Reared in a Protestant home, in his late teens Dr. Howell had a deep sense of the grace of God in his life and loved to read the Sacred Scriptures.  He attended Westminster Theological Seminary, in Philadelphia and was ordained a Presbyterian (PCA) pastor, in 1978. In 1988, he began teaching at Reformed Theological Seminary, in Jackson, Mississippi. It was there, while teaching a course on the Eucharist that his journey to the Catholic Church began, being received into the Church in 1996.