May 14, 2022 Essay: Notes From Some of Our New Catholics

May 11, 2022

Monsignor Archibald Vincent McLees was a Catholic priest in Brooklyn and Queens at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. He was also my paternal grandfather’s first cousin. Research into my Irish ancestry revealed his tireless work for racial justice. The more I discovered about him, the more he beckoned me to follow him into service through the Catholic faith. I was raised in an environment that was hostile toward religion and spent decades searching for meaning and solace and guidance. After years of struggle, I did find a spiritual path, but Father Archie wanted more for me. He led me to St. Ignatius and now I am home.
— Kelly McLees

During this journey to the body of Christ, we were asked what we desired of God and God’s Church. I declared my intention: “To affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ has always been, and forever is, my companion and Savior.” I am particularly grateful to RCIA at St. Ignatius. I confess that I shall miss the sessions of communal reading and discussion. The Solemn Mass is a beautiful event, but if there is a second, it is the unfettered and open discussion of how Jesus’ teachings and sacrifice affect our daily lives. I will treasure it always.
— Wayne Weddington

I was baptized Catholic but not raised in the faith. My fiance, who has been devout his whole life, inspired me to formally pursue the Catholic faith. St. Ignatius had a well-developed RCIA program so we joined the community. At the first Mass we attended, we were asked to bring up the bread and wine for communion. To be graciously welcomed as newcomers in a new place touched us deeply. It was an embrace from God welcoming us to our new home, both physically and spiritually. At that moment, I affirmed my resolve to fulfill my baptismal promises.
— Abigail Fudge

The moment Father Yesalonia anointed my forehead with the chrism oil and said, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” faith flooded me and I felt the gifts of the Holy Spirit—especially fortitude and reverence. It took twenty-two years of auspicious signs and circumstances for me to take the first steps into RCIA. I will be eternally grateful to the RCIA Team, my sponsor, and the entire parish for patiently guiding me along this wonderful path.
— Christine Reynolds

Easter at St. Ignatius as a new Catholic was beautiful and moving. I found the care and thoroughness of the education in preparation to be exceptional. Every step of the way towards becoming Catholic was guided with a warm hand. Thoughtfully prepared lessons deepened my understanding, as well as my feeling of being part of this lovely community. I am very grateful.
— Judith Rosenberger

You may forget what someone said to you, but you never forget how someone made you feel. That was the beginning of my spiritual journey. I happened to attend Catholic school. I never forgot the feeling I had in my Catholic school daily life. It was His presence I felt, the peace He breathed into my soul. Now with my daughters grown and life simmering down, I was finally able to come full circle, like the prodigal son. He welcomed me back with His embrace. I am Home.
— Anonymous

My journey at St. Ignatius began after getting engaged to my fiancée Anna. It was important for us to have our marriage and faith life be consistent. The RCIA experience refreshed my faith; receiving the Sacraments of Initiation was nothing short of breathtaking. We are looking forward to being married at the Parish in October and I am grateful.
— Jack Granger

My interest in RCIA stemmed from my graduate studies in 16th-century religious Renaissance tapestries. Converting to Catholicism advanced my studies in theology and Renaissance Art, and brought me closer to God—thanks to St. Ignatius Loyola.
— Anna Ingram