Throughout Lent, the office of Evangelisation and Catechesis are delighted to offer weekly stories of accompaniment & the Hope, Faith, Joy, and Love of Christ from the lay faithful of our diocese in the journey of Missionary Discipleship.
Sharon recently completed the diocesan Mission Made Possible discipleship sessions. She is married to Mark with two grown up children and lives in Bournemouth. Sharon has been bought up in the Catholic faith by her Italian mother and her English father, who converted to the Catholic faith later in life. Looking back, Sharon is aware that she was a late developer in understanding the faith when she was young, but the basic teachings of love and kindness were strong. It was when Sharon’s father became very ill that her faith increased, but her epiphany came on the day that her father was to be called back to his Heavenly home.
She went to fetch her priest, who came and gave her father the blessings and prayers to see him safely to his new home. On the return journey to take her priest back to his parish she had an urgent need to ask for the Holy Spirit. Asking the priest whether he ever had the feeling that the Holy Spirit was wanted so much more than was felt at the time, she asked for him to pray for her and invoke the Holy Spirit. Her dear priest said a prayer and it was then that her life changed – the Holy Spirit was indeed with her, like a bolt of lightning she felt different and realised that life was about getting back to Heaven and to save as many souls as possible.
I was helping at my church with a new initiative and unfortunately no one came.
I was with another helper who she had not met before to talk to, so we chatted about life and experiences and faith while passing the time. It was lovely to spend the time with such a beautiful person.
Another lady popped into the room and all chatted together over a coffee.
I felt the prompt to ask them both if they would like to pray a decade of the rosary – I had started it earlier and wanted to continue. They both seemed happy so I chose the ‘flagellation’ and I proceeded to say what I felt about that particular event and how Jesus’ body was punished for our sins – I said I wanted to pray for those who feel they need to dress immodestly, especially the young and impressionable who just want to be liked, the lust and irreverence that the body is given nowadays, the mistreated, abused, the trafficked etc. Then I led a decade of the rosary.
Afterwards both seemed moved by the prayer-time. It was a time for sharing with fellow parishioners – hopefully deepening their faith and sharing a way that may have been new to them. What especially touched me was that one of the ladies said she would like to pray with her again.
Fr. Jon Bielawski has been a priest for 32 years. He heads up the department of Evangelisation and Catechesis for the diocese and is co-founder of Genesis Mission for the formation of Missionary disciples. You can hear more of Fr Jon’s encounters here https://podcast.genesismission.co.uk/