A Catholic Calling

I believe I have had a very lucky life. As a young child, I was encouraged to read the stories of Jesus and develop my faith by attending school scripture or what is known now as Special Religious Education (SRE).

My family were not Catholic, I was baptised into the Methodist Church and while I attended services with my family, as I grew older, I felt a calling to know and be more. When I was very young, we moved to Maitland and I engaged in scripture at my primary school. I ended up asking mum and dad if they would take me to Sunday school.  Dad dutifully drove me over to East Maitland every week for several years so I could attend. I really enjoyed learning about Jesus and engaging with the other children in activities.

I made friends with the girl down the street and her family were Catholic. They attended the Catholic Church which I lived across the road from every weekend without fail, occasionally I accompanied my friend and her family.

At the time of secondary school enrolment, I told mum I was going to school with my friend. She said, ‘you can’t go to school with your friend because she is going to a Catholic school’. This did not deter me and just for my appeasement, mum rang up St Joseph’s at Lochinvar. We went out to meet Sister Anita and Sister Agnes and by the end of the evening, and with my determination, I was in.

When I was in Year 8, I was well and truly entrenched in the parish folk group. I learnt to play the guitar, which I loved and had a passable voice for singing. Our group became quite famous in Maitland Catholic Church circles. We were asked to lead the music at the Pro-Cathedral on Saturday evenings, we thought we had made into the big time!

Friendships were formed and even a couple of marriages. I guess you could say that we were like a Catholic Youth/ Young adult Group, I am still friends with many of those people today.

My mentor was a terrific older gentleman, Father Kevin Carroll. He recognised my love for the Catholic Church and asked me one day, whether I wanted to become a Catholic. I did not really know that there was anything that I had to especially do to become Catholic, I guess I felt Catholic anyway.

Since I became a Catholic, I feel my life was changed significantly and believe it was the best decision I have made. I have lived and worked for the Catholic Diocese all my adult years and am still learning about the beauty and sacramental nature of our faith and how relationships with others is paramount. That is exactly why I am passionate about RCIA and SRE, I want other people to have the beautiful gift that I received 45 years ago.


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Jennie Nolan Image
Jennie Nolan

Jennie Nolan is a Family Ministry Co-ordinator, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle