Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

My Photo
Name:
Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My Personal Conversion Story























About 35 years ago as a young teen, I strayed from my Catholic faith and began to look into the occult and the rock and roll culture for answers and peace in my life. My parents brought me to Church faithfully but didn't allow their faith to help them with their personal problems. They had a troubled marriage and alcohol abuse was a chronic unspoken demon in their lives. As a teenager my Catholicism meant little to me though I do remember praying the rosary at night to help me sleep when I was troubled by something.
One night, I went to Bible study hosted by a friend of mine whose parents were ex-Catholics. There was tremendous joy and peace in the folks we met and I knew they had something I needed and wanted. That night I asked Jesus to forgive me and come into my life. I recited a prayer known as the Sinner's Prayer. God heard my prayers and I was set free from much sin and bad life choices in just one night. I had a very emotional experience and remember it as "better than any high that was out there." I was "born again" and my life took an abrupt and markedly different course. My parents reacted very negatively since they had no idea of the secret life I was living and my Mom kept saying "Why do you need to be born again? You are good kids."

The group of Christians who discipled me were from a very anti-Catholic fundamentalist sect. (J.T. Chick and similar folks) I soon was told that Catholics worship Mary, pray to dead people, believe that they only need to "be good" to get to heaven and "just look at their crucifix!" "They think Jesus is still on the cross and didn't rise from the dead!" I had no real objections to this since I had no idea what Catholics really believed. I had never read the Catholic Catechism other than in CCD class and had never been interested in pursuing my faith until the night of my "born again" experience.

So you could see how easy it was for me to accept a view that Catholicism was not the "True faith" but "a form of godliness that denied the power thereof." That is what us re-born Christians would tell each other to explain away 2000 years of Catholicism. I still had a nagging question of how could so many people be wrong for so many years and where were the "born againers" in the early times? My Bible study leader told me that the way is narrow that leads to life and wide that leads to destruction. It seemed to make sense. I knew nothing about the history of Christianity and was told that there had always been "a remnant" of true believers who operated outside the Catholic Church in an "invisible church" so to speak.

Chapter 2
I became very active in evangelical fellowships in high school and college particularly the more charismatic ones. These were groups of young people who truly loved God more than anything in their lives. These were times of warm fellowship and deep friendships some of which have remained up to the present. I still went to the local Catholic Church when I was home to obey my parents but I just tuned out the entire Mass, sat in the pew and stopped receiving the Eucharist. (Thank God I didn't since I would have been violating Paul's admonition to not receive the Body of Christ unworthily. ) At this time I met a Catholic religious brother who was really encouraging about my conversion but I never saw him again after he taught a few CCD classes to us in high school and we lost touch. I figured he was one of the few remaining Christians in the Catholic Church. Actually in all those years, I never met a devout Catholic who could give me a reasoned defense of his faith based on Scripture and good historical arguments. Perhaps they did try to convince me of my error but I usually beat them up so bad with the Bible they were left slack-jawed and wondering what hit them. I would have dismissed anything they told me anyway since I believed they were following the "whore of Babylon."

