Tom ‘spring cleans’ to the faith
Tom Rickit had accumulated a lot of clutter over the years, bad stuff, things that were pulling him down.
He’d grown up in New Zealand where he says he was a “brat”, a wayward youth who mixed with the wrong crowd.
Later, as an adult, he battled his demons. This included boozing, which was getting “out of kilter” he says.
In the 1980s Tom moved to Canberra.
He wasn’t a Catholic but about 15 years ago he started tagging along to Mass with a friend who was.
He kept going to Mass and over the years found himself being increasingly drawn to the faith.
About a year ago, he picked up a Rosary and began praying to the Virgin Mary.
Though still not a Catholic, he felt such a strong connection to the Mother of God that he joined the Society of Mary.
“She helped me get rid of a lot of junk,” Tom says.
Now in his late 60s, it was just the spring clean he needed.
Last year he entered the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program at the South Tuggeranong parish.
It caused him to look back over his life, to sort through all the baggage.
“Why did God pick me?” Tom asked himself.
He did not wait for an answer.
Wearing a white shirt and his pearl Rosary, Tom received the Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation) from Fr James Antony at the parish’s Easter Vigil.
Two others were received into the faith with him that night, Sharon and Chloe Grant.
It was Chloe, aged 11, who began the journey for mother and daughter.
Through the inspiration of Catholic friends, Chloe had wanted to become a Catholic. Through the inspiration of her daughter, Sharon wanted to do likewise.
Tom and Sharon are among about 50 undertaking the RCIA program in the Archdiocese. Chloe came through an RCIA program directed to older children.
Like Tom, many on RCIA will have their stories of inspiration and hope, and of doubt and uncertainty.
In Tom’s case, however, he is sure about one thing.
“God saved me,” he says.