A Very Special Invitation

Tess Buckley

I have received many invitations throughout my life. Last year I was invited to be a Sponsor. The invitation came like this: “Tess, I want to become a Catholic. Will you be my Sponsor and come to meetings with me?” What a wonderful invitation to receive!

Yes, my daughter-in-law, Barbara, had already made enquiries and attended an RCIA meeting in her Parish of East Maitland. She had been so warmly welcomed by the group, as I was, and I continued to attend these information evenings each Monday with Barbara.

These weeks and months of sharing our faith have been a very special time in our relationship. The RCIA team members were so experienced; I believe some have been involved in this ministry for almost twenty years. What dedication! Each week we were informed of some teachings of the Catholic Church, the liturgies, the feasts, the prayers, the seasons, the sacraments and so much more, but most of all the faith, which these special people not only preached but practised in their lives.

The Gospel for the week was always read and the message shared. There were plenty of opportunities for questions and comments.

As the weeks went by, I realised that I was on a journey with Barbara and with a number of others who were seeking to know more about the Catholic faith and with the RCIA team members. I came to realise we had all heard the wonderful, special invitation from Jesus to “Come follow me… share my life … .” I felt I was on a refresher course, a time of renewal of my own faith, which gave me the strength, courage and confidence to sponsor Barbara on this special journey in her life.

The joy of those enquiring and learning about our faith and the joy of those imparting, instructing and sharing our faith was infectious. This was a happy and fulfilling time for me. I felt that I was being called to witness to my faith, to Barbara, and to others.

During the weeks and months of instruction, the team organised a number of special liturgies and celebrations, especially at Christmas time, during the Lenten period and of course the great and wonderful celebration of Easter, at which time Barbara received the three Sacraments of Initiation.

This was a very special Easter for me and for my family – how wonderful were the prayers, the hymns, the ceremonies and the celebrations! To add to all this joy our little granddaughter, Emily – Barbara and Phillip’s daughter – also received the Sacrament of Baptism with Barbara during the Easter Vigil Mass!! My husband Grahame and I are Godparents for Barbara and our daughter Susan and her husband Rodney, are Emily’s Godparents.

So, with the Catholic community at St. Joseph’s East Maitland, we renewed our Baptismal Vows, our commitment to our Catholic faith.

I hope that if you are ever invited to sponsor someone who has heard Jesus’ words “Come follow me”, you too will realise that it is your “Very Special Invitation”.

You would always be welcome at an RCIA gathering in your parish. Sometimes people there who are receiving instruction in the Catholic faith need someone to sponsor them on their journey. You could be that person for them!

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