On February 10 1962, the feast of St Scholastica, Christopher McOustra was received into the Catholic Church.
“The problem was, I needed a witness,” he said. “My father was dead. My mother was in the West Indies. There were no Catholics in my family,
or among my friends.
“Finally I tracked down an Irish godmother, who had moved from Dublin to a big basement flat in Clarges Street, Mayfair.
“I think Norrie may have had a gin or two before she got to the Holy Redeemer, for she had difficulty in seeing what she had to sign, and she fumbled her part in the baptism. (One was conditionally re-baptised, in those days.)”
Since his reception in 1962, Mr McOustra has attended Mass probably well over 100 times every year: on Sundays, saints’ days and special occasions: celebrations, remembrances, requiems and jubilees.
He said: “I have received so many riches from my faith. First of the riches: Christ.
“The second: friendship. Friendly, good, helpful, hospitable people await you when you enter Christ’s Church and join in her prayer and her work.
“The third richness is opportunity: opportunity to join in the Church’s prayer and work, in Christ’s work. There may also be opportunity special to each individual, in the Church, depending on the circumstances and talents of each, and on the needs. So again it was for me, after retirement from the law: work in the Church’s social teaching, pilgrimages, Stations of the Resurrection.”
On the feast of St Scholastica’s this year, Mass was offered at his Sussex parish church of St Thomas More in thanksgiving for the 50 years that
Mr McOustra has been a Catholic. As he described it, it was a thanksgiving for the “riches and the realities”.
After the Mass there was a feast in the church hall to mark the anniversary.
Mr McOustra said: “To all who helped me towards those 50 years, and to all who have accompanied me through those 50 years: my heartfelt thanks. To all who are not yet with us in the Church: join us! Taste the Fullness of the Faith! Taste Christ!”