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Acts of kindness part of God’s plan

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When COVID hit earlier this year things slowed down for many but for Kingsley Forsyth life got even busier as he found new ways to live out his Catholic faith and support those in need.

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From organising a movie fundraiser event for the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), hosting a fortnightly gathering for Catholic men to strengthen their faith, facilitating the distribution of holy water to the elderly who could not attend church, to personally assisting families severely impacted by the economic downturn and migrants needing help to gain government assistance during the pandemic, Kingsley – with the help of his wife Kanchana – has been all too happy to help.

“I do pack a lot into my days but I believe you just need to run with it, and trust that God will put the tools, people and opportunities in front of you as you journey, to get everything done,” the 36-year-old business manager told The Southern Cross.

“I will always try to be where ever God wants me to be. I try hard to listen, to discern what He is saying and then faithfully follow what I hear to the best of my ability.”

A member of the Cathedral parish for the past three years, Kingsley also takes on numerous roles within the church as a Eucharistic Minister, proclaimer of the Word, money counter, usher and member of the welcoming team. However, he admits his devout commitment to his Catholic faith hasn’t always been a feature of his life.

Born and raised in Adelaide and graduating from Rostrevor College in 2002, Kingsley, said while he was baptised Catholic and had a “modest” upbringing in the Church, he became disconnected from his faith in his early teens.

“I didn’t pray that often and when I did, I didn’t hear much from God, it was only silence,” he said.

But all that changed on Sunday March 5 2017 when he took his then girlfriend, now wife, to St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral to attend Mass.

“Kanchana (who is from Sri Lanka and was raised a Buddhist) had never stepped inside of a church before, plus I hadn’t been to a Sunday Mass for longer than I could actually remember so I figured it was as good a time as any to show her a Catholic Mass so she could better understand my childhood faith and how I was raised,” Kingsley explained.

“Some homilies speak more to you than others and this particular one given by the then Fr Charles Gauci was speaking right to my heart. I could feel the Spirit moving inside of me.

“I then happened to catch a glimpse of Kanchana’s face out of the corner of my eye and to my disbelief I saw she had tears streaming down her face.

“Afterwards she told me that in the Mass she had been overwhelmed by intense feelings of joy, acceptance, peace and contentment and like she had ‘finally come home’.

“This was all unexpected, and I can categorically say that we were both hit head-on by the Holy Spirit that day as it single handedly changed the course and direction of our lives.”

From that day the couple started to attend weekly Sunday Mass at the Cathedral and even some weeknights. Kanchana enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process and was baptised, confirmed and received her first Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil in 2018. Today she is part of the Cathedral RCIA team supporting others in their faith journey.

For Kingsley, his reversion to his Catholic faith brought many changes to his life.

“After that day two things happened – we made the Church the centre of our lives and we started conforming our lives to that of our faith. That meant making real tangible changes in our lives. Things that were once important were not, and things that were not important now were,” he said.

“We started to see opportunities everywhere for helping people in need. Helping people wasn’t important to us before, it was just something we never thought about. Now we see opportunities to help others everywhere.”

Close to his heart now is ACN, which supports the poor and persecuted Church around the world. In September he organised a fundraising event for friends at the Piccadilly Cinema to promote the Fatima movie, raising more than $800 for the charity.

Another ‘success’ this year has been founding the Adelaide Catholic Men’s Group.

The group comprises 10 men from different parishes who meet at Kingsley’s home and over pizza and refreshments enter “robust discussions” about their faith.

“The men have joined because they want to be part of an active Catholic brotherhood. It’s different to the Knights of the Southern Cross whose chief focus is charity. Our focus is faith formation and fraternity,” Kingsley said.

“Fr Anthoni Adimai (Cathedral parish) and Fr Selva Raj (Clearview/Kilburn) regularly join us and help run the interesting discussions. We have a different topic each time and it could be anything from the sacraments, Church history and theology, how to be a better Catholic father and husband, how to be a better Catholic in the community, and exploring the various leadership roles lay men can get involved in within their parish.”

Kingsley said there had been an “incredibly high demand” from men wanting to join the group but it had been decided to limit numbers. Instead he is willing to assist other men to establish their own groups and has recently created a step-by-step manual that they can follow.

Working with a financial planning firm, Kingsley said he was humbled to recently be “used by the Lord”, drawing on his financial expertise to assist a family from the Sri Lankan Catholic community who was in dire need during the pandemic. The Forsyths provided them with food, helped secure full time employment for the father and negotiated a rent reduction with their landlord. Kingsley has also helped numerous migrants to navigate JobSeeker and Centrelink, and supported others in drafting resumes for potential employers.

With their family life firmly focused on their faith, the couple are also proud that son Daanyaal was recently selected for the role of school captain of the Young Christian Student group at Blackfriars Priory School in 2021 for his final year there.

When asked where he sees himself in five years, Kingsley’s answer was simply, “wherever God wants me”. Whatever unfolds, he continues to be motivated by John 15:16, ‘I appointed you to go out and bear fruit – a fruit that will last’.

“I have always interpreted ‘fruit’ to mean an act of kindness,” he said.

“Our Lord once told us that soon the world will not see me, but they’ll see you, and see me in you. We must try to be His eyes of compassion, His hands of tenderness and His voice of kindness. Small and regular acts of kindness is a great place to start.”

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