Alex’s journey across Christianity to Catholicism

Alex with his family. Photo: Supplied.

From Eastern Orthodoxy and Pentecostalism to Catholicism, Alex Limneos, 44, has certainly taken the long route to his spiritual home, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

With a career in education spanning almost 20 years, Alex wants God to use him in his latest role with Sydney Catholic Schools’ Mission and Identity team to mould the next generation of young Catholics.

Born into a Greek Orthodox family he grew up in a world where culture and faith were intertwined. Life was full of rich liturgies, school retreats, altar serving responsibilities and church youth groups.

But when his relationship with God began to fade, Alex walked away.

“For around three years I wasn’t a believer at all. I became the boss of my life, and I was happy about that too,” he said.

“I basically made myself into a god when I decided I didn’t want to rely on anyone else, and as is often the case, that can only take you so far.”

A renewed search led Alex to Pentecostalism for two years before “alarm bells” went off.

“The ‘remembrance meal’ wasn’t called Eucharist, but I was brought up on this and I knew Holy Communion was something sacred,” he said.

“More and more I discovered the simplicity of the early church fathers. I found the typology of Scripture and that what was hidden in the Old Testament is revealed in the New, and so very quickly felt malnourished where I was.”

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Alex at Church of St Thomas of Canterbury. Photo: Supplied.

By 2007, Alex began attending Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Summer Hill, where the then-parish priest Fr Gerald Gleeson took him under his wing.

“Since I’d spent that time in Pentecostalism familiarising myself with Scripture, when I walked in here and was able to connect every part of the Mass back to the Bible I was truly in awe,” Alex said.

“For the first two months I was ecstatic, and it showed. People were probably looking at me funny, but to me this Mass was nothing short of incredible.

As Alex grew into Catholic tradition, he began to altar serve, was later instituted as an acolyte, and was even married in the same church by Fr Gleeson.

“You either want all in or you don’t. And I remember going ‘God, this is it. I’m surrendering, I’m giving you everything and this is the last stop on my journey.’”

Except it wasn’t—God also had plans for his professional life too.

“I was working at the Department of Education when one parishioner, ex-principal Steve Borthwick, said to me, ‘how about you come into our schools and practice what you preach?’” Alex explained.

“Those words really resonated with me. For the first time I realised that I had come into a faith that not only had a system of parishes, but also schools, which was a dream for someone like me.

“I had spent three years at the department, made permanent, and now I was about to give it up to go to a school where I’m only temporary. People questioned my decision to give up secure employment, but all I could say is it was where God was taking me.”

Now in his second year as a church engagement officer for SCS and celebrating 15 years in Catholic education, Alex is indebted to every moment of his long and winding faith adventure.

“It was the Holy Spirit. It’s going to push and pull you into the right truths, and it did that for me on this journey.

“God obviously knew I needed to go a certain way to open me up, he knew how to mould me.

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Alex and his family. Photos by Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2022

“I’ve found that our schools will thrive if we have witnesses in them. I’ve seen that firsthand with students and colleagues. The body of Christ with true authentic witnesses will make a difference in the lives of others, in particular students.

“Looking back, this journey was the most beautiful thing for me, because it’s led me to live out my vocation in marriage, to my two children and in my work for the church.

“We’ve got to lean on God. Once we let him in, he’ll take care of the rest.”

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