"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." Is 49:15
My mother died when I was 5. Her death shattered my world. I'm sure she never forgot us but I felt forgotten. I was one of seven. My father later married a widow of 4 and had 4 more for a total of 15 children. In the town where we grew up, this was way too many children.
We were Catholic in a town that believed Catholics got it all wrong. I was a social misfit. I was often told, "You know all you Catholics are going to hell don't you?" Our prayer life consisted of Mass, Stations of the Cross and reciting formal memorized prayers (like the rosary). I usually spent the time "counting down" the prayers rather than actually praying. I paid little attention to the words. I knew nothing of the Bible. I was poorly catechized and poorly formed, but God had not forgotten about me.
Michael is a 32 years old Catholic Christian who came home in December 2007 to the Church after 15 years away. His story like many, as of falling away from the Sacraments after Confirmation and only to later return to the Church.
December 24, 2007 is a date I won't forget. This past Christmas Eve (December 2010) marks three years since I made the official decision to return to the Catholic Church after some 15+ years away. It was my conscious effort to follow Christ and his Church - my "Yes, Lord". Beginning with several notable occurrences in the prior year, I made the decision to attend Midnight Mass by myself at the local Mission. I chose this place for several reasons. It was close, I had been there for a wedding in 2006 and lastly, I was baptized there as an infant, so it is a special place to me. Why not a rebirth there? I had not been to a Catholic Church (outside of funerals or weddings) on my own accord since my confirmation in 1992. In fact, I more or less feared setting foot in a church as it wasn't something I was comfortable doing. Add to that comments from many and society's labels and it is almost taboo. When I would drive by a Catholic Church, my conscience always nagged at me, but I would tend to find some excuse. I had always known that I would return one day, however my answer was "later", "sometime", or "not yet". That time was now.
John is a former East End Gangster turned Christian who now travels internationally speaking to others about how his life changed.
My name is John Pridmore and this is my story.
I was born in the East End of London at the Salvation Army Hospital. Though I was baptised as a Catholic I never went to a Catholic school or to church. At the age of ten I came home on a normal night and my parents told me I had to choose who I wanted to live with because they were getting divorced. I loved my parents so much and I couldn’t choose because the two people I loved the most had just crushed me. It was then that deep down inside I made a choice not to love anymore because I thought if I don’t love I won’t get hurt.