A simple step to become a child of God
After my S.S.C exams I went to my grandma's house (mother's mother) in Kawluru. One day along with her I went to Church for Holy Mass for the first time. After the Holy Mass, the elderly Parish priest announced in the church that all the children should attend the Catechism class. Three days were already over, on the fourth day I joined the group for catechism. I was very much touched and inspired by his explanation about Catholic religion and the life of Jesus explained in the form of small stories.
After three days, the priest announced that those children who attended the catechism classes can receive Baptism and Holy Communion. I was eager to join the group but my grandmother objected saying that my father will be angry and asked me to go back to my village. Since I was insisting up on, the parish priest said to my grandmother, “If the child is longing so much to receive baptism, do not object to her wish”. So I was allowed to receive Baptism and First Holy Communion on 13th February 1990. I was christened as Anthony Mary on Tuesday the day dedicated to St. Anthony. The parish priest gave me a Rosary, Bible and told me to learn the prayers and say the Rosary daily.
Strived for Christian atmosphere…
I returned home but never said a word to my Father of what had happened. He wanted me to join intermediate in Nandyal itself. But I did not want to study there. Meanwhile I came to know about Intermediate course at St. Joseph's Junior College at Nallapadu through one of my relatives. I forced my Father to join me at Nallapadu because the parish priest who baptized me advised to join in the Catholic college where I will be able to practice Catholic religion. I took science group in my intermediate course. I was happy to be in Nallapadu, there was daily Holy Mass, Bible reading and prayers. I used to take great interest to read the Word of God and whenever I had a chance to read it publicly I was happy. I used to pray the Rosary daily.
When JMJ sisters conducted vocation camp in Nallapadu, I joined with the Catholic girls and attended the camp. I enrolled my name to join the Society at the end of the meeting. When I was at home during holidays, I received a letter from the provincial superior of Guntutr province to join the candidacy for six months period to learn English course. That time only my father came to know that I had already received Baptism. I had a great struggle to convince him and get permission to join the religious life.