Keli C. - May 2015
I grew up in a Protestant family with a grandfather who was a minister. I was actively involved in the church, but when I went away to college, I fell away from my faith. You could say I was one of the many college students who are heavily influenced by professors who declare faith as being for the "ignorant". I got swept up in believing I was too intelligent for faith. But years later, I started to feel like something was missing. I recommended to my husband (who is a cradle Catholic) that we try to find a Protestant church. We spent a few years searching but didn't find anything that really drew us in.
When we moved to Florida 7 years ago, my husband suggested we try the Catholic Church. I was really hesitant about this and didn't think I would fit in. I had visions of a dark church full of stern personalities. But I decided to try it out, thinking I probably wouldn't like it. My husband and I were both nervous when we first attended mass at St. Peter. During the Mass, I found myself feeling moved during the Mass parts, especially when the priest sang "the mystery of faith". There was something about that simple phrase that caused me to reflect and my husband and I discussed it during the drive home. I felt compelled to continue going to Mass.
A few months later, we heard an announcement about RCIA at the end of Mass. Again, I was hesitant, but decided to attend the session to learn about it, thinking I probably wouldn't come back. I liked coming to Mass but I didn't see myself becoming a Catholic. It seemed like a step too far. Meeting Becky and Deacon John really helped ease my worries. They were far from the stern personalities I had envisioned. Instead, they were warm and passionate about their faith. I soon learned to love going to RCIA sessions. It satisfied my intellectual curiosity while deepening my faith. I was amazed to find how rich the Catholic faith really is.
When I received Communion for the first time during the Easter Vigil, I knew that I had made the right decision in becoming Catholic. I felt so loved and enveloped in the Eucharist; it was a feeling that's hard to describe.
RCIA is just the beginning. You will continue to dive deeper into your faith and develop a closer relationship with Jesus if you keep coming to Mass. The benefits are endless if you keep working at it. Life is full of challenges, but I am grateful that I have the richness of the Catholic faith and the Eucharist to turn to.
Kathleen I. - May 2019
I went into the RCIA experience thinking that I was just going to learn how to be a "Good Catholic." I expected that I was going to learn the Catholic prayers and what I must do/know to join the Church. What I learned instead was so much different. My big takeaway from this class is that there is no wrong way to pray. Praying while drinking your morning cup of coffee is a great way to start out your day. Taking the formalities out of praying allowed for me to increase my prayer time and opened up a whole new relationship with God for me.
Richard G. - May 2014
I had reached a point in my life where I had everything I could ask for, a loving wife, wonderful children and a successful business. Yet, I was so empty inside. I went to an RCIA inquiry session with no intention of joining RCIA since converting to Catholicism was the furthest thing from my mind. Based on the kindness and respect I experienced at the inquiry session, I joined RCIA, but had no intention of going any further. In time, with the support of the RCIA team, I came to experience a joy and fulfillment I never expected to find. I was baptized shortly thereafter and life has never been the same.
Ellen O. - May 2019
Throughout my life, I searched for God. Then I began my Catholic journey initially, as a Christmas gift, a promise to become Catholic for my Irish, Catholic daughter in law. The next fall, I followed through and began attending RCIA classes at St. Peter Catholic Church. Each week Deacon John Collins and Richard Giardino led our group through in depth conversations about Catholic issues and faith. God was beginning his work with me and I remember starting each class feeling sad, but always leaving the class, happy. Laughter through tears became a common theme for our group in those early classes because Deacon John and Richard kept the humor flowing and the atmosphere light and open for non judgmental sharing. Each class I learned more about becoming a Catholic and my true self. In those classes, I grew in my faith, and as a person. On the night of my Baptism and Confirmation, I was beaming with absolute joy. The old me and the sadness was washed away with my sins in the Baptism. I found myself and more importantly, I found God in the RCIA classes at St. Peter Catholic Church.
Danielle S. - May 2019
When I started attending RCIA in 2018 I had only been to church a handful of the times in my life and had no religious training whatsoever. I had been involved in a twelve step program for a couple of years that emphasized dependence on a higher power however, I was at a point where I needed something more. When I started attending RCIA I was afraid that my lack of knowledge would be apparent. It wasn’t at all! The class and discussion are very open to people with a variety of backgrounds. It was a very comfortable setting. They assured us that as long as our hearts were in the right place and that we seek a relationship with the Lord that we were on the right path. I don’t have to “get” everything now. It’s a lifetime learning process. I’m so grateful to the instructors and all the other members in my class. Our journey is just beginning!