Steve is a Catholic speaker, author, pilgrimage guide, and frequent guest on EWTN. The proud father of four, Steve lives with his wife Janet in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
I can still smell the green vinyl of the used couch in our living room as I knelt with my mom, with my face buried in my hands and my nose pressed into the vinyl. She had decided I was old enough — after all I was four years old. She didn't want to wait any longer. She was eager.
When I was born I was taken to the front of Joy Road Baptist Church in Detroit Michigan held aloft and dedicated to Christ. I did not receive infant baptism. The thought of baptizing an infant was repugnant. Where do you find that in the Bible? That was a surely a man-made Catholic tradition.
My parents had "found Christ" less than a year earlier. After twelve years of painful miscarriages my parents had discovered Jesus through the preaching of Billy Graham. The radio was on one morning as my mother was getting ready to go shopping. With keys in one hand and purse in the other she stopped in the kitchen before heading out the door. She heard something she's never heard before.
Eric began his study of the Catholic faith in 1991 as an Methodist/Evangelical Protestant, converting to the Catholic Church in 1993. Eric is married and has six children.
From Ignorance to Bliss
My Journey to the Catholic Church
Manicured lawns, kids playing in the streets, and dads barbequing in the summer: I grew up in the quintessential suburban American neighborhood. Each family was similar to the next, having the same values and outlook and each relatively the same size. One family on my street, however, broke the mold. Instead of the standard two or three children, this family had seven. I remember asking my mother why that family was so large, and her simple answer was, "Oh, they're Catholic." Knowing little of Catholicism and even less of how children were conceived, I figured that these "Catholics" must have a better relationship with the stork than the rest of us.
Though I'd learn soon enough how babies came to be, my ignorance of Catholicism persisted, mingled with some minor, usually stereotypical, details. I knew that Catholics took a different view of alcohol than the folks at my church, and I heard rumors that they had even added a few books to their bibles, but in general I was woefully ignorant of this church - it may have had over a billion members, but I personally knew very few of them.
Katie is home schooling mother of three, avid reader, catholic blogger and lover of education.
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 talking with a friend who recently converted, and I was telling him about my mother's belief that the Catholic Church is Satan's greatest triumph in all of history. He replied, "It has to be either Satan's greatest triumph, or Christ's greatest triumph. There is no neutral ground when it comes to the Catholic Church." Truth. The same applies to people I talk to about my conversion; there is no neutral ground. They are either excited or dismayed.
So what led to this decision? Often, when I try to tell this story, it is too overwhelming. How do you describe eight years of reading, discussing, listening, and journeying? My worldview gradually shifted, and it is difficult to put into words what happened in my mind and my heart. There are a few landmark times in my journey that I will try to highlight.
Kathy Frein is a convert to Catholicism from the Baptist faith. 25 years after entering the Church, peers challenging her daughter's convictions caused Kathy to look deeper into her own faith and rediscover Christ and His Church.
Why Am I a Catholic?
When I began to contemplate this task, I considered what its title would be. I thought about making it declarative and writing "Why I Am a Catholic." Then I became more introspective and began to consider the question "Why Am I Catholic?" It has been a personal examination of my faith that finally led me to an understanding of beliefs of the Catholic Church. What joy there is in discovering the Truth!
I've been a Christian since I was ten years old when I expressed a belief in Jesus Christ, was baptized, and joined the little Baptist Church in Monroe, Arkansas during a "fire and brimstone" revival in the late 1960's. I've been a Catholic Christian for the last 26 years. I joined the Roman Catholic Church the year after I married my cradle Catholic husband. I joined the church for a good reason even though it may not have been the right reason. I wanted our family to worship together and my husband and his family had been long time members of our local parish so I felt I should follow his spiritual leadership.
Church of Christ Convert
Joe grew up in the Church of Christ but fell away and became agnostic in his teens. He joined the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil of 1999 and was married, to his lovely wife Michelle, in September of 2000. Joe is active in new media ministry under the pseudoname "The Catholic Hack" and coordinates Catholic family conferences full time for Fullness of Truth Catholic Evangelization Ministries in Houston TX.
"From Slavery to Sonship"
St Luke 15:1: And he said, "There was a man who had two sons; 12: and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them.
