University is a place where people explore the depths of life, engage their minds and hearts, encounter their faith in a new way, and meet new friends who share and support them in the faith. It is always a great encouragement when young people gather the courage to step out, as it were, onto the waters, just as Peter did. This Easter two students were received into the Church and three others received the Sacrament of Confirmation. We were delighted that our new Bishop, Rt Revd Paul Swarbrick, was able to be with us to celebrate this great occasion.
Here, Rani, who is from Indonesia, shares what the day meant to her.
“Reflection on being Baptized (22 May 2018) It has been almost two weeks now since my baptism. Within the first week, people congratulated me – be it in person or via Facebook and Instagram. Even those who I did not usually speak to, drop a message to congratulate me. Then came the questions:” why did you get baptized?”, “did you convert?” and reactions like “It’s brave of you to get baptized”. Regardless, what awes me the most is that what I thought to be a personal faith affirmation sparks various discussions regarding faith. A Hindu friend asked about what being baptized means; discussion with Muslim friend on faith journey; some Eastern Orthodox friends talked about how they were already being baptized since baby and become a Christian by default, not having the opportunity to experience what I just had. Yesterday, I had the privilege to share with a born-Buddhist friend who has been thinking to get Baptized for some time. I did not – in my wildest imagination – imagine of things like this happening because of someone getting baptized. Who would have thought that what you experienced can causes ripples in other people? Being baptized, and receiving the Eucharist has been a longing.
“It all started with an innocent desire: to be able to receive the Holy Communion. During Friday Masses when I was in primary school, I used to look at my friends who were lining up to receive the Communion in jealousy. Then there was the matter of continuing to a Catholic junior high, but had problem because although my family register stated me as Catholic but I could not produce Baptist certificate when asked. This event marked the start of my faith journey. I have been exposed to both Catholic and Christian teachings in the past decade, both through school and life events. I found myself turning toward God the most after tremendous griefs at life to find healing and encouragement, and these same times brought awareness and questions to what I really believe in. As I attended sermons, Bible study groups, interacting with both Catholic and Christian friends, there were some points when the longings intensified. Yet something is still missing. Something does not yet click. It was not until Sukriti who invited me to Christmas Eve Mass and attending several Masses in the New Year that finally it clicked. The realization that Catholic Church is universal, of its unchanging nature and its love toward even people from non-Christian beliefs brought inner peace. After praying and some self-affirmation, I decided to email Fr Philip on 24 January 2018. I did not know that when he read it the next day, it was the feast of the Conversion of St Paul the Apostle until he told me. And the rest is history.
“To sum it up, I would say the whole experience is both beautiful and wonderful. The few days before the big day, I got the impression of the whole waiting thing like a bride-to-be counting for the wedding day; excited and nervous at the same time. Afterwards, you realize that God works wonders in unimaginable ways which He will do even more through us in this point onward”.