A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘RCIA

(F)or behold, the winter is past,

the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth,

the time of pruning has come,

and the voice of the turtledove

is heard in our land.

(Song of Solomon: 2:11-12, Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition)

With its grimy snow and slush slowly melting to reveal mud and dormant grass, March is not my favourite month.

But I like the idea of taking out my running shoes and putting away winter boots that look like Rescue Heroes footwear. And the start of spring makes me look forward to seeing the flowers I’ve planted poke through the soil at the end of April. (Well, this is Ottawa, so I’d better err on the side of caution and say the middle of May.)

Anticipation makes things more enjoyable. Like when you look forward to eating some good chocolate at the end of Lent and finally savour that melt-in-your-mouth candy.

At this time last year, my husband and I were anticipating joining the Church and receiving Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil, after months of RCIA preparation. Not only did I have the joy of receiving the Eucharist at Easter, but I also felt a new sense of belonging as many people told us how happy they were for us.

I’m more involved in the life of the parish now: I’m a lector (I’ll be reading at the Easter Vigil) and I’m helping out with First Eucharist. This year, I’ll see the anticipation in the faces of our RCIA candidates at Easter and the excitement of the Grade 2 children as they prepare to receive the Eucharist for the first time in the weeks that follow, and the joy all of them will take in participating fully in the Mass.

But what comes after the Easter Vigil or First Eucharist?

I hope that anticipation gives way to joy at being able to receive the Eucharist, where Jesus is truly present. I hope people would choose to take an active role in their parish by volunteering, supporting parish initiatives and attending social functions. I hope faith would be part of their daily lives and not something saved for Sundays.

I pray that we would look forward to welcoming the newest members of the Church at Easter and encourage the children celebrating First Eucharist—and that God would guide the cardinals as they prepare to choose the new head of the Church.

Valentine

A Valentine’s Day decoration I made for my husband a few years ago

“Be Mine.” The message in Valentine’s Day greeting cards is usually some variation on this theme. However short but sweet or long and flowery it may be, though, the sentiment is never a book-length message about the sender’s love.

Then there’s the Bible. It is a whole book—or rather, a collection of books—about God’s love for us. But God doesn’t ask us to be his; he tells us in Isaiah 43:1* that we already are:

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine.”

Not only does God reassure us that we belong to him, he also affirms in Jeremiah 31:3* that he will always love us:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

If we ever have any doubt that God loves us, as imperfect as we are, his own words and actions should clear that doubt away. The question is whether we then show that love to others, as Jesus told us to in John 13:34-35*: Read the rest of this entry »

Okay, not funny. More like life-changing.

As the site name tells you, I haven’t always been a Catholic. Baptized, confirmed and married Anglican, I attended an Anglican church for years, some of that time with my husband. Then we joined a non-denominational congregation for a couple of years. Returning to Ottawa from southern Ontario meant finding a new place to worship. Lent 2011 found us at a local Catholic church.

We knew many of the prayers and hymns. But the congregation actively participated in the service by sitting, standing, kneeling, making the sign of the cross, praying and singing. Candles on the altar, votives in the chapel, icons, statues and stained-glass windows added to the atmosphere. Worshipping in this church involved all the senses. We enjoyed the service and decided to return.

Catholic edition of the Bible

Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition

Yet I also wanted to learn more about the Church. I had questions about the Virgin Mary, the saints, the Pope, purgatory, confession, and so on.  Read the rest of this entry »


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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