Young couple find happiness in their return to the faith

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Chris Milton and his fiancé Katarina. Chris was baptised and confirmed at Maternal Heart of Mary Church in Lewisham last weekend.photo: Patrick J. Lee

Becoming Catholic means living your life to honour God while truly loving your partner

For somebody of no religion just 12 months ago, Chris Milton has taken an incredible leap of faith. The 24-year-old electrician was baptised into the Catholic Church last weekend and not only thanks God, but girlfriend Katarina Perkovic for the “incredible graces” he has received.

“I still find it a little hard to believe how incredibly happy I am,” he beamed.

He said receiving the Sacrament at Lewisham’s Maternal Heart of Mary Church, which celebrates a traditional Latin Mass, has left him feeling open to a life honouring God and following the teachings of the Church.

“I still find it a little hard to believe how incredibly happy I am,” he beamed.
“Becoming Catholic means living your life to honour God while truly loving your partner.
“I guess you don’t know what you don’t know so if it wasn’t for Kat I wouldn’t know about the incredible graces I am now blessed with.

Chris Milton entering the Catholic faith through baptism Photo: Patrick J Lee

“Our lives are so much richer today and we are both so truly grateful for what we have received.” For Chris, the path to conversion was at times a little “bumpy”, but looking back believes God had a plan for him to meet his partner and embark on a journey together to discover his true self.

“I couldn’t marry anybody who didn’t share my faith so I told Chris we needed to rethink our future”

And if that meant facing some life-changing decisions it has all been well worthwhile.
After living together, partying and making “bad choices” for a few years, Katarina decided their lifestyle left her feeling unfulfilled and empty and set off on a journey to find what was missing. The cradle Catholic had drifted from one religion to another but nothing really gave her true joy. She began to look into her own faith and what it meant to have a meaningful relationship with Jesus.

The more she questioned, the more she found and discovered that just because you identify as Catholic doesn’t mean you know what that means. And with that came some changes … including her relationship with Chris. To truly embrace her “reversion” to the Church, she knew she needed to set some boundaries within their relationship including her living arrangements and decided to move back home.

A beautiful way for Christian couples ot prepare for marriage is to focus on the third person in their relationship – God.

She told Chris that while she loved him she also loved God and that they could not survive as a couple if he did not share her faith, forcing the young couple to face some pretty harsh realities. “I was not pressuring Chris in any way, I just had to be honest to him and myself and let him know how I was feeling,” she said. “I knew to be truly Catholic, Chris and I couldn’t go on living together. I knew there was a real risk our relationship might not survive – but it was something I had to do.

“We really are so incredibly happy”

“While we continued dating, the deeper I delved I also knew I couldn’t marry anybody who didn’t share my faith so I told Chris we needed to rethink our future. “We had just gone into lockdown in March and rather than walk away he was so very gracious and said he would do some research into Catholicism and make an adult decision about his life and where he was heading.

Chris praying for the intercession of Our Lady after his baptism into Holy Mother Church Photo: Patrick J Lee

“He had seen the joy it had brought me and, I guess, wanted to see what it was all about for himself. “After weeks and weeks of research, talking to friends, priests and others within the Church he discovered how truly rich and beautiful it was and started coming to Mass with me … It didn’t take long for him to contact the RCIA office to seek instruction which culminated in his baptism.

“Right before my conversion, I was definitely wrestling with God. I had the sense God was becoming ever more present in my life and calling me to faith, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready and then I remember I had bought this book of Bible quotes a few years prior, and I decided to open up to a random page.

“It was from Luke 9:24 ‘For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it’ and I remember that being a real turning point for me and when I read it to Chris he felt the same.

Jesus Christ statue
Beloved traditional statues adorn the 1920s church at Maternal Heart of Mary PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

“I am so proud of Chris and how far we have both come, we are such different people since becoming truly Catholic, it has brought us that much closer together and our relationship is the strongest it’s ever been, we really are so incredibly happy.”
Following Chris’s baptism, the young couple are now looking towards 2021 and are planning a Betrothal Ceremony before entering into – and receiving – the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

“Not so long ago I was a proud atheist and – I thought – happy. But today I now see what true happiness really is”

For Chris, being welcomed into the Church has left him feeling grateful and, for the first time in a long time, at peace.

“Not so long ago I was a proud atheist and – I thought – happy. But today I now see what true happiness really is,” he said. “Kat and I are so much stronger sharing our faith. We have been on a beautiful journey together and for that we are so very blessed … Getting baptised at Maternal Heart of Mary Church has made me feel different and I value the beauty and reverence of the Latin Mass so incredibly.

Realising the true presence of the Eucharist, kneeling and taking it on the tongue in such a Holy setting is so very beautiful. “I cannot wait to take the next step in our lives together as proudly committed Catholics.”