Hello to whoever is reading this. I am writing to tell you about my experience in a Shalom Catholic prayer group in hope that it may encourage you in your walk with God, to try something new and let God guide you. Or maybe you want to hear about what Shalom has
been doing in the Boston community. My name is Hugo Meggitt and I am 28 years old. This past April, I entered fully into the Catholic Church after decades of living separated from God. It is the beginning of a new chapter in my life and I am very thankful for the opportunity to share my experience with you.
My journey with the Shalom Catholic Community started on a warm summer Sunday. I had decided it was time to try out the Catholic Church to see if it was truly the place Jesus was calling me to be. I don’t remember if I even needed to search for the nearest Catholic Church on my phone since I happened to live within 2 blocks of St. Anthony’s of Padua in East Cambridge, MA. I knew very little about the church but showed up for the 10:30 mass and mostly observed with wonder and joy as the mass proceeded. Not knowing much about what to do during or after the mass ended, I awkwardly walked out of the Church, definitely without genuflecting, towards my home. Before I could get far, I was approached by two lovely missionaries, Malu and Justine.
We exchanged contact info and they invited me to come to an online prayer group and to their house for dinner later that week. I had no plans and was interested in learning more about them and their Community so I agreed. The rest is history. The community invited me to weekend prayer retreats (via Zoom due to the Pandemic) and then ultimately into a weekly prayer group.
My experience with the Shalom Community has helped me immensely in learning about the Catholic faith and finding a Community of fellow believers.
Group prayers have also been a source of deep feelings of connection with our Lord and those in my prayer group. One of my first experiences with the Shalom Community was with the Fully Alive retreat (Life in Spirit Seminar) which was done on zoom. I remember truly feeling God’s presence in our group prayers during the retreat.
I was also excited by the number of people at the retreat and looked forward to getting to know those people. The feeling I was left with after the retreat, as well as the missionaries who continued reaching out to me after, is what led me to participating in a weekly prayer group on Thursdays.
Some notable moments in the past year that God has allowed me to experience through his work in the Shalom Community are meeting my prayer group leaders Matthew, Malu and Carol who have each shown me remarkable friendship. Matthew has offered his time as well as his wisdom and experience to guide me through some tough personal decisions I had to make. Malu and Carol have both shown me joy and radiate authenticity in a way that rubs off on everyone around them. They are present in my life and have helped me to feel welcomed in the community and to meet other members and groupies (term for non-Shalom prayer group members).
One particularly cool experience was my participation with a friend in an Exodus 90 spiritual challenge for lent which involved fasting, daily prayer of an hour, and daily bible
readings. The challenge was made truly rewarding in that we were able to find two other men whom I had met in Shalom, Chris and Colin. By participating in the challenge as a group, it made the experience that much more impactful. It also allowed Colin, through the grace of God, to include his friend Micah in the challenge who is now considering converting from Protestantism to Catholicism as a result of seeking to know God more closely through the Exodus 90 challenge.
Another great experience was the Shalom Community’s excitement and presence on the day of my confirmation this past Easter. Never did I imagine that there would be a group of 10+ people congratulating me on the day of my confirmation! It was a welcoming and joyful experience and is certainly a day I won’t forget.
My confirmation sponsor, Chris, along with others in the Community, did an amazing job of coordinating a small celebration after the vigil. Chris even made homemade meatballs, which were delicious, and there was a wide range of other great foods. Also, Danielle made me a lovely poster which is still hanging in my room.Last but not least is that
the Shalom Community has been a great place for me to point others who are in search of deeper meaning and answers to life’s sufferings.
In the past year, I met a new neighbor who has expressed interest in Christianity. When a Wednesday open prayer group at Shalom started up, I invited him to participate. This was several months ago and he continues to participate in the prayer group and has expressed to me on numerous occasions that the people he has met at Shalom are incredibly kind and that he feels very welcomed whenever he goes to the Shalom house. He enjoys attending prayer group and I pray one day God will bless him with the desire to get confirmed. The leaders of that prayer group, particularly Liam, have been very welcoming to him and I know he has appreciated their support.
There are also many experiences that are escaping me at the moment. I do feel that whenever I go to the Shalom Evangelization Center, it is an experience with Christ that is at the center of everything, which helps to make the Community the vibrant place that it is.