Becoming Catholic is certainly exciting, but the journey doesn’t end when someone enters the Church; in many ways, that’s when the real adventure begins!
We asked some of our “veteran” convert members about their advice for new Catholics who are still making their way through their first year in the Church. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“You will still have freakout moments and Protestant knee jerk reactions. Relax. The Holy Spirit has got you. And you generally find Catholic fellowship through ministry and service groups. Catholics are doers first and talkers second. You may have to be more of the initiative taker than you are used to. Don’t be afraid to explore the devotional prayer riches of the Church to go deep with the Holy Trinity. Mary and the Saints will become your mother and your loved companions on your continuing journey. The angels will be watching over you and fighting to defend you against the principalities and powers of darkness.” –Howard H.
“God always meets us where we are. He’ll do the same with you. Don’t get in a hurry to figure everything out. Listen, learn, observe and above all, be prayerful.” –Jeff B.
“I came back into the Catholic Church over 20 years ago now. When I made the decision to become Catholic, I still had some reservations – still a little Protestant blood in my veins, and so I never thought I would be very much into the rosary or even the intercession of the saints, but I understood that these things are personal, and it’s okay that not everyone is into every devotion to the same extent. So on the one hand, give yourself permission not to have to be like other people and not to force your devotional life into someone else’s mold. On the other hand, it turns out now I am into the rosary and the intercession of the saints, and all the stuff I had reservations about, so like others have said, just let the Holy Spirit take his time with you and go where he leads…If you’re into apologetics, then by all means learn…but if those debates give you anxiety, then give yourself permission not to have to keep up with all that stuff—it’s ok to let that stuff go for now and just enjoy being Catholic…Tap into the JOY of our faith, and ride that wave for a while—that’s okay.” –Dr. Jim Papandrea
“Never think you’ve ‘arrived’ either in knowledge or charity. There’s literally no end to the treasures available to us in the Church.” –Jeffrey J.
“Devote yourself to the Word of God and the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and do not allow the failings of others to distract your relationship with God or his holy Church.” –Jim Anderson
“Never allow yourself to be content with becoming a mere Easter Catholic. By God’s grace, keep the fires of zeal burning daily. Do not allow even one day to go by without acknowledging your unending need for God. Do not neglect your first love.” –Bill L.
“The first thirty years are the hardest.” –Brother Rex Anthony Norris
Whether you’re a new convert, or have been in the Church for thirty years or more, we hope that some of this wisdom from our members is an encouragement to you on your journey of faith. And if you’re in OCIA and will be entering the Church in the next year, we would love to hear from you along the way! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with updates on your journey, or share them in our Online Community, which you can find at community.chnetwork.org.