I too took my inheritance from my father in an untimely fashion. It was 1980 and my father, who was serving in the Army, had just been stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. I was six years old, and I began to recognize the very peculiar and confusing behavior he had towards my mother. At the time I didn't understand what he was doing, but I knew that the way he was treating her was just not right.
What I didn't know was that my father was addicted to pornography, and sexual promiscuity, and he imposed this world-view upon my mother, treating her like an object of use instead of a person. Needless to say, this kind of abuse led to a divorce leaving my sister and me hurt, confused, and bewildered. All we wanted was our parents together under the same roof, even if they were always at each others' throats. My father always complained that my mother didn't "meet his needs," but it was still far better than living through divorce.
Jason is a lawyer and Evangelical convert to Catholicism who entered the Church in the Summer of 2011. He lives in the suburbs of Washington DC with his wife Nikki and four children. You can read Nikki's conversion story (from the Baptist tradition) here.
As a lifelong evangelical Protestant, I am right now at a place I never thought I would be, having just entered the Catholic Church with my wife and kids at the Feast of the Assumption in August. How I "came home" is difficult to explain. As many Catholic converts have commented, "all roads lead to Rome," which makes it hard to know where to start the story.
Before anything else, though, I must give thanks that I was raised in a Christian home. Because of that, I can't remember a time that I did not believe that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, and that on the third day He rose again from the dead. I also was always taught that I should follow Jesus no matter where He led. And, so, from that time to now, although there have been detours and a number of twists and turns, I've had this sense that I've been chasing Him. It was only as I came closer to the Catholic Church, however, that I felt that He--to an unimaginably greater extent--had been pursuing me.
Nikki converted to the Catholic Church from the Baptist tradition in the Summer of 2011. In addition to being a stay at home mom she is also working on obtaining her Master's degree in theology. Nikki lives in the suburbs of Washington DC with her husband Jason and four children. You can read Jason's conversion story (from the Evangelical tradition) here.
Like most converts to Catholicism, I would have never guessed in a million years that I would be where I am today, having just been received into the Catholic Church on the Feast of the Assumption. And like many converts, it's hard to know where to begin, since there are so many things that pointed Jason and I toward the Church.
To go back to the beginning, I was a Cradle Roll Baptist. We went to services every Sunday morning and evening, and I attended Sunday school faithfully. On Wednesday nights I was a Pioneer Girl, filling up my little blue sash with every badge I could get. Later when our church began the Awana program I flew through each level, memorizing as many verses as I could. In high school I was an Awana Cubby leader and enjoyed helping the little 3 and 4 year olds learn their verses. I was there whenever our youth group did service projects and missions trips. I was about as involved as a kid could be and I loved the fact that our youth group had a number of "on fire" and really committed kids who inspired my faith.
Laura is an educator and freelance writer in Calgary, Canada.
The road to Catholicism for new converts is as varied as the personalities of converts themselves. Mine came by means of the sublimely cracked perspective of a neurological disorder called Tourette Syndrome.
Raised in a mainstream Protestant church, I found myself drawn to evangelical circles in early adult life by the zeal and commitment I found there. Active church involvement, university, marriage, three kids and a fulfilling career in education filled the years that followed. Time sailed along at the hectic pace of most young families, until our youngest son, Peter, started having marked difficulty coping with the normal, everyday stresses of school life.
Richard was born into a Jewish home in 1950. Twenty-two years later, he discovered Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, and served Him in evangelical Protestant churches for more than thirty-two years. In 2005 he was received into the Catholic Church.
My movement in 1972 from Jewish faith to Christ was so profound an experience, I can tell you when it happened, where I was and what I was doing when I committed myself to the Lord and joined the Protestant church.
But I cannot tell you when I knew I belonged in the Catholic Church. That process was more gradual. I didn't know I was moving toward Rome until I opened my eyes and discovered I had arrived.
JoAnna is married and has four children. This is her story as a lifelong member of the Lutheran church to Catholicism.
I was born to lifelong Lutherans (ELCA) who, of course, baptized all their kids Lutheran. I was baptized on December 28, 1980 -- a date that I realized, soon after my conversion, as the Feast of the Holy Innocents. I sometimes wonder why I wasn't baptized sooner given that I was born six weeks prematurely, but I suppose that in Lutheran circles baptism isn't considered crucial for newborns, even premature ones.