We relocated to Ireland in 2013 having lived in London for many years and the previous six in Malaysia. Our Parish church was Saint Francis Xavier in Petaling Jaya, Selangor run by the Jesuits. Mass attendance was high and there was a thriving youth presence. It was sad to return to an Ireland who had forgotten her Christian roots and despised her Christian heritage. I had been doing Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) in Kuala Lumpur, a Protestant bible study group but wonderful, enthusiastic, bible loving people and open to all denominations. It didn’t weaken my love for my Catholic faith but made me more hungry for it. So once we were settled in Ireland I began to look for a bible study group to satisfy my desire to be around people of Faith and to explore deeper God’s Word. When you seriously look for God with a heart full of desire, He more than satisfies and in my search for a bible study group, He opened the door to an even greater quest – the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which not only includes knowing the bible but what our Church teaches, from, who shall be saved to the notion of a just war. We hear about the early Church, the Church fathers, the great doctors of the Church, Church authority/apostolic succession and the importance of Scripture and Tradition. This is a resource where you will not be taught error only how to live in right relationship to God and our neighbour. It teaches what it is to be a human person, created in the image and likeness of God, imbued with dignity and an immutable nature, the kind of knowledge that sets us free to rightly align our lives to God. As the Psalmist sings, “the precepts of the Lord, gladden the heart.”
My group is in Midleton, the Diocese of Cloyne and we are a group of people caught up in the beauty, truth and goodness of our Faith. We are fortunate to have Canon Colman O’ Donovan as our Spiritual Director, we couldn’t ask for more. Our Catholic Church is stunning in its beauty and swimming in the truth. Paragraph 1718 of the Catechism tells us about our desire for happiness; God placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to Himself who alone satisfies. St Thomas Aquinas says, “what God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do; Truth Himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.” The Catholic Church is Christ here on earth, where else can we go.
I can’t recommend the CCC enough and am so grateful to Christ for the gift of the Catholic Church, for Her teachings, doctrines, wisdom and Her job to make saints out of sinners. I am reminded also of what Pope Francis said, that “the church is not a sanctuary for saints but a hospital for the sick.”