BY James Farrell | April 26 2019 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

St Andrew’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Glasgow, Easter Vigil, The Resurrection of the Lord, Sat 20th April 2019,with two Baptism’s Yuki Pan & Rui Rui (aka Ray) ( confirmation names Faustina & Cecilia)and Ryan Reception into full communion with the Catholic Church (Conf name (Blessed) John Henry Newman).Celebrant Archbishop Philip Tartaglia with Canon Gerald Sharkey, Fr Joseph Walsh & Fr Augustine Abayomi,Archbishop Tartaglia baptises Yuki Pan with Rui Rui next.Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry 07770 393960 @Paulmcsherry2

Over 250 people in Scotland entered the church at Easter

More than 250 adults were welcomed into the Church in Scotland this Easter, including a number of atheists who have shared their stories of conversion.

75 people became Catholics through the Right of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in Glasgow Archdiocese, 53 in St Andrews & Edinburgh, 60 in Motherwell, 21 in Paisley, 14 in Galloway, 10 in Argyll and the Isles, five in Dunkeld and around 18 in Aberdeen Diocese.

They join the thousands of people across the world who were Baptised or entered into full communion with the Church at Easter vigils.

 

Seeking Faith

Fr William McFadden, Galloway Diocese’s RCIA coordinator, said that people from across a broad spectrum enter the Church through the programme and that the RCIA contains an ‘entire vision for the life of the Church,’ a vision in which a ‘huge’ number of people are all searching for one thing—Faith.

“Every year God motivates people in different ways and that’s what is wonderful about RCIA,” he said.

“It’s a Sacrament that is really about the life of the Church. It’s about people—there is a whole vision for the Church contained in the rite.”

The RCIA process begins when a person enquires as to how they can become Catholic.

The majority of cases arise when someone approaches their local parish priest and go through a catechetical program at a local level but in recent years that approach can be varied.

“Nowadays people approach the Church differently, they don’t just knock on the parish door the way they used to. People are using the internet a lot more so I’m becoming the first port of call as people come through the diocese,” Fr McFadden said.

 

Online generation

Rohan Bald is one of the new generation to begin their Faith journey online. Mr Bald is a University of Glasgow student in his fourth year of Medicine, and has recently completed an inter-collating year of studying Philosophy, Theology and English.

He was raised Anglican, but rejected religion at the age of 11 when it couldn’t provide ‘answers to questions I was asking.’

He became a ‘devout atheist’ and lived by the teachings of noted atheist Richard Dawkins.

It was through the internet—including podcasts and YouTube videos from evangelists such as Bishop Robert Barron—that he and some of his friends found their way to the Church.

Books by Christian authors such as CS Lewis and Chesterton, also had their impact, as did popular modern speakers including Canadian academic Jordan Peterson.

He entered the RCIA, and at first found it strange. “Although it was difficult, I had to do it and then it just fell into place and now it feels natural,” he said.

 

Atheist upbringing

Kirsten Braidwood, a fourth year Medieval and Biblical Studies student at St Andrews University, was, like Rohan, an atheist before becoming a full member of the Church this Easter.

Raised in an atheist family, it wasn’t until after an illness at age 19 that she began to consider the Faith.

Her illness led her to a despair she described as taking her to the end of her tether.

Seeking solace at that time she happened upon a woman’s group exploring the 16th chapter of St John’s Gospel and, when she heard the words described to her, she felt like she had been ‘punched in the heart.’ “It was what I was looking for,” she said.

 

Challenges

From there she began a journey towards the Catholic Faith via years as a nominal Christian.

Her biggest hurdle was the decision to leave behind an atheist boyfriend she lived with at the time so that she could explore her desire to become a Catholic.

During this experience, which she described as ‘chaotic,’ it was her trust in God, the Mass and the Rosary, which she knew would see her through.

“It’s great that the Catholic Church has things like the Rosary to turn to—it’s like, ‘we know what to say, here are the words,’” she said.

These experiences led both Rohan and Kirsten to continue with RCIA through Lent, which in fact originated as the preparation time for those seeking life in the Church, explained Canon David Wallace, RCIA coordinator for Glasgow Archdiocese.

“We have joined the catechumens for Lent, not vice versa,” Fr Wallace said.

“Having ministered in this field for 15 years, it is so encouraging every year to see the fruits of RCIA catechists and the accompaniment they offer in their parishes come to fruition.

“The support they offer is a real example of their dedicated service to the Gospel. It is also reassuring to see the Faith of those who seek life in the Church and real sign of life to each parish community.

“The journeys of Faith people make, each with their own unique story, inspire and draw life.”

For more, see the SCO’s special report on the RCIA.

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