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In the Season of Easter, the Church welcomes new converts into the faith by giving them their Sacraments of Initiation. In the spirit of the worldwide Synod on Synodality, which emphasizes listening to all people, we invited some of these newest Catholics who went through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process to share their testimonials.

Dena Zamanian from St. Peter & St. Paul, Alta Loma, was raised in the Muslim faith in her home country but says she never really practiced it. She eventually joined a non-denominational Christian church but always felt “serenity and peace” whenever she visited a Catholic Church.

Eventually Zamanian felt called to join the Catholic Church. While she was supported in her faith journey by her fiancé, she emphasized that it is important to decide to do this conversion for oneself instead of being influenced by outside factors.

“I would recommend [to anyone considering joining the Church]: Do it for yourself ... don’t do this because of a person or because of any other reasons. Just get to know God for yourself, because of saving yourself and finding that inner peace,” Zamanian said.

At the same time, Zamanian said that her fiancé was an important part of the process for her. “My fiancé helped me to grow and get closer to God and gave me more commitment in my faith, to the point that I wanted to get to know the faith more,” she said.

Another new Catholic, Rachel Casas, from Corpus Christi Parish, Corona, also spoke of the importance of others in the faith journey of those considering becoming Catholic. “If it weren’t for the people in my life that kind of led me to the Church, if there weren’t people reaching out, I think that would have been an obstacle,” she said.

Speaking of the Church more generally, newly initiated Catholic Si Nguyen from St. Peter & St. Paul, Alta Loma, said that the Church’s role towards catechumens should be “To be there with open arms, and welcome them back whenever they are ready.”

Nguyen’s words of encouragement to those considering becoming Catholic? “Have faith. Listen to what God is telling you. The path he has made for us is not always the easiest, but the most rewarding,” he said.