Easter Vigil: Church prepares to welcome new members

Claire Greig remembers the “clincher” moment when she decided to become Catholic.

It was during the first RCIA session that she and fiancé Simon Bryce attended at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh to learn about Jesus and the Catholic Faith.

“One of the leaders, Kate, spoke about prayer and I started crying!” she said.

“That was the clincher for me. It just turned into this amazing thing. Everything that Fr Patrick Burke at the Cathedral said at the RCIA classes made sense – he is realistic about things and his knowledge and openness really helped.”

Claire (35) and Simon (44), above, of Ormiston in East Lothian, are part of a group of 19 Catechumens and Candidates being received into the Catholic Church at tonight’s Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral.

RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. The RCIA group at the Cathedral meets throughout the year to help those interested in learning more about the Catholic faith, with a view to becoming members of the Church.

At the Cathedral the programme is led by Fr Patrick, Deacon Peter Traynor and volunteers Shirley, Lorna, Jackie, and Kate.

“It’s been an educational and enlightening journey for us so far and this is just the start.

Simon, a joiner to trade, said: “Once we started attending the RCIA meetings there was an instant love of the religion and the people, it felt natural to us both.

“The educational part of it has been important to me. The people in the group, especially those who run it – and a special mention for Fr Patrick – all played their part. It’s amazing that the volunteers give up their time to do that.”

Simon was familiar with the basics of Christianity and remembers prayers at assembly and grace before meals at the armed forces school he attended.

He believes the RCIA programme helped feed his desire to learn more about Catholicism.

“It’s been an educational and enlightening journey for us so far and this is just the start. It means everything to us now,” he said.

Claire and Simon will be married in St Mary’s Cathedral on 28 June 2025.

Flore Chantegros (27, above) will also become a Catholic at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral tonight.

She is from Limoges in France and now lives and works in Edinburgh, with a job in Product Development for Nairn’s Oatcakes.

She said: “I went to a Catholic school and always felt Catholic, and was brought up with those values, but I never had an official Baptism.

“My mother was keen for me to choose later on in life.

“I always thought about becoming a Catholic and now felt like the right time. I got engaged last summer and I never saw myself getting married anywhere other than in the Church.

“I really enjoyed the RCIA group – there are people from different backgrounds and nationalities. It was interesting and enjoyable, and I learned so much.”

Shirley Grieve, one of the RCIA volunteers, said: “It’s wonderful to see the joy in people being received at Easter.

“It's also important that they know just how much this means to our parishioners, it really encourages them in their own faith."

At tonight's Mass Archbishop Leo Cushley will tell them: "We pray that tonight you will be filled with joy.

"Tonight, my friends, you are coming home, and the risen Lord will be there to welcome you.

"As you enter into Life in Christ, learn to listen for the Lord’s voice, and learn to recognise him, especially in the places most familiar to you.

"And be confident that the Lord and his Spirit will always accompany you."

The Easter Vigil takes place at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh tonight (Saturday 30 March) at 7:00pm. To find out more about the RCIA programme at the Cathedral contact cathedralhouse@stmaryscathedral.co.uk