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From Darkness to Light
by Larry Power
  First Communion
It was here in St Patrick's Primary School with a number of others I made my first communion. There was the element of mystery and fear about the whole event. The local priest would come in occasionally to test our knowledge of the catechism though he was not a hard man by any means but kind and sympathetic I afterward learned that he had some contact with the gospel. This would be the first time that the wafer which is supposed to be the body and blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ would make contact with my tongue. We were instructed therefore not to allow contact with our teeth because it would bleed in our mouths. This thought filled me with dread and fear.

In this tradition I grew up attending mass faithfully, confessing my sins to a priest. The veneration of Mary, the worship of the saints, hoping they would pray for me and help me earn a place in heaven. I was chosen with others to be an altar boy, which was considered to be a great privilege. Mrs Cooney had the unenviable task of teaching us Latin because back then the mass was conducted in that language. As children, church and school taught us that we possessed the one true faith outside of which there was no salvation. Protestant churches were looked upon not as true churches in the true sense of the word.

Providence of God
I believe it was in the providence of God that I came to live in this village at an early age. Nothing happens by chance God governs the world and directs all things according to His own wise counsel. In Acts 17 v 26 we read, "He (God) has determined the bound of our habitation". He has laid out the place of our birth and the place of our residence.

First Job
When I left school at the age of 14 I went to work for a farmer, Victor Bennett whom I mentioned earlier. He was a Protestant belonging to the Church of Ireland, he was my very first contact with the gospel and the way of salvation. The gospel, which is the good news that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. My idea of getting to heaven was through the church, the sacraments and the priest. As far as I was concerned with my background and teaching this man was not a proper Christian at all. He was "not the real thing" as we would say, how ignorant and blinded I was. I expected then to have to spend a period of time in purgatory for my sins, but of course the Bible has nothing to say about such a place. Victor Bennett's testimony was different he related to me how he himself had become a Christian by putting his faith and trust alone in Christ as Saviour. He often told me in his own words that I needed to trust the Lord to save me and if I really and truly trusted Him He would save me.

He surely told me the truth because this is what the Bible teaches Acts 16 v 31 "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved and thy house". He taught me another valuable truth that I could go directly to God through the Lord Jesus Christ who is the only mediator between God and men. I needed no man on earth. Dear Roman Catholic friend listen to what God has to say in His word. You may look this up for yourself 1 John 1 v 9 "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness".

Come to Christ, have your sins forgiven and your soul saved!