Once, I got into a heated debate with a Catholic priest at the college I attended and argued with him about how the Eucharist was only symbolic and not to be taken literally. I'll never forget the day he stomped out of my dorm room and slammed the door telling me how ignorant I was! I thought, "Boy is he a jerk!" Now with the wisdom of age and grace of conversion, I realize how justified he was for becoming enraged at me. There was a lot at stake in this argument, not just a non-essential doctrine to use my own "personal interpretation" on. For this priest it was the "source and summit" of his faith and I was basically rejecting everything he held to, and worse yet, I used to play folk guitar for the Masses he said. You have to be in awe of my amazing arrogance at 17 years of age. I had now been reading the Bible exclusively for the past three years and receiving my teachings from a radio Bible teacher who has since gone off into major heresy. (He predicted the Lord would return in 1994, and has recently stated that "we live in the post-church age and you don't need to go to church anymore.") It was from this anti-Catholic radio bible preacher that I learned my initial theology . I spent hours every night reading the Scriptures and listening to "Open Forum," a call-in radio show hosted by this self-proclaimed Bible authority. But in all my 17 years , I never once read the Catechism of the Catholic Church or any devotional Catholic literature or considered reading the history behind Christianity. So, here I am with my "radio bible theology degree" and three years of born again experience arguing with a Catholic priest who had spent 8 years studying theology and was pursuing a Ph.D at the time. I was thinking how great it was that I had been given The Truth and this poor ignorant priest was wasting his time committing himself and his celibacy to a false religion. As far as I was concerned, this was all I had to know about Christian history: Jesus came to earth, started a church which immediately went south and the Holy Spirit went on sabbatical for 1500 years . So for 1500 years, maybe the "Real Christian Church" went into hiding while the false Catholic church flourished and spread. (Incidentally changing the course of history of the civilized world along the way.) The only problem with this was that if I really believed that the early church apostasized, then the Gates of Hell did indeed prevail against it and Jesus didn't know what He was talking about. Unless of course you continue to believe that the "invisible church" persisted in the background, kind of like a program that keeps running undetected in the background on your computer. The only problem with this theory is that the Church was meant to be a visible physical entity, set on a hill where it would be a light to the world, not hidden in the shadows waiting for a German Augustinian monk 1500 years later to unlock the Truth of the Bible for the world. The other problem that didn't bother me at the time was that there was no historical record of a "remnant hidden church." To be sure, there are records of short-lived heretical sects, cults and heterodox preachers, but no proof that any of them had any connection to the historical church that Christ started. There is a little book called the "Trail of Blood" that claims the Catholic Church has systematically persecuted and suppressed the history of the "True Believers" ever since John the Baptist founded his church of true baptist believers. It is this book that has fueled some of the "remnant" theories. http://www.shasta.com/sphaws/trail.html

Chapter 3
During my college years I was involved in a Christian fellowship group that was attended by students from many denominations. One of the members of the group was a student I noticed was also in my New Testament Greek class. I also noted him to go to Mass so I knew he was Catholic. Over the ensuing two years he came to be a good friend and we had fellowship together despite the fact that he was a devout Catholic. He loved the Lord Jesus with same fervor as an evangelical Christian and to this point I had not met a Catholic like him. I was still under the assumption that you couldn't possibly "know the Lord" if you were Catholic. After college, he went to Harvard Divinity school to study theology. Other members of the fellowship went off to protestant seminaries and the mission field after college. We had a reunion one year after college and one of our friends now with a few years of seminary under his belt began to engage our Catholic brother in a barbed and acrimonious manner. He was openly attacking the beliefs of this Catholic brother who he once had fellowship with. The room became very quiet and the atmosphere was tense. My Catholic friend calmly stated, "I don't think this is really the time and place for this discussion but I would welcome continuing this discussion at another time." Despite my total disagreement with the theology of my Catholic friend, the way that he handled this awkward and malicious attack from a former friend was very impressive to me and I never forgot it. He never raised his voice, answered back sarcastically or pulled the "my seminary is better than yours" card.

Chapter 4
After college I went to medical school believing God wanted me to be a doctor and I married my high school sweetheart after my first year of medical school. We were going to church at the same place I had been discipled as a teenager when we left the Catholic Church. I began to recognize problems in this church when the two pastors had a falling out and a power struggle ensued. It turned out that one of the pastors was involved in immorality but was using his spirituality as a smokescreen to defend himself. This led to a split in the church and as happens when each party claims the Holy Spirit is telling them they are right but are diametrically opposed to one another. After medical school we moved to a large city and joined another well-known independent charismatic church. Unfortunately, after a few years of close fellowship and innovative teachings, the pastor of this church had a falling out with the elders over a moral issue and a division ensued. We loved the people in the church and sided with the majority and stayed there for a time. There was a true sense of Christian community in this church that was genuine despite many cult-like features regarding membership requirements etc.

At this time my wife of three years was diagnosed with an extremely rare in-operable lung cancer. There were only thirty other recorded cases in the world's medical literature. She was told there was no cure but she may possibly remain without symptoms for a time before dying but it was uniformly fatal. We were bolstered by a loving group of folks who shared with us that "God can heal if you only have enough faith." We embraced this theology whole-heartedly and pursued her healing for the next 8 years. We attended healing meetings, exorcisms, fasting and prayer and I began fasting Tuesday evenings to Thursday mornings for several years to obtain her healing from God. We sought out nationally known charismatic preachers with healing ministries and had several exorcisms performed on our house and ourselves.

