that time. It was the example
of what they all did as much as what they said that made a real impact on
me. It has been a very humbling experience for me to be among a group of people
who give so much of themselves to the church and community.
I went to every Mass I could at church, listened to all of the homilies
very carefully (I found some real food for thought there), I attended the
Alpha course last year, and arranged to see Steve Pickard to tell him I wanted
to become a Catholic. I talked extensively to Peter and Krystyna Berners-Lee
and Peter kindly agreed to become my sponsor on the RCIA programme. I went
on a ‘Finding Silence’ weekend at Worth Abbey in October.
The RCIA programme was a fantastic experience - I learned so much from Deacon
Steve Pickard, Fathers Tom and Jimmy – and from all of the questions and discussions
we had. There have been so many people who have helped me on this journey.
When I have tried to thank them, many have said ‘But, I really didn’t do
anything’. Some people have made a very big contribution, and there are many
others to whom I have talked to a lesser extent. Looking back and recalling,
I now appreciate that all of these have really added up to have a significant
impact, to make a real difference. There is an amazing resource of willing,
able and helpful people in the parish. Thank you!
So what does my Faith mean to me?
At the moment, it's still a bit overwhelming. It totally took over my life
- for a time, I even found it difficult to concentrate at work. I found myself
talking to a lot of people about it - something I'd normally be very reticent
to do. I have a need to continue to read and develop my understanding further.
And my Faith journey? Well, it's started - and it has a long way to go...