Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D., is a former minister of the Episcopal Church. In 1963 he was received with his wife, Ruth, and their five children into the Catholic Church. Twenty years later, he was ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic Church, with a dispensation from the rule of celibacy. Currently, he serves as chaplain for Catholics United for the Faith and on the boards of both that apostolate and The Coming Home Network. He is also a regular columnist for The Catholic Answer Magazine, and he serves as an assistant at St. Peter’s Church in Steubenville, Ohio.
My story began as a cradle Anglican, which means I have been surrounded by beautiful words of prayer my whole life. As long as I can remember I have come into God’s presence on the Lord’s day praying “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy Holy Name.” Each week we approached Holy Communion praying “Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his Blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his Body and our souls washed through his most precious Blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us” (The Book of Common Prayer).
After a life of fulfilling the cultural obligations of a cradle Catholic, Dan Gonzalez encountered a “living Gospel” during his first year at college. After sensing that something was “missing” from the services at a non-Catholic worship service, Gonzalez began a search that lead him back home.
While Elizabeth enjoyed the blessings of being brought up in a devout Christian environment, she always had a nagging doubt about being “once saved, always saved.” Her desire for the truth and her husband’s Catholic background led her to investigate the teachings of the Catholic Church.
On a blazingly-hot day in August, 2012, at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Tacoma, I was received into the Holy Catholic Church and my marriage convalidated. It
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.
“Living with many mutually contradictory doctrines made understanding the faith similar to trying to complete a complex puzzle from a combination of different jigsaw puzzles stirred together.” Evangelical Wesley Vincent noticed that every pastor who preached the Bible seemed to have a different understanding of what it meant to be a follower of Christ.
Najib lived most of his life in Lebanon as a pilot, growing up in a home split between Orthodox and Evangelical beliefs. After rediscovering the Bible and listening to American Protestant radio, Najib decided he needed to find the one, united Church that Christ established. The Early Church Fathers led him home to the Catholic Church.
In the Mormon faith, God was presented to JoAnn “not as the mysterious, ineffable source of all creation, but simply as an evolved human being who meted out salvation much like an insurance agent issues a policy: with little passion and lots of contingencies.” Now, her soul “is at peace and I rest secure knowing that the Lord’s unfathomable grace and mercy are gifts to be received with deep thanks, not to be earned in anxiety.”
My wife, Jeanette, and I were both raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and learned to hold strong negative feelings about the Catholic Church. My mother took great pride in being opposed to the Catholic Church; she did not know much about it, but she knew she was against it.