Once on a vacation at the beach we visited a store front church on Sunday. The preacher called my wife up out of the crowded little room and said to her "God will give you that which you have been seeking!" He then asked her what she was seeking and she told him about the cancer. That gave us great hope and encouragement and helped to bolster our faith that Jesus was definitely going to heal her of this cancer.We were blessed with two boys over the next four years. We coped with life by never talking about the possibility of her dying. We lived as if she would be healed. The problem with this was that it took an enormous amount of energy to muster this "faith talk" all the time and it was taking its toll on our marriage. Rather than confronting problems in our relationship, we would put them aside and continue to press for the healing. Seeking her healing became the focus of our lives and as a result, we were in denial about all the other problems that occur in any marriage, cancer notwithstanding. For me, it felt like a constant "sword of Damocles" hanging over my head for 8 of the 11 years we were married, but I could not tell my wife my true feelings. Most of my close friends were believing that her healing was forthcoming and I could not open up to them about how I really felt. Once I tried to tell a close friend how absolutely terrified and sad I was and he kindly said, "Don't worry, she will be healed." I appreciated his vote of confidence but I needed someone to share my pain and fear with. This was one of the most intensely lonely and difficult periods in my life. I took solace in knowing that Christ would never leave me or forsake us despite the fact that we were truly walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I could not share Scriptures with my wife or others about the valley of the shadow of death because it would be "doubting the healing."I started to secretly take comfort in the Scriptures that said "Not my will but thine" and God gave me His reassurance that He would be with us, whether my wife lived or died. I could not share this with her and instead would read aloud to her the Scriptures that said "By His stripes we are healed." We would both lay awake night after night with her in agony and me holding back tears as I watched her die. I just wanted to hold her and say "I love you and hate to see you go through this but we will be okay because He will carry us through this." I longed to just be able to tell her how I felt about our life together but I couldn't because she would have interpreted that as "losing faith." Instead of having precious end of life discussions about our children, our families, our Lord and His love, we listened to faith preacher tapes over and over again throughout the night. This bad theology we embraced ended up hurting us terribly and denied us the ability to be honest with ourselves, our children and our God. We were reading books and tracts about healing that were from an off-shoot of the charismatic movement called the Faith and Prosperity Preachers. Centered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, these teachers taught that Jesus heals everyone and if you don't get healed it must be your lack of faith. I realize now this actually was a twisted form of Christian Science and had its roots in one of the heresies dealt with by the early church. (Gnosticism)

About 4 months before she died, I had a distinct impression that God was telling me that the time was very short and she would die soon. It may have just been my medical instincts seeing her become more irritable and short of breath. At this time she was taking huge amounts of over the counter ibuprofen to deal with the pain but would not admit that she was in pain. We long ago both agreed to not pursue further diagnostic tests since they wouldn't "build our faith." The actual words I heard in my mind were "the time is short now." As horrible as it sounds, this brought me some comfort since I felt that there was to be a conclusion to this torturous existence of denial we were living. I never shared this experience with her. About 4 weeks before she died, she was becoming severely ill and short of breath. We heard of a missionary with a healing ministry that was flying in from Africa who had been known to raise people from the dead. Despite the worse ice and snow storm of that horrible winter of 93-94, I drove with her and my pastor and a friend in a van to Richmond Virginia to see if she could be healed through the ministry of this faith healer. The level of compassion that my church showed for us was beyond description and I will never forget the love and that was displayed for my wife and I at this time. The folks risked their lives to drive my wife over 250 miles on the eve of one of the worst storms of the season because they believed God would heal her. They also knew this is what she wanted as well. We saw many tractor trailers jack-knifed and cars that had skidded off the road on the way down. It turned out that the healer couldn't come in due to the weather and we sadly drove all the way back taking almost two days for a six hour trip. At one point we were stuck in traffic for about 10 hours due to the storm. She was in absolute agony in the jostling van as we ran over potholes and ice on the highway. We stopped intermittently so I could give her injections of a powerful narcotic to relief her screams of agony.

