By Emilie Ng
SPOTTING a train pulling up at his local station in Perth, Mike Dooley had only one thought left in his mind – jump.
The suicidal, depressive man thought the only recovery from his traumatic childhood, one that left an after-taste of intense physical, verbal and sexual abuse was to take his own life.
“Psychiatric treatment didn’t help,” Mike said.
He was a “desperate” soul fed up with life and his lingering emotional wounds.
“I say desperate because I’d gone to jump out in front of a train,” he said.
“But I chickened out, fortunately.”
In 1973, instead of ending up dead on the train tracks, Mike found himself in the back of a Catholic church, smiling for “probably the first time in 38 years”.
“The easiest way to explain it is God saved my life,” Mike said. “I turned 180 degrees.”
A supernatural encounter of the Eucharist more than 40 years ago instantly turned Mike from being a suicidal, depressive person to a zealous evangeliser.
While he had previously adhered to attending the obligatory Sunday Mass “in case it was real”, this Sunday – December 16, 1973 – was different.
“I’ve been known to play poker in the backseat of the church during the homily, and unequally disinterested,” Mike said.
That year, as he sat next to his wife Mollie, Mike demanded God show Himself, prove He was real, and save His life.
“I stood up to go to Communion – I was in the back of the church so I could get out if I wanted to, I was pretty disinterested – and the face on the Crucifix smiled at me,” Mike said.
Mike claims when the Blessed Sacrament touched his tongue, his whole body “felt like burning coal”.
A “cool breeze” coming through a nearby ceiling window cooled him down, but by the time he returned to his seat, the then 38-year-old “had a stupid grin” on his face.
In a few minutes, Mike had been “instantly cured from the depression”.
“I wanted to jump up and yell out ‘alleluia’, but that would have caused a fuss with 450 seats and people standing,” he said.
When Mollie asked what was wrong with him, he simply replied, “I don’t know, but Jesus is real, and He loves me”.
“I had entered the church a depressive, but walked out on fire both for life and for Jesus,” Mike said.
He even called his psychiatrist and cancelled all future appointments.
“The psychiatrist couldn’t cope when I rang,” Mike said. “He said I needed him, that I was in trouble.
“I think I told him Jesus fixed me up.”
With a new love for life that he had never felt for almost 38 years, Mike “fell feet first” into the Charismatic Renewal, thirsting to attend prayer meetings daily.
Four years after his first healing incident his life took a new turn when he and Mollie and their four children packed their bags and moved to Brisbane to join the Emmanuel Community.
Travelling with 62 other charismatic Catholics, Mike settled into the community, working as their accountant between 1978 and 1996.
He is still an active member of the community, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this month.
Ever since his extraordinary Eucharistic encounter, Mike prays for any opportunities to evangelise and tell people his story.
Mike has sent his story to more than 466 email addresses, all collected from his “cheeky evangelisation”, despite having learning difficulties.
“I can’t point to scripture references to explain why Jesus is real,” Mike said.
“But to talk of what Jesus has done in my life, it’s not only easy, I always say, it’s ridiculously easy.
“I’ve only ever been abused once, but the way I carry on, I probably should be abused many times.”
While Mike feels blessed to have received countless healings from the Eucharist, it is the Blessed Sacrament itself that brings him the most joy.
The Kedron parishioner is also proud to be one of the prolific people serving as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, being rostered on eight out of 13 times so far this year.
“I get excited at the consecration because I know what’s happening,” Mike said.
“The Eucharist is a healing sacrament, therefore it’s the intention of Jesus to heal people – emotionally, physically, spiritually – so therefore I claim healing for them.”
Once you’re “zapped” with Jesus’ healing power, Mike believes there’s no going back.
“The desire to spread the Word of God is something we should have as a result of our baptism,” he said.
“I never used to pray, but when Jesus healed me, I wanted to read the Bible and I wanted to pray.”
Mike’s signature sign-off is perhaps his second-best-known story.
“I always tell people, ‘Jesus loves you heaps’,” he said.
To contact Mike email firstname.lastname@example.org