I was born into my faith and baptised as a baby but, when my grandparents passed at a young age, my family slowly stopped going church.
Then my parents split up and I had quite a troubled childhood. Although I went to a Catholic school I was never really a practising Catholic and didn’t know much about my faith, although I always believed in God.
When I met my wife, I didn’t go to church and lived quite a secular lifestyle. It wasn’t until I became a father that I decided to go back to church; my first confession felt so relieving and then, when I had received the Eucharist for the first time since childhood, I had such an amazing feeling of Christ in me that, since that day, I haven’t really looked back.
My daughter will soon be at the age of receiving her communion for the first time. At times, church has caused some divisions in my household: I even have to keep my religious items in my spare room/office.
That being said, I think my wife has seen how much better a person I am when I am connected with the Church and God. Her Nanna, who was a devout Catholic all her life, recently passed and, at the hospital, I organised the Last Rites for her. After the Rites were prayed, a lovely nurse, who I believe was Catholic, came in afterwards with a big smile and said it was beautiful to listen to the prayer.
My wife was confused and afterwards asked why I was happy and smiling with the priest and the nurse when her Nanna was passing. I explained it was because it was a beautiful moment for us; it wasn’t witnessing the end but was, in fact, witnessing someone starting the beginning of a new life in Heaven.
For the first time, I saw her smile about the Faith. It helped her grieving, knowing how much faith I had that her Nanna’s soul had passed on.
She now comes to church most Sundays with us and even participates in some parish activities. With regard to a family member who doesn’t share the Faith, my best advice would be to avoid verbal discussions that can lead to heated arguments (as in my case) and live by example. They will see that your faith is good and hopefully one day understand and, who knows, may one day feel the connection with God and Church that we have.