Shortly after this trip, my wife did pass away leaving me with a 4 and 7 year old who did not even realize she was sick since we never told them. I was devastated knowing that our faith did not give her the peace that was promised. Not because God didn't make it available, but we chose to mis-interpret the Scriptures. I knew, even as she was dying, that this theology was wrong and it denied the ability for us to even have an honest conversation about her dying. If there was ever a reason to not believe in private interpretation of Scripture, this was it. The Word of God wrongly applied and twisted out of context can be a cruel taskmaster.
( I want to make it clear to all the readers at this point, my wife and I willingly embraced and sought out this teaching and our charismatic church encouraged us in it, but we did not feel like this doctrine was forced on us. We chose it !)

No one could give me an answer for why she died if she had such faith and many young people from our church were devastated. Two days after my wife died I received a phone call and a familiar voice that I hadn't heard for years was on the line. My Catholic friend from college, now an ordained Catholic priest heard that my wife died and tracked me down. I will never forget when I asked him why she had to suffer so much, and he said that "Jesus gives us the privilege of sharing his suffering." Father E. told me that Jesus stretched his arms out on the cross and said to my wife, "Sue, you come up with me and share my suffering." He then quoted St. Paul when he talked about completing in his body the suffering of Christ. (Colossians 1:23) I couldn't argue since it was Scripture and it was the only thing that gave me comfort in those difficult months after she died. I had never heard a Protestant talk about that verse and somehow missed it in all my years of personal Bible study. My theology didn't allow for suffering but this Scripture given to me by a Catholic priest made more sense than anything I had heard or experienced in the past 12 years. Since Christ our Redeemer had suffered should we too not be willing to take His yoke upon us and experience suffering? The Catholics call this "redemptive suffering' and if you really think about it, it resonates with all of human experience.

Chapter 5
Trying to raise two small children alone as well as being in solo practice of medicine was very difficult, to say the least. God provided for me and my boys through support from my family and my church. Jesus showed His kindness and mercy to me through His people in a way that I can never forget. About a year and a half later, I remarried. My new wife had been attending the same church I was attending and had been friends with my late wife and knew our boys from Sunday school. She proved to be a wonderful mother and wife. Most couples argue about sex, money and children but we argued about religion and expressions of spirituality. I was moving away from charismatic theology and outward emotional manifestations ("holy" laughter, being "slain in the spirit") but she was pursuing "full- tilt" these doctrines and expressions of faith that I was shrinking back from. This was the mid -1990's when the “Toronto Blessing” was sweeping through the charismatic churches in the US and our church was having frequent renewal meetings. People would be asked if they wanted “more of God” and would fall to the floor laughing or crying as evidence of having received God's blessing. People in the church must have concluded that I didn't want “more of God” because I never fell to the floor when I was prayed for. My wife attended all of these meetings and I chose not to participate since my perception was that people based the evidence of God's blessing on you as an emotional outpouring. I had not experienced God in an emotional sense for twenty years or more since my initial born again experience as a teenager and had never been very "emotive" in my worship. This strained our marriage, as well- meaning folks in the church would question my wife as to my spiritual well-being. Over the years, I had become a firm believer in not basing my relationship with God on my emotions. I had just been schooled in pain and suffering for the past 10 years of my previous marriage and never felt that God had abandoned me despite many dark feelings and times. I knew from personal experience that God was with me regardless of how I felt and I felt this was a gift of faith He had given me long ago. Unfortunately at the time, the prevailing teaching in our church was that if God didn't engage our emotions, then something was wrong with us spiritually. My wife was starting to wonder about my spirituality and suspected I didn't "want more of God" due to my failure to embrace this renewal. Once again, our personal application of theology had become a wedge between my wife and I.

The stresses of becoming a new mother and wife were difficult for her and the practice of "worship and praise" was no longer providing her peace. In the past, we were taught that we should just “forget about your cares and worship the Lord” as the answer to your problems. Instead, my wife started reading about suffering from Mother Teresa, Teresa Liseux, St. John of the Cross and other Catholic mystics. She was finding much solace in Catholic teaching and she was slowly being drawn away from our evangelical/charismatic faith. For the first time in her life, she started to understand the value of pain and suffering in the world and in the context of her own life. Catholic teachings brought her much comfort in these difficult times of our early marriage.

