Journey in faith 2

Every Day a Perpetual Pentecost

I was baptised and received into the Catholic Church when I was nineteen, in St James Church, Spanish Place, London, and confirmed in Westminster Cathedral at Pentecost of the same year.   I cannot really say I became a Catholic, because I realise that I am still in the process of becoming a Christian, and what happened at that time and place was part of an important process of becoming, set in progress by the Holy Spirit many years earlier in a variety of ways during childhood.  It is all part of the pilgrimage which will continue, please God, while He breathes life into me here on earth.

Life is undoubtedly a pilgrimage.  We sense this inner quest for the Truth, about the meaning of life, about why we are here and where we are going, and who is responsible for the gift of life and love, family and friends.  I feel our own special contexts, socially and geographically, are an important gift to us.  It is where God speaks to us, and He often speaks through circumstance, friends, books, joys and sorrows as well as through Holy Scripture, a praying community and the liturgy.

God comes to us through each other.  Meeting two brothers who were Catholics, a few years older than myself, formed an important part of my pilgrimage.   I knew nothing about Catholicism at that time and coming from a family of two children I was amazed to learn my friends came from a family of nine.  I went to Mass with one of them at the French Church in Piccadilly.  I was delighted by the sense of presence I felt there, the liturgy, the Church architecture, and astonished at the humility of my friend, a big man, as he struck his breast three times at the 'mea culpa'.   My journey took off!   Soon I was receiving tuition at St James', although this was exploratory and I did not tell anyone, but it was a time of real joy.   The Lord had a surprise in store.   Before I was baptised I learnt that my elder brother was also receiving instruction from the same priest, Fr Charles Mc Gowan, as I was myself.  We were confirmed together.  The ongoing pilgrimage brought a deeper sense of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in every day of our lives, and the joy of 'becoming' continues.


Stefanie Donovan