Finding home in the Catholic Church
One of the greatest pleasures for a Bishop is to meet adults who are seriously contemplating becoming Catholics. This can happen at any time for the Bishop. It occurs, however, in a more formal way in the time before Easter. There is a special stage in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) where the Bishop celebrates the Rite of Election with those who want to become Catechumens or Candidates in regard to their emersion into the Catholic faith.
Over the years, I generally ask the same question of these wonderful people. “Why do you want to be become a Catholic?” I delight in their answers. Some of them mention how they are teachers at Catholic Schools and have found the Catholic Christian community in the school so attractive that they want to become Catholics. Others are married to a spouse who is Catholic and with their children want to receive the Initiation Sacraments into the Catholic Church, particularly the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. Others have told me that a Catholic friend or neighbour has helped them during a very vulnerable moment of their life. They have received so much spiritual enrichment from their friend that they want to make a more formal inquiry into the reasons of Christian belief.
I remember once a lady told me she would drive from home to her office past a Catholic Church many times every week. There was a sign outside the Church inviting interested people to learn more about the Catholic faith. The phone number was attached to the billboard notice. After many years of passing the billboard, she decided to telephone the number on the billboard. I was so happy when she told me that a human voice answered the phone after she had the courage to ring! This was the beginning of her being invited to the RCIA group, and after quite some time, she moved from curiosity to deep commitment into the Catholic faith.
See the many ways that the Lord, in His grace, draws us to the fragrance of His Death and Resurrection!
There is a certain fragrance when the Lord, in His grace, draws us closer to Him. It’s like a perfume. There is an almost intoxicating attraction to the Lord’s presence, even if we cannot articulate the reasons why more fully.
This is clearly the Holy Spirit. I invite anybody who is reading this short reflection of mine who wishes to become a Catholic to pray that the Lord might draw more deeply into your heart with the fragrance of his Holy Spirit. May I gently and lovingly invite those who would like to take the next step further on becoming Catholic, to contact your nearby Catholic Parish and seek out pathways towards taking the journey towards the Catholic Church.
May God bless all of us on our journeys of faith. Ultimately, it is Jesus Christ who leads us, and who is the source of our joy and all our hope.
By Archbishop Christopher Prowse