As much as I was happy that she was leaving the emotionalism of the charismatic church, I was troubled that it took Catholicism to give her true peace. This was at the peak of the priest sex-abuse scandals and I wanted nothing to do with the Church. I thought that Christ "could not possibly be the head of a church with sex abusers and pedophiles." These were the days when the daily headlines of all the papers were tallying the millions of dollars being spent on settlements and lawsuits in Boston and elsewhere. Realizing now that neither my wife nor I embraced our former theology we decided to leave the charismatic church we had been in for almost 10 years and joined a more main-line Evangelical church. I loved the more formal nature of it and didn't miss the spontaneous prophecies and emotionalism that was so much a part of our past experience. At times our old church had a carnival-like atmosphere and the degree of enthusiasm of the congregation during "praise and worship" time was the litmus test for whether or not God showed up. There were times when the worship leader would become visibly discouraged and frustrated if he could not stir the congregants into a religious fervor. I was thankful that this did not occur in this more mainline church. I enjoyed the preaching style of the pastor and the much more subdued worship services. I no longer worried that someone would tap me on the shoulder to give me a "Word from the Lord for you brother." While we both attended this church on Sundays, my wife attended her first Catholic Mass in 25 years at a weekday Mass. (She too had left the Catholic Church when she was 8 years old.) When the priest held up the consecrated Host and said "this is Jesus", she wept at the realization that this is the One she had been seeking all these years! My wife started to attend Mass on her own ( she did not yet receive the Eucharist) and wanted to join the Catholic Church but I felt that it would be too confusing for our children. I couldn't argue however that it was slowly changing our marriage for the better as we both embraced trials in our life as a tool for good and not something to avoid and deny. I still was very reticent about Catholicism based on my past experiences and did not even consider joining the church. I asked her for the sake of unity in our marriage to stop pursuing Catholicism and she agreed to stop going to Mass. More to come.... The final journey home!

Chapter 6

We were attending the United Methodist Church for a few years when my Mom died unexpectedly. My brother and I took the long drive down together to start to clear out her house. He was beginning his master's degree in preparation for becoming a pastor at my previous charismatic church. I asked him about the statement in the Creed regarding "baptism for the forgiveness of sins." What did we believe as charismatics? Which baptism did this refer to? Was it the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second experience, was it water baptism? I had started to question my evangelical beliefs that I just took for granted for years without really thinking about them. Once a year we recited the Creed in our church but I realized that I didn't understand or hold to many of the statements in the Creed and was not aware of the fact that it was written by a group of Catholics at a Church Council 1600 years before. As we went through my mother's personal effects, I found prayer books, rosary beads, Mass cards and all the paraphenalia that I used to think was pagan and idolatrous. I suddenly realized that despite my Mom's lifelong struggles with alcoholism and depression, she really loved God and had a relationship with Him. As my brother and I went through her things I said to him "Hey, what if Mom was right after all and Catholicism is true?" He said "nah." I have no idea where that question came from but I have since realized that my conversion process was beginning then. He was going to toss her rosary beads in the garbage and I said "No, I'll take them home for my wife, she's been leaning Catholic lately."

Even then, something started to stir in me as I carefully removed the beautiful wooden crucifix my parents always had on their wall above their bed and took it home. I realized that for all the contradiction and pain in their lives, their Catholic faith was more important to them than I had thought. That beautiful crucifix now hangs on the wall above our bed. Even more strange to me was a fairly frequent and almost palpable sense that my Mom was now praying for me! I couldn't explain it, but I felt it and knew it was true. I knew she prayed for me before she died but I had this very strange feeling that her prayers were drawing me back to the Catholic Church. I told my brother about this and I suspect he thought I had totally gone off the rails at this point. I never understood the Communion of Saints nor agreed with it but now I was experiencing the actual application of this communion in my life.
The Methodist church we were attending bought an entire theatre of tickets to see the first screening of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." In the middle of the movie as tears streamed down my face, I knew I had to come home to the Catholic Church as I saw so graphically displayed His love for me. If He could do this for me, I could overcome my pride and reticence about the Catholic Church and return in obedience to Him. To this day I don't know why or how I came to this conclusion. As far as I know there were no subliminal messages in the movie saying: "Become a Papist" or "You must Cross the Tiber."

