Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall

“I am a baptized Catholic and blessed to have a mother who was a woman of great faith.  But like most young people, I fell away from my faith when I left for university, thinking I was quite capable of managing my own life.  So, for most of my adult life there was no place for God or my Catholic faith.


It was following the sudden death of my brother that I began to re-examine my life and my relationship with God.  About two years after his death, I walked through the door of my local parish, prompted by a request of a family member who was visiting and asked if I could take her to Mass.  It was that day my relationship with Christ started.


I must admit that in the beginning it was more a transactional relationship – I thought I just had to go to Mass once a week and that was all that was required of me!  I avoided the parish priest and just slipped in and out, hopefully under the radar.  I had a yearning to learn about my faith and thought I could do it on my own – wrong again!  Because I didn’t really know people, I felt very alone and those first years were very difficult.  I believed that I was unworthy, held many misconceptions about the Catholic faith, and was filled with doubt and shame.


I began taking some faith formation courses at the parish, but it was while I was taking a week-long course on the New Evangelization that, in a moment of great despair, I was faced with a decision.  While struggling with self-doubt, believing that God could never love me and thinking about walking away from my faith once again, I heard God’s voice in the night asking me not to give up on Him because He was not giving up on me.  At that moment, I felt a sense of peace and knew I had to persevere. Then, things started to happen that have changed my life forever.


Some months later, I was invited to work on a project for the parish, an invitation that I had originally declined but finally accepted.  I began to know people, to know my parish priests, felt a sense of belonging, and was soon asked by the Pastor to join his leadership team.  I began studying theology at Dominican University College.


I have come not just to know about Christ but continually experience His love.  I found myself no longer content going to Mass and receiving a blessing at Communion. I wanted more. I was again called to go deeper in my relationship with Christ. I experienced God’s great mercy and love when I made my first confession in almost 40 years, and truly my life was transformed. I have been transformed.  With God’s grace, I have overcome so many doubts about my faith, and although there are still challenges, I am no longer afraid. He has planted a seed in me – a real hunger to know Him better, a desire to deepen our relationship, a desire to live out my baptismal mission and to serve his people.


Dawn Roach (pictured left)


My relationship with the Holy Spirit has also grown.  In the beginning, I didn’t really understand who the Holy Spirit is and the important role He plays in my life.  I have come to know more about Him through a number of faith formation courses (Life in the Spirit, Wild Goose, and a course on the Spiritual Gifts). He is the one I call on throughout the day, and when I am facing challenges, He is always there, prompting me to take out time for prayer and to trust in the Lord.


My life is now one of joy, clearly focused on the things of heaven, knowing that I am a beloved child of God.”


Dawn Roach, parishioner at Annunciation of the Lord Parish

Welcome to the Archdiocese

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