Six years ago, having completed RCIA, Janet and her husband had the joyous Easter experience of being welcomed into the Catholic Church. In the intervening years, their journey of faith has continued. Although the road has not always been smooth, Janet has found that a number of practices and ideas have sustained and nourished her faith, helping her stay connected to God. She shares them here with those who have recently been baptised or received into the Catholic Church—and those of use who have been on the journey a bit longer.

My husband and I come from a Protestant background, but after some years of wandering between various denominations, we found ourselves considering Catholicism.

Our journey wasn’t straightforward. We didn’t both reach the conclusion that this was the way to go at the same time. Our initial attendance at Mass was far from a comforting experience. We didn’t know what to do or when, and the environment and people in it were all unfamiliar to us. To begin with, we felt very out of place.

But once we started RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), everything changed. The team was so warm and inviting, without being pushy in any way, that we soon started to feel a sense of belonging and inspiration among this group of devoted people, who showed love, wisdom and commitment every step of the way. It was so nice to walk into church and see familiar faces and strike up friendly conversations. Now we had friends and ‘coaches’ who could normalise our experiences, answer our questions, and comfort and support us.

In 2018, we were received into the Catholic Church. That will always be a very special Easter for us, with many wonderful memories.

When I think about what has been important in keeping us connected to our faith over the years, it has been the simple things.

The subsequent journey hasn’t always been easy. As with most people, the COVID-19 situation took its toll on our lives, including our faith lives, but the introduction we had through RCIA stood us in good stead and provided a solid foundation, so that although we stumbled, we thankfully found our way through to the other side.

When I think about what has been important in keeping us connected to our faith over the years, it has been the simple things, and not the complex, that have been most important.

Here are a few of the ideas (in no particular order) that I have found helpful.

Saying grace

We say grace, in simple language, every day. It’s usually something along the lines of: ‘Thank you Father/God/Jesus for this food and the hands that prepared it. Please bless it to our bodies.’

We may elaborate on this to include other needs, such as if someone is sick or travelling away from home, or if there are any other issues relating to school, work, health or stress, or if we have friends visiting, and so on.

As the family often come together for at least one meal on any given day, it is an opportunity for us all to connect with God through prayer and, with gratitude, acknowledge that he provides our sustenance.

Visible reminders

There is so much coming at us incessantly that is not aligned with Christian values, and which can sweep us away on a torrent of negativity and hopelessness. Having reminders in the house, in whatever form you most relate to—ours include icons, Bible verses, inspirational paintings, candles, sometimes flowers and plants, or other sentimental items, even a single word on a plaque (such as gratitude, peace, hope or love)—can help to keep you connected with your faith and remind you that it is Jesus who carries you.

Consciously acknowledging the awe-inspiring

Creating a habit of ‘noticing and observing’, of living mindfully, has been a helpful faith practice for me. Slowing down to notice the stunning beauty of nature is one aspect—the dew glistening on an incredibly intricate spider web, the sound of the wind through the trees, insect music, the feel of the sunshine on my back, the brilliant twinkling of the stars at night, the wide, open sky and strangely shaped clouds, the beautiful warbling of birds, the endlessly shifting ocean, and so on. For me, connecting with the experience of ‘awe’—a feeling state that cannot be explained by science, but that can be felt when we gaze into God’s creation with our ‘glasses off’ and notice how it truly sparkles—is a spiritual experience, and I thank God for being there and for that opportunity.

Embracing the Church calendar

My faith is also sustained by the interweaving of rituals and traditions of daily life, and by the seasons of the Church calendar—the most obvious of these being the period through Lent and the build-up to Easter morning. Embracing the emotional journey that goes along with this very deep and meaningful season has made our connection with our faith feel alive.

Choosing to do something differently because of your faith brings you to a heightened level of consciousness ... daily spiritual life feels that little bit fresher, sharper and more invigorating.

Although it is a practice that is barely recommended anymore, there is much to be said for ‘fasting’ (whether that be from food, objects or negative habits). Choosing to do something differently because of your faith brings you to a heightened level of consciousness, because when you make this change, you need to do it consciously, with awareness, or you will slip back into your old habits. As a result, I find that daily spiritual life feels that little bit fresher, sharper and more invigorating. Because you are doing it for your faith, it feels special and meaningful.

Social connections with fellow Catholics

If you don’t have a friend who has a strong faith, consider how you could make one. This is very important—especially for us newbies and returnees! We are no longer living in a culture that is predominantly Christian, and we don’t necessarily come from Catholic family traditions, so it is easy to quickly feel isolated and then to drift aimlessly.

There are many opportunities to join in ministries in the Church. It feels a bit scary at first to volunteer, but there is often training, and ultimately you can help your parish function well, as well as reinforce your sense of belonging in the parish community.

If you can find time to attend talks or groups run by your parish or the Church more broadly to continue your education and to remain inspired and connected, that is always helpful.


Try to attend Mass regularly. This looks different for everyone. If you aren’t going, ask yourself why: what’s not working for you? I go through these periods sometimes. It may be that at times we need to adjust something within ourselves, and sometimes it’s okay to give ourselves permission to ‘explore’. If you need to change your parish because it is not working for you, that’s okay. The most important thing is to do whatever you need to do to keep your faith alive and to keep following Christ.

I also recommend visiting a monastery if you haven’t. When I was at a low point recently, speaking with a brother at a monastery was such a comforting and healing experience.

Personal prayer

I don’t do much in the way of formal prayer, although I do understand the importance of it, and I have used formal prayers in the past, sometimes when going through a difficult period where I have found it difficult to express myself or have felt ‘cut off’ from God.

Talking to God is very important. You can’t sustain a relationship without good communication!

These days, though, I prefer to talk to God in everyday language and sometimes in short snippets throughout the day—in the moment of a particular experience, sometimes it’s a question, sometimes a statement, sometimes words of appreciation or an observation of something, sometimes an expression of emotion or a plea. I usually say a longer prayer at bedtime. Talking to God is very important. You can’t sustain a relationship without good communication!

Reading and inspiration

I keep motivational Christian reading material next to my bed. I can’t read long and complex tracts for long periods. I prefer something that is laid out in bite-size chunks, allowing me to read for five minutes before bed or five minutes in the morning and feel that I have come away with one important message for my day. I consciously try to hold onto that message throughout my day.

I hope that somehow, these ideas may be helpful to you, even in providing inspiration or a stimulus for your own ideas and practices.

May you be filled with the hope of the risen Christ this Easter.