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Paths to the Cross- Journeys into the Heart of Catholicism

Posted on April 10, 2024 in: News

Paths to the Cross- Journeys into the Heart of Catholicism

In the heart of our Catholic tradition lies the understanding that faith is not merely inherited or adopted out of convenience; it is a living, breathing journey that demands engagement, questioning and, above all, an open heart. Some find their faith in the meticulous study of Scripture, seeking God in the clarity of doctrine or the richness of theological debate. Others discover their faith amid the trials and tribulations of life, where the presence of God is made manifest in moments of vulnerability, in the face of loss or in the joy of unconditional love.

 

Bruce Williams: A quest for authenticity

 

 

 

Bruce Williams, from St. Mary’s Church in Stonington, initially pursued God's will through Christian service and theological education at Yale Divinity School. Despite these efforts, he felt alienated from God, prompting him to abandon seminary studies. Retirement planning brought into focus the absence of God in his envisioned future, leading him to re-evaluate his relationship with the divine. 

Committing to a disciplined prayer practice, including the Liturgy of the Hours and Lectio Divina, Bruce's exploration was enriched by an unexpected meeting while on a jobsite. Father Tito, whom Bruce refers to as “an especially holy man,” provided him with insightful Catholic CDs, through which the richness of the Catholic tradition was opened up to him. Attending Holy Mass for the first time on July 11, 2022, he was struck by its beauty and scriptural depth. Engaging in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), Bruce's deepened relationship with Jesus eventually led to his confirmation into the Catholic Church on Oct. 15, 2023.

During the confirmation ceremony, a poignant moment unfolded. He recounts, “When I returned to my seat and prayed, the piano played softly and the soloist began to sing my favorite hymn: ‘Be Thou my vision, O Lord.’ It touched me and I whispered to Georgia (his cousin), ‘That’s my favorite hymn … He gave me my favorite hymn.’ She handed me a tissue, and said something like, ‘Isn’t He good.’”

 

Wanda Allen: A lifelong quest for truth

 

 

Wanda Allen, a parishioner of St. Luke’s Church in Ellington, embarked on a subtle yet profound journey to Catholicism. Wanda's early life in rural Maine was not one that might be described as particularly religious. However, a seemingly inconsequential gift from her mother — an old set of children's religious books — planted seeds of curiosity in her young mind. Wanda became fascinated with these stories, filled with tales of faith and wonder, igniting a lifelong quest for understanding and truth. 

As the years unfolded, Wanda's life was touched by moments of joy and profound sorrow, including the loss of both of her husbands. During her periods of grief, she experienced signs from God. One such moment occurred after the loss of her first husband. While visiting his grave, she said, “God, if you’re real, let me see a bluebird on the fence behind me.” No bluebird was to be found. Later that day, a sympathy card featuring a bluebird sitting on a fence awaited her at the post office. This incident, seemingly minor, etched a lasting impression on her heart, leading her to explore the Catholic faith earnestly.

 Eight months after her confirmation, in 2017, Wanda faced a daunting diagnosis — stage three throat cancer — after having already survived breast cancer. Yet, her response was one of remarkable trust, experiencing what she describes as Jesus' comforting peace that sustained her through the darkest times. Wanda's illness did not diminish her spirit. For years, she taught CCD, a role that was not just a position of teaching but also one of continued personal learning and spiritual growth. Her unwavering commitment, despite ongoing health battles, is evident in her desire to become a lector, presenting a new avenue for her to continue her journey of faith. 

“God knows the path He has for all of us,” she said. “If God knows the number of hairs on our head … I will look at the stars, sometimes, and wonder, ‘Did God know at this point in my life, that I would be looking at those stars He created, and thinking how beautiful they were?’”

 

The transformative power of RCIA

 

Both Bruce’s and Wanda's path to Catholicism involved engagement with the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), a process designed to bring non-baptized individuals into full communion with the Catholic Church. RCIA is not merely a program or class but a dynamic process supporting individuals on their faith journey, providing spiritual preparation and culminating in the reception of sacraments.

 

If you are interested in exploring the RCIA programs in the Diocese of Norwich, visit www.norwichdiocese.org/FaithEvents or contact Director of Faith Events Andrea Hoisl at 860.848.2237 ext. 203 or faithevents@norwichdiocese.net. Embrace the transformative power of your faith journey with the support of RCIA in the Diocese of Norwich.

 

By Andrea DePaola


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