What finally pushed me over the threshold to Catholicism, and into the Church at the Vigil of 2011, was not any theological argument, but a longing for the grace found in the Eucharist.
Reflecting on my life, I recognize God’s hand leading me through the times of joy and sorrow. I can now trace the turns in the road that led me to the best thing that happened to me in my life: coming home to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
by Dr. Kenneth Howell. I am deeply grateful for how I grew up. I was baptized into the Presbyterian Church when I was an infant, grew up in a good, solid congregation that had a vibrant youth group in my teen years. I attended a Presbyterian college, a Reformed seminary, and taught in a Reformed seminary before becoming a Catholic. As I look back I can now see three ways in which the Reformed Faith prepared me for becoming a Catholic.
Intellectually, I had a strong “faith” in the tenets of Protestantism, particularly as they were expressed in the Calvinist tradition. Yet Calvinism excused my sin as something God Himself did not see, since, so I believed, the righteousness of Christ had been imputed to me because of my genuine faith, covering over my sins so that He was blind to them, at least insofar as my salvation was concerned.
I was raised in a small-town, Southern Baptist church in Virginia where I, along with my sister, my two brothers, and our parents, attended Sunday School and church nearly every Sunday that I can remember. In my early teen years, I responded to a preacher’s invitation to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior and was baptized. The experience of the waters of baptism seemed to be one of re-birth. I felt as though my sins were washed away and there was a new beginning and opportunity for me ahead. However, I did not experience much growth in grace during my later high school years and I went away to college in 1970 very disappointed with my hometown and the Christians that I knew.
Ron Moffat, a former Scots Calvinist recalls his journey into the Catholic Church. “Peter said simply, ‘Lord to whom shall we go?’ I knew in my heart, there was nowhere else I could go if I wanted a faith that wasn’t subject to change depending on the latest intellectual fads. I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing, but if I wasn’t, I knew there was no better alternative.”
Over the next few years of talking to [my friend] about what he was studying, I slowly began to understand the TULIP doctrines and I realized that I didn’t actually agree with any of them. As a good Protestant, I knew that I could question every tenet of the faith that I had been brought up in and still be a good Christian, so as I gradually began to doubt Calvinism, I never questioned my relationship with God, nor His love for me.
Jason Stewart was raised in a “generically” covenant evangelical Christian home where all the basic tenets of the tradition were taught and lived out. At the age of 15, Jason’s
Browsing the religion section of the local used bookstore, I caught sight of a peculiar volume, the black and red ink on the spine contrasting sharply against the drab surroundings. “Now, there’s an oxymoron!” I thought to myself as I reflected on the book’s title, which read Catholic and Christian. Intrigued by the apparent paradox, I reluctantly grasped the book from the shelf and began reading, beginning with the ornate back cover. The author was a certain Dr. Alan Schreck, a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. His objective was simple—to clarify Catholic doctrine for the many Catholic and non-Catholic Christians who misunderstand it. At $4.50 the paperback seemed a bargain I couldn’t afford to ignore. Little did I know that this meager investment would pave the foundation for my journey home to the Catholic Church.
Since becoming Catholic, I have been asked numerous times “why?” “Why are you doing this?” Many Catholics have asked with excitement in their voices, and my non-Catholic family and friends have asked with dismay.Interestingly, no one asks void of emotion.
I was born into a loving, believing community, a Protestant “mother church” (the Reformed Church) which, though it had not for me the fullness of the faith, had strong and genuine piety. I believed, mainly because of the good example of my parents and my church. The faith of my parents, Sunday School teachers, ministers, and relatives made a real difference to their lives, a difference big enough to compensate for many shortcomings. “Love covers a multitude of sins.”