Why I became Catholic: Dad and daughter baptised into faith together

Mila’s godparents – Marisa’s brother Mitchell Correia and close family friend Carolina De Jesus Kaloudis, with Marisa, baby Mila, and Luke Gromek. Luke’s sponsor, Clinton Ludlow, is not pictured. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Mila’s godparents – Marisa’s brother Mitchell Correia and close family friend Carolina De Jesus Kaloudis, with Marisa, baby Mila, and Luke Gromek. Luke’s sponsor, Clinton Ludlow, is not pictured. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

I was born on 5 May, 1987, into a Catholic German family.

My early childhood memories are a blur to me, and I guess in many ways that’s a blessing.

At the young and vulnerable age of four, my biological mother and father decided they could no longer look after me; and placed me up for adoption.

My new family made the decision to not baptise me, as they wanted to leave that decision to me when I became older enough to understand what I wanted.

Fr Alan Gibson CM baptises Luke Gromek at St Vincent's Church. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Fr Alan Gibson CM baptises Luke Gromek at St Vincent’s Church. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

I grew up in Melbourne surrounded by many European and South American friends, and became very fascinated with their sense of family, culture, morals and strong belief in their church.

I knew from an early age that this is something I wanted for myself, but just never knew how to.

I was 19 years old when I decided to join the Army. I wanted to feel a part of something, a family, and more importantly that I was making a difference.

During my time in the Defence Force I was given the opportunity to be christened; however, shortly after I was deployed to Afghanistan.

And I was unable to fill that void I had.

It was when I was 23 that I met my wife, Marisa.

She came from a very close-knit Catholic family, and at first this was a lot for me to take in, as I had never been a part of something like that, and during our time together I expressed to her my interest in being baptised.

We went to visit her family in Portugal, where I had the privilege to visit a religious site of Our Lady of Fatima.

Something came over me when I was there and that strong want to be baptised came over me again. I attempted to be baptised there, but once again was unable to due to no reason of my own.

In 2015 we were blessed with the birth of our baby girl Mila, and it was her that pushed me once again to make my wish come true. I wanted to be baptised with my daughter, so that we could share our special day together, and create unforgettable memories for my little family.

I approached St Vincent’s parish in Ashfield, and inquired as to what I needed to do to get this done.

I began my RCIA program, and in doing this, it made it even clearer to me that this is something I wanted for myself and family more than anything.

With a special thank you to Marguerite and the rest of the RCIA crew, I completed the program in four months, and on 1 May, 2016, my daughter and I shared the second most special day of my life, the first being her birth and the second being baptised together. It was a very emotional day for me, and one that I am thankful for everyday.