Where to begin? So much has happened; my life has changed. I guess there’s no where better to start than the beginning.

I became addicted to drugs around the age of 21, and continued to use drugs more and more all the way up to The Night. By that I mean the night I walked into a St. Catherine’s in Morgan Hill, CA. It was Christmas Eve, my family was all gathered at my sister’s in Gilroy for the occasion, and I was sent out to go to the store for some last minute items.

I had never really considered religion before, except to ponder and accept that my children would be Catholic, as their mother was (I had dated two different Catholic girls, one for 3 years, and one for almost 9 years, so I was pretty sure I would marry a Catholic). I had been attending various support groups for some time now (AA, NA, and the like), as well as been in and out of several rehabs, all with varying successes, and failures. I felt helpless and alone.

Upon walking out of Safeway and to my truck, the church was beckoning. I can’t quite describe it fully except to say that it felt warm, and welcome. Something I hand’t felt in a long time. I quietly slipped in the doors and stood in the back as the Priest gave his sermon. I didn’t know all the peoples responses, or what all the symbolism meant, but I was in definite aw of beauty inside the church. At the end of Mass I went to leave when a perfect stranger put out his hand and asked who I was. Before I knew it there were three or four more people gathered around as I told my story, the one I’m telling you now, except focusing much more on the time of addiction.

To my surprise I wasn’t shunned away, like had happened so many times before, but instead was welcomed with warm greetings, hugs, and even people praising the Lord for a Miracle. We al said our goodbyes and I went back to my sister’s to finish out the Christmas holiday with my family. I didn’t speak much of what had occurred at the time; I was still processing it myself.

When I arrived at home, in Trinidad, CA, a small fishing village far north of the Bay Area, I couldn’t get that experience out of my mind. I began to explore various churches of all denominations, when Robert, my church Sponsor, came into my life. Before long I knew that there was no place for me but Catholicism. I began RCIA and was baptized on Easter last year (2013).

I thank the Lord every day for showing me the light, for bringing Robert into my life, and for showing me how to forgive, and be forgiven. I ask our Lord every day to continue to bless us all, and to show me how to live my life more like he would want me to: to walk in his footsteps, to be more honest, to care for others, and to be a better Catholic.

I just wanted to share that short testament of what is was like for me, and how great God’s glory can be!

Josh Madrone