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New Catholics become part of the family


New Catholics received a warm welcome to the Church from Archbishop Patrick O’Regan when he celebrated a special Mass in their honour last month

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The Mass for new Catholics is always a significant celebration in the life of the Archdiocese and while this year’s event was delayed for several months due to COVID-19 restrictions, it still evoked strong emotions in those who have made the decision to convert to Catholicism.

This year there were 21 candidates in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process who were baptised and another eight accepted into full communion.

The Murray Bridge parish had six candidates who were led through the process by Fr John Vildzius and pastoral associate Marg Daly.

“It was quite an unusually high number of candidates this year for us, but it was lovely,” Fr Vildzuis said.

One of the candidates, Valerie Scott, 49, said she had enjoyed her RCIA journey and learnt a lot from other Catholics attending who were “very knowledgeable, helpful and understanding with their own questions and points of view”.

Married to Mark, who is Catholic, and with three adult children who have all gone through the sacramental program, Valerie said she first began thinking about becoming a Catholic a couple of years ago when she was undertaking studies for her work.

“I am a teacher at St Joseph’s School, Murray Bridge and two years ago I decided to do my graduate certificate in Catholic Education,” she explained.

“I really enjoyed Christian Scriptures and it was during the Theology unit that I started to think seriously about becoming a Catholic.

“When the RCIA information night was mentioned in The Bulletin I thought I might just go along and see how I felt and what was involved.”

Valerie said it was great to be supported by family and work colleagues when she was baptised and confirmed in Murray Bridge on July 26.

“I was very excited and nervous on the day and was extremely happy that one of our daughters came along – our son was working and our other daughter lives in Melbourne so couldn’t attend, sadly.

“It was great to see so many work colleagues at the service and also Ronald Mafara’s parents and sister. I loved listening to him read the readings as he so often did each Sunday.” (Ronald, 18, was a parishioner at Holy Redeemer Church and passed away unexpectedly in February this year).

Andrew Bensch with Archbishop O’Regan at the Mass.

Another candidate, Andrew Bensch, said he felt “truly blessed” when he was welcomed into the Church and confirmed on June 20 at Murray Bridge.

Baptised as a baby in the Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea, Andrew said he decided to convert to Catholicism because his wife Edna is Catholic and he wanted to be “as one with her and as one with God”.

“It is very important to me to continue my faith hand-in-hand with my wife and to feel the Love of God in our marriage, while attending church together, both as Catholic.”

Andrew described the RCIA process a “wonderful”.

“It made me feel like I was in a family, all sharing in the Love of God through our Lord Jesus Christ’s teachings. I felt my heart and soul was filled with the Holy Spirit which gave me great comfort which I enjoyed so much.”

Andrew added he appreciated all the “help, support and love” given to him on his faith journey.

“It has warmed my heart so much to feel a part of the amazing family here, I am so blessed.”

For more information about the RCIA process contact Kathy Horan at, phone 8210 8130 or


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