STORMY conditions didn’t stop Jesus from entering the hearts of more than 100 new Catholics as they were welcomed into the Church in Brisbane at Easter.
The joy and hope of our Risen Jesus was experienced by thousands of parishioners across the state, especially during the Easter Vigil Masses.
Candidates and neophytes lined the pews for Baptism and/or Confirmation in all corners of Brisbane, from Sunnybank to Runcorn, and from Burleigh Heads to St Stephen’s Cathedral.
“We were blessed with four neophytes who were baptised and six candidates who received the Sacrament of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist,” St Stephen’s Cathedral associate pastor Fr Odinaka Nwadike said.
“It was a very beautiful Mass.”
One of the confirmed candidates who received her first Holy Communion was Brisbane woman Stacey Rae Hoelscher.
“It was really overwhelming in the sense that it was such a beautiful and profound experience,” Ms Hoelscher said.
“It was probably the best decision that I’ve made as an adult in my life. I just feel really fortunate and really blessed that this group was shown the journey with me.
“It was also beautiful to watch other people step back into their faith and have a renewed sense of purpose and restabilising that connection with God.”
In Runcorn, the Brisbane Chinese Catholic Community welcomed 24 new Catholics into the Church.
“We had 14 baptisms (four more than last year), and 10 children received their first Communion,” Franciscan Father Harry Chan said.
“Despite the rain, we still had a lot of people come to the Mass.”
Fr Chan said citizens from China joined the Church in Australia every year.
“People migrate here for a better life, a better education,” he said.
“Through different activities – maybe friends and family – they join our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program, or they want their children to go to a Catholic school so they ask about faith and Catholicism.”
The break in drizzly conditions was welcomed at Burleigh Heads parish on the Gold Coast when it welcomed seven of its own candidates into the Church.
“It was actually really nice – it didn’t rain at all from the moment we started up the Easter fire to the moment everyone got in their cars to go home,” parish priest Fr Morgan Batt said.
Fr Batt said the Easter Vigil was an opportunity to gather the Gold Coast Catholic community together as one to worship our Lord.
“We have eight communities here in our parish and we had people from different churches so we just had one vigil,” he said.