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Homeless man finds peace in the Church

Journey home: Brisbane archdiocesan catechumens and candidates gathered at the Rite of Election to publically profess their intentions to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church at Easter.

Journey home: Brisbane archdiocesan catechumens and candidates gathered at the Rite of Election to publically profess their intentions to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church at Easter.

By Emilie Ng

GOLD Coast man Bill Deacon might be living in a colony for the homeless, but this Easter he will formally call the Catholic Church home.

The 74-year-old former Anglican of 26 years will be entering into full communion with the Church this Easter along with more than 90 other converts from the Brisbane archdiocese.

Mr Deacon is easy to spot, always dressed in the same well-worn blue construction overalls at Sunday Mass.

He wore the same overalls to the Rite of Election at St Stephen’s Cathedral on Sunday, March 9, when he and the other 90 catechumens from the archdiocese publicly professed their desire and intention to become Catholic.

The Rite of Election, or Enrolment of Names, is a formal step in the Church for all catechumens, who write their names in a book of those who will receive the sacraments of initiation, namely Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.

Brisbane auxiliary Bishop Brian Finnigan presided at the liturgy and welcomed the catechumens and candidates into their journey towards entering the Church.

Mr Deacon said in his heart he “was always Catholic” despite having been evangelised by a Lutheran and subsequently living a faithful life as an Anglican.

“If I were younger, I would be a priest, and that’s the honest truth,” he said.

Mr Deacon walked into the nearest Catholic Church, Mary Immaculate, in Ashmore last year. He has since found a home in the Ashmore Catholic parish and decided to enter into full communion with the Church this Easter.

Southport Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults co-ordinator Loreto Sister Elisabeth Keane said before heading up to Brisbane for the Rite of Election, Mr Deacon, despite not having a job or home, had given a friend in need “a few coins”.

Young mum Erica Fawcett always had “an inkling” to become a Catholic, but it wasn’t until her daughter’s baptism that she began taking steps towards entering the Church.

Mrs Fawcett, 29, said when her daughter Ella was born, she “felt strongly” about baptising her daughter as a Catholic.

Although her father and husband were Catholic, having her daughter baptised was the motivation to “take that step to have myself baptised also”.

Mrs Fawcett agreed that her daughter was an early evangelist.

“She’s already converted me to push me to have that step so I can learn with her and guide her as I learn,” she said.

Grovely parish will receive mother Nadine Gagliardi into the Church this Easter.

She last year decided to become a Catholic after attending a parish inquiry session for lapsed and non-Catholics.

When she returned home from the event, she told her husband, a Catholic, she had decided to become a Catholic.

“He was initially speechless,” Mrs Gagliardi said.

She said her immediate family was excited about her becoming a Catholic.

“My son went running up to someone, a little friend, and said, ‘Guess what – my mum’s a Catholic now,’” she said. “I felt so much joy from hearing him say it.”

Mrs Gagliardi said RCIA meetings had answered many of her reservations towards the Catholic Church.

“I’ve asked lots of questions because you’re not going to do something without knowledge, so I need to know what it is I’m doing,” she said.

Mrs Gagliardi said the past few months had increased her love for the Mass.

“I yearn to go to Mass every week, and I just love it,” she said.

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