Guidelines for writing your conversion story

for the CHNetwork

Thank you for your interest in submitting your conversion story to be considered for publication by the CHNetwork.

If you have already or are planning to submit your story to other possible publication venues please let us know.

Please note that all stories will be considered by CHNetwork, but submission of a story does not guarantee publication (whether in online, newsletter, book, ebook or other format). Here are general guidelines to follow as you write of your journey towards becoming Catholic:

1. Stories should be approximately 4,000 words. Use subheadings if you like.

2. Keep in mind that you’re writing primarily for an audience of non-Catholic clergy whose theological training varies widely. Try to avoid Catholic jargon that may be unfamiliar to non-Catholics. In addition, we want to display an attitude that is confident of Catholic truth without being smug, dismissive, or hostile toward the non-Catholic traditions from which we and other converts have come. The story should be written in first person, more conversational than formal in style.

3. When addressing specific theological and intellectual issues that acted as hurdles or challenges for you, provide some sense of how these issues were resolved. In your story, please address at least 2-3 different theological issues that you encountered in your journey and how you came to understand them in light of Catholic teaching (the Eucharist, Mary, salvation, etc.).

4. Our readers want to know as well the other kinds of factors that figured into your conversion: not just theological and intellectual, but also devotional and emotional, social and relational, and even what we might call the providential factors — the “special arrangements” God seems to have made to bring all these other elements together in an effective way.

In general, how did you come to be dissatisfied with your spiritual “status quo”? What aspects of the Catholic faith attracted you and ultimately drew you to the Church?

5. A few dates (years are sufficient) for the most important milestones in your story will help readers get some sense of how long your journey took and how long ago it took place. Also, please include a few places (states, cities) to give readers a sense for where your story happened.

6. Include a brief account of what has happened since you entered the Church and some sense of how God is using you now as a Catholic.

7. Be sure to specify the religious tradition(s) from which you have come (or lack of religious background, if that’s the case). Though of course you may mention particular denominations and institutions in your background, it’s better not to provide the names of individuals (except perhaps for immediate family members) who opposed your conversion or who might remain opposed to it (e.g., a particular pastor or college professor in your former denomination). We want to avoid appearing to cast individuals by name in an adversarial role.

8. If you quote Scripture, please use the Revised Standard Version (RSV) 2nd Catholic edition. If you don’t have the 2nd edition available, you may use the 1st Catholic edition, but please note that you have done so. We prefer that you not use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). If you prefer the New American Bible (NAB) translation for a particular passage quoted, you may use it, but make sure you identify it as coming from that translation.

Make sure that all quotations of Scripture have a citation in parentheses. For example:

“Jesus wept” (Jn 11:35).

All other references to Scripture and allusions to Scripture should have citations as well, using the term “see” rather than “cf.” For example:

Jesus gave St. Peter the keys (see Mt 16:19).

9. If you quote from other texts, please include a brief citation (author, book title, publisher, year, page number). If you are quoting a text from a Church Father or another historical figure, and the English translation of the text quoted is in the public domain, you may simply cite the title of the work and the section in which the quote appears. For example:

St. Irenaeus wrote: “The blessed Apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate” (Against Heresies, III, 3, 3).

10. Don’t forget to include a brief author’s bio — one or two sentences providing a simple introduction to you for our readers (not a summary of the testimony). Feel free to include a personal website or blog address if you have one.

11. Please submit the document in as a MS Word .doc or .docx file.

12. Please use 12-point type. The Times New Roman font is preferred. Indent paragraphs rather than putting a line space between paragraphs.

The CHNetwork edits all conversion stories in-house prior to publication.

Attached you’ll find two examples of conversion stories we have published. They may help to give you an idea of what we’re looking for.

Sample Conversion Story #1

Sample Conversion Story #2

We regret that we’re unable to pay you for your story. But if we choose it for publication, we trust you’ll take considerable satisfaction in knowing what a help and inspiration it will be to our readers.

Please email your submission to Mary Clare Piecynski at [email protected]. Include a phone number where we can contact you.

Thanks again for thinking of us!