My journey of faith began when I was about 19 years and had just finished secondary school. My parents decided that it was time for me to get married and move on with my life.
At the same time, I began to make Saturday journeys up to Mount St Benedict, not for any special reason, but mainly to enjoy the view and check out the females.
My parents were firm in their resolve and one Saturday when I returned from the Mount, I met a family at our home and my parents informed me that I was getting engaged.
I am from a Muslim/Hindu background, where you had to obey your parents; it was about honour and respect. So, I got engaged as they wished, the girl and her family left and I continued with my life.
My Muslim/Hindu background was a formality that we followed, to please our parents. We participated in all the rituals, but lived our lives based on our personal interests and decisions.
One Saturday morning in 1975, while I was sitting up at the Mount, right opposite the grotto of Our Lady, the statue came alive and spoke to me and said “I will lead you to my Son”. Well, you can imagine, I left there at once, but I was drawn back for another time and the same thing happened.
All kinds of emotions flowed through me. I went to speak to a young man, now Fr Harold Imamshah. He introduced me to Fr Ildefons Schroots OSB, who became a lifelong friend and my Spiritual Director. He pointed me to the St Charles Parish in Tunapuna, where I lived.
One night as I was going to cinema, I dropped into a charismatic prayer meeting at St Charles. After the preaching, there was an altar call, I had no intention of going up, but I felt pushed to the front by some unseen force.
They laid hands on me and the next thing I knew, I was out for about one hour. When I got up, I was feeling stupid and ashamed. I did not want to go back but there was a longing in me to attend the next Monday.
I became constantly present at prayer meetings, joined the converts’ class, became a full member of the Catholic Church and a household member of Eternal Light Community.
You are probably wondering about my engagement. Well after about six months, I went to her home and called it off. This caused a big uproar in my family, so much so that my father disinherited me and asked me to leave.
For the first time I was on my own, but I was learning to pray, to read scripture and I had people who supported me spiritually. I entered the Regional Seminary and with the physical and prayerful support of many, I was ordained on Sunday, June 18, 1989.
I am grateful to have baptised my parents and seen my ten siblings become Catholic.