I really should be saying good morning. But i’m saying good night, into the we small hours of the start of the most emotional day in my life so far pretty much. The day where I’ll have all my friends and family round me. Where I’ll be received into the most caring, kind, inspiring group of people I’ve ever met, and also, to be with God, The Son, the Holy Spirit, and Our Lady. A day that will be no-doubt be filled with happyness and sometimes tears. But tears of joy, and acceptance. The journey of conversion from Anglacan to Catholicism was but a long one. It started in 2010. I was a young 17 year-old. I was taking singing lessons off an Italian couple. Marco, and Gina Pasquero. They were devoted catholics, and used to teach me a lot about God. We would make it a frequent conversation, after my vocal lessons, which would last for 2 hours. It was then, the thoughts of perhaps converting to catholicism crept towards the forefront of my mind. I had a rosary, That I bought in Rome just 2 years before. Once arriving there, I stepped out into the street off the coach, and immediately felt at home. I said to Nana, I feel like i’ve been here before. The basilica made me cry, but not like Lourdes. The feeling of ease, was still there. Normally, if I stepped into an anglacan cathedral, or any cathedral for that matter, I would always feel intimidated by its vast, and echoing interior. The space that never seemed to end. The silence punctuated by the echo of peoples’ feet, and the organ. Back to the present moment in focus. I carried my rosary everywhere, as since the visit to Rome, I had carried my rosary, or wore it round my neck. It gave me great security, and comfort, during school days, and the ability to cope with any upset, or anxiety that the week should throw at me. I could always squeeze the beads, and hold the crucifix, which was close to my heart. As near as I could get it to my skin. So, At first, The thought was there, but I kept trying to push it away, as the worry of disapproval, was always there. My family are anglacan, so how would they react. A few years went bye. During which I lost my way. I was always from day one, brought up with the Bible. Reading the bible to me was a frequent duty that my Grandad and grandmother did and took in turns. My grandmother bought me tapes of the Bible, and encouraged me to listen to them. She also encouraged me to listen to the movies that were made for the television. Christmas, for example, was not just about giving, or receiveing. It was also made important, to remember Jesus’s birth. Nativity scenes were put up in our household. The figures were placed carefully in the bed of straw underneath. The base was made of wood. A flat table, on which was a bed of straw, and cotton-wool. The porcelain figures and pottery were placed in order of sequence. I was to learn this every Christmas, and had the task of placing them myself. Easter was also a significant time in the house. The sacrifice Jesus made, by dying on the Cross for us, and taking our sins with him. Again, something that would be drilled into me, every year. Via the story of the Last supper, and the adaptation for TV. The Greatest story ever Told, is the name of the film. One of the most realistic, moving, graphic adaptations I have ever heard. So yes, religion played a role in my house, and at school. Not eating meat on Good Friday, is still a tradition we have carried. Anyway, after 2010, the thought of Catholicism was pushed back, to the back of my mind, but always kept popping up. There and then. But things happened, where I lost my way, and somewhat, my faith. I turned away slightly, and tried to avoid the bible side of things. But then, I met my lovely friend, and sponsor, Angelina. On a warm spring day, my birthday, back in 2017. We were in Costa. Unknown to each other, we were just feet away. Excuse me, said a small voice, Yes? And then, the Italian conversation started. Since then, we met more often, and the conversation started. After that, I went to mass for 3 years, and last year, started the RCIA course. This year, I made the trip to Lourdes. And I’m determined to go back there, every year. I have a record of 22 times to beat. The journey to Lourdes was a long and tiring one. I was apprehensive. The masses would be very formal. With chanting, latin, and responses I will not know, I thought. The people would be very strict catholics, and… Well, would I enjoy it?
How very wrong I was, but correct in my question of would I enjoy it! Answer: Yes! I very much enjoyed it, and immediately, felt the freedom, but closeness, relaxed, Strong connection, to our Lady and St Bernadette. The strong feeling of wanting to help others. But also, the emotion of joy, happyness, slight sadness, in the fact I was miles from home, but more overwhelmed. Almost like loads of emotions hitting you all at once, but what can one make of them. The only way? Crying. But the sheer beauty, and awesomeness, of the blessed sacrament precession, the torchlight procession, and the underground basilica, were all too much. Too much in the fact they were so beautiful and inspiring, I could not contain the tears that flowed like flood-gates being opened. A feeling of joy that was so strong, it had to be let out. And the joy kept coming.
That was the ultimate catalyst that helped me reach my decision. And here we are! And thanks to my mentor and now sponsor along with Angelina, Clare, we have reached that moment! The moment where I become a catholic. And the moment where metaphorically, a teen becomes an adult. And the baby is baptised. I am nervous, but not nervous out of fear. I guess the feeling is nervous anticipation. There will be tears, I can assure you of that. I will now say this. From the bottom of my heart: Thank you to those who have been with me and along-side me on this journey. Thank you to those who joined me on my journey when we met for the first time in Lourdes. Thank you to those who are making the journey over from Liverpool to see me get baptised, confirmed, and receive communion. Thank you for the friendships I have made, which I hope will be there for years and years to come! Again, thank you all! And treasure this moment, as I will. It will be a momentus one. But have the tissues!