This is the 16th in a series of essays by the Province’s partners-in-ministry. The last installment, by a former staff member of St. Francis Community Center in Brant Beach, N.J., appeared in the April 25 issue of HNP Today.
Below are reflections from two parishioners who recently experienced the RCIA program at the Province’s St. Francis of Assisi Church in Midtown Manhattan. The texts are reprinted with permission from the June 3 parish bulletin’s “Views from the Pews” series.
Lisa Marie Tan
My Christian name is Lisa Marie Tan. I was baptized on April 7. I’m from Indonesia.
It was my husband that brought me to St. Francis. He was a regular parishioner when he was a young man. My husband has very fond memories of St. Francis so we decided to come here. The church near our home was not very enthusiastic and didn’t have a family feeling. The reason I’m in the RCIA is to thank God for helping me in my life. I want to understand God and I believed that by going through the RCIA program I would deepen my faith.
My experience at Saint Francis has exceeded my expectation. There are so many friendly people from many various backgrounds.
The RCIA has been a wonderful experience. I’ve learned so much about the stories of the Bible and Church traditions. The bonus for me was I made some great new friends.
For me, faith is placing my hopes in God. He has helped me so many times. I found encouragement in him when I was depressed. He has inspired me when I was tired. God has been there for me so I will always believe in his goodness and wisdom.
In conclusion, this Saint Francis family and the RCIA program have enriched my life and made me a better person. I’m more patient and understanding of others and I’m more open to helping. I would invite anyone considering being baptized to share this great experience at Saint Francis.
This past Easter Vigil, I received the sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion. It was such an unforgettable experience being up there with the 24 other catechumens and candidates, with our sponsors, and also up in front of all of you. You have all made us feel so welcome and supported as we embarked on this journey of faith.
I’ve had the great opportunity to live in such varied places as Italy, Kuwait, and the Bahamas before making my way to New York City, and I’ve truly never felt as at home as I do now within the St. Francis community. I first came to St. Francis with a friend who attends Mass here, and I haven’t stopped coming since. There is definitely something special about this church and everyone who comes here.
We had our first RCIA class way back in September and our last on May 22, and the time has gone by so fast. I’ve learned so much about the faith and about myself, and met such remarkable people who I now have the privilege to consider great friends.
I can’t speak highly enough about this place and I want to thank all of you! Everyone here is the reason St. Francis is such a wonderfully special place!
Editor’s Note: The HNP Communications Office welcomes essays from lay men and women around the Province for publication in future issues of this newsletter.