A journey back to mass3 Sep 2015
Despite growing up Catholic and attending Catholic schools, until recently I had stopped regularly attending Mass.
It wasn’t in protest or because I was struggling with questions of faith or disagreed with church teachings.
I had just wandered off, mesmerised by the distractions with which we can too easily fill our lives. I am, however, beginning to see that in the past two years God has been drawing me back.
After moving to Canberra for work, I made my first real friends when I joined a young adults group at the Cathedral. The wonderfully warm welcome that I received that first night of prayers was a beautiful example of God working through people. This sense of community brought me to weekly prayers and Youth Mass once a month.
Then I had a memorable conversation with a friend.
One Sunday I asked her if she was going to Mass and she replied that of course she was going to Mass, she didn’t even think about it, it was a given that on a Sunday she would go to Mass. Ashamed I said nothing. That Sunday I went to Mass with her as well as the following Sunday and the Sunday after that.
By the time I travelled to Europe in July this year, I was determined to not miss Mass and with great joy went to Mass in different cities. I attended Mass in Copenhagen, Ghent, Paris and Galway.
My travels became somewhat of a pilgrimage; the churches were often tourist attractions in themselves but attending Mass felt so comforting, a dose of familiarity amongst the unfamiliar language, culture and customs.
On my return back to Canberra I realised that I am still on my journey back to God.
I have had some beautiful moments in the past three weeks. There was such an extraordinary feeling of homecoming attending Mass at the Cathedral and when I heard a priest who gives beautifully down-to-earth homilies relate the gospel back to the Canberra Raiders, I knew I was home.
Since my return, I have felt a growing connection with God and when I attend Mass I can hear God talk to me, through the gospel, the homily, the Eucharist, the welcome prayer and the final blessing. It’s an incredible connection that I’m holding on to with both hands. I am continuing my pilgrimage to different churches around Canberra where I am enjoying the off-beat, quirky or profound homilies, the sense of community in each Parish and experiencing the peace of being with God in God’s house.