By Emilie Ng
STEFFANIE Le and Simon Brown are among thousands of Catholics worldwide who will add another “birthday” celebration to their calendars from now on.
Both Mrs Le and Mr Brown picked April 4, or this year’s Easter Vigil date, to celebrate their baptism date as new Catholics.
They were among four newly baptised Catholics who entered into the Church during this year’s Easter Vigil Mass at St Mary’s, South Brisbane.
“Of all my life achievements, I think this is the biggest one that I’m so proud,” Mrs Le said.
Mrs Le, who is Vietnamese, was formerly a practising Buddhist married to a Catholic.
Even as a Buddhist, Mrs Le admits to having a “higher knowing of God”.
“I just had this pull towards God and Jesus at a young age, even when I was a Buddhist,” she said.
“It just happened last year that I felt a presence of something bigger than me, something that was more profound than what I was taught.”
After dropping off her husband’s grandmother to St Mark’s, Inala, where St Mary’s South Brisbane’s parish priest Capuchin Father Lam Vu is from, Mrs Le said she felt God in the church.
“I saw Fr Vu in Inala preach and I had to drop my husband’s grandmother in to church, and it was August last year,” she said.
“I remember dropping her off at church looking through the front door, and I said to my husband, ‘God is in there’.
“I made an excuse to take a photo of his grandmother at church, so I hopped out of the car, got his grandmother and I looked in and I just felt this presence of Godly love and grace, and I was a Buddhist then.
“I said to the grandma, Ba ba, ‘God is here today, God is in this house’.
“She looked at me, and said, ‘Is he really?’
“And I said, ‘Yes, trust a Buddhist’.
“I can’t describe it …
“It’s like the Holy Spirit was guiding me there; I cannot say it in any other way.”
Mrs Le said her faith had been solidified by the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), and understanding the Mass and the sacraments.
“It’s been a long journey but I feel so amazingly at peace,” she said.
Mr Brown, originally from Essex in the United Kingdom, decided about 18 months ago to become a Catholic.
“I’m nearly 50 and I was never baptised,” he said.
“I suppose I had a Christian upbringing, and my parents baptised my older sister and brother but not me, for some reason.”
Mr Brown said he had never attended church regularly, but learnt about God at school.
When he was 18, a good friend died and inspired him to read the Bible, “but I never sort of took that step at the time”.
Mr Brown took the first step last year when he entered RCIA to become a Catholic.
Arriving in Australia 10 years ago, Mr Brown went to Mass to support his wife, Gillian, and their now two children, Daisy and Fletcher.
He said going to Mass and witnessing the faith in his family convinced him that the Church was right.
“You realise the sort of material things we often get engrained in aren’t important things,” Mr Brown said.
“It was through those things, the importance of family, that got me to think about God a bit more.
“It was about a year, year-and-a-half ago, I just decided that it was right.”
Both Mrs Le and Mr Brown thanked Fr Vu for being a “fantastic teacher” and for helping them in their faith journey.