Time went on and I had moved into a new parish. I walked past the Catholic Church in my new neighbourhood every day and within a few months, I felt that familiar pull once again. I missed going to Mass, I missed how close I felt to God there, I missed the peace I received from the rituals.
I went back to church and I continued studying on my own. The priest at the new church was very kind and friendly. I gained so much from his words – that feeling you get when you feel that someone is speaking directly to you. One day his homily spoke of perseverance and of working for our faith. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) I don’t remember all of his words from that day but I do remember a voice in my head saying, “Just try one more time.”
I made an appointment with Father Clare, telling myself that if it didn’t work out this time, then it wasn’t meant to be. Father Clare listened patiently to my whole story from beginning to end. At the end he said, “Well our RCIA classes are held at the same time as the others – while you’re at work.” A moment of disappointment flashed across my face. I started to thank him for his time and got up to leave. “Wait,” he said. “You didn’t let me finish. It’s obvious that you are one who is on a journey and I’m so very sorry for the others who have placed obstacles in your way. We should be helping those who are looking for answers in any way we can. We can work around your schedule and meet every week on our own.”
Six months later I did my first reconciliation, my first communion, and was confirmed into the Catholic Church. That was 27 years ago. I don’t always agree with every move the church makes as a whole but I’ll never let go of the feeling I had that first time I entered a Catholic Church, the feeling I had when Father Clare reached out to help me along my path, and the feeling I had the first time I was invited to communion as a full member of the church.