It was the extra push I needed

Fr Peter Day baptises Jason Cornelius at the Easter Vigil Mass PHOTO JENNIE MCDONALD

Fr Peter Day baptises Jason Cornelius at the Easter Vigil Mass PHOTO JENNIE MCDONALD

Jason Cornelius had been thinking about becoming a Catholic from as far back as childhood, but it was only when his wife became very sick that he realised it was time to act.

Mr Cornelius, now a member of South Tuggeranong Parish, was received into full communion with the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and received the Sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, at the Easter vigil at Holy Family Church, Gowrie, last year

“We were going through a dark time, and it made me realise how fragile life can be,” he said. “It was the extra push I needed; there was nothing stopping me.”

Mr Cornelius, who was not baptised as a baby, said he had discussed becoming a Catholic many times with wife Kerrie, “but I never felt quite ready.

“I emailed the parish without telling her so she was a bit bemused at first. She thought I’d never do it because I’d talked about it for so long. ‘You’ve actually done it!’ she said.”

It was particularly satisfying for Mr Cornelius that Kerrie, who is not a Catholic, his family and his in-laws were supportive of his decision. “I never got the feeling that I shouldn’t do it,” he said.

Mr Cornelius liked the RCIA process – “it happens over a period of time, so it gives you time to think, to check that you are really committed.

“There are good discussions with people, and it allowed me to clarify my thinking around joining the Catholic Church.

“At the start of the RCIA process, I still wasn’t 100 per cent sure.

“I’d never had any particular sticking points about becoming a Catholic, but I realised it was a big life-changing commitment and I didn’t want to do it half-heartedly.”

Mr Cornelius praised the parish for being “extremely welcoming”; “it was fantastic with people coming up during the process congratulating me.

“As we had no Catholic relatives in Canberra, the sponsor I was given was a very important part of my journey.”

Does being a Catholic make a difference to his life? “Prayer was not routinely part of my life before, but it is now. I am also maybe a bit more accepting of people and more forgiving than I was.”

Parishes considering updating or beginning their RCIA process, should send some of their parish leaders to a series of formation sessions being led by Archbishop Christopher Prowse. The next sessions will be held from 7pm to 8.30pm on 8 and 29 June at the Rheinberger Centre, Yarralumla. Inquiries: Sharon Brewer, telephone 6163 4300 or 0421 846 276, email

The sessions will be recorded and available for parishioners in regional areas.