My wife continued to long for Mass and I agreed to let her go to Mass as long as she would come with me to the Methodist church on Sunday morning with our boys. She would often watch EWTN (a Catholic Network) and the "Journey Home Program." After seeing some of the conversion stories my interest was piqued. I was astonished to find there was so many former protestants with stories like mine converting to Catholicsm. I asked my wife to get me those Catholic conversion stories of Marcus Grodi, Scott Hahn and others that I had asked her to get rid of 4 years before. She had attempted to show me a Scott Hahn video a few years before this but I found it too dry and Catholic! This time it was as if the veil had been lifted from my eyes and I couldn't put these books down. I read Karl Keating's book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" and Steve Ray's "Crossing the Tiber." When I read for the first time that it was the Catholic Church that decided on which books and letters should be in the the Bible, that did it for me! I was now very angry that I had been mis-informed for so long by anti-Catholic Protestants and I started to feel remorse for walking away from the Church without ever learning any of its true teachings. I also was angry that I had never met a Catholic in thirty years who could give me these basic true facts about the Catholic Church. I was embarrassed that as a relatively bright person with the ability to obtain a medical degree, I had never considered reading history and instead based my understanding of Church history from a 16-year-old "Bible Scholar" thirty years earlier. How could I be "so smart" and yet be so close-minded about something so important as my faith?

Suddenly, all the troublesome verses I didn't understand as a Protestant came alive with richness and meaning. I realized the Catholics take the Bible more literally than the evangelicals ever had. I always wondered how we got around John 6 when Jesus told us : "eat my body." Protestants insisted it was symbolic but the early church I found out believed that Christ truly became present at the Communion Table. Paul's description in Corinthians also made it clear to me that the Church believed in the real presence of Christ in the "breaking of the bread."

The paradox of Christians who said "the sinner's prayer" and continued to actively live sinful lives always bothered me, but Catholic theology made it clear that our earthly performance was important for salvation, but not the basis for it, as I had wrongly been taught they believed. This was further brought home to me when I now re-read Matthew 25 and realized that Christ himself said the only difference between the sheep (heaven- bound) and the goats (hell-bound) was what they did or didn't do! I now realized that after 30 years of Bible study, the sinner's prayer wasn't mentioned in the Scriptures as the "formula for salvation." The concept of venial and mortal sins made a lot of sense to me. How could a "white lie" really have the same temporal and eternal consequences as murder? That always bothered me. The concept of the Communion of Saints which is in the Creed of Catholic and Protestants alike also became meaningful to me for the first time in my life. As I mentioned earlier, I had this distinct impression that my Mom who had died a year earlier was interceding for me and praying me back to the Church. The Catholic Church has always taught that when a person dies they can continue to pray for those left behind, and since the "fervent effectual prayers of a righteous man availeth much" how much more now that they are in heaven beholding the face of God!

We started counseling with a local parish priest who led us back to the Catholic Church. At my first confession in over 35 years, tears started to fall as I heard those sweet words of absolution as if they were spoken from Christ himself. We then made our marriage vows before the Church and together we received Christ in the Eucharist. Jesus was saying to me "You have found what you have always been looking for and I am right here with you." As I knelt and prayed after receiving Him, I knew that I could never be closer to Him in this life than I was right then. The frustration of all those years of searching for Him and trying to find him outside of His church was over. I had finally come home.

Despite my lack of emotionalism, I have cried more tears of joy in the past two years than in most of my years of charismatic church life! I often choke up telling others about Christ in the Eucharist and often become teary-eyed thinking about how kind He is to have brought us back to His Church. My wife and I have experienced a spiritual oneness in our marriage that can only be described as supernatural. Before, we were always on opposite pages regarding spiritual issues and now not only are we on the same page; we can't stop turning the pages together! I often chastise myself for leaving the Church as a young person but I am thankful for those years away because they prepared me to appreciate the Church and the Sacraments all the more.
My heart aches for my ex-Catholic brothers and sisters who like me had left the truth of the Catholic Church without ever understanding it. I am grateful for the inspiration and encouragement to "follow hard after God" that I learned from my devout Protestant brothers. In particular, the charismatic Christians I have been privileged to know over the years have a devotion and love for God and one another that is truly amazing. I believe if they could only see the tremendous gift of His Real Presence in His Church, they would fall on their face before Him in the Eucharist. Their insatiable hunger for the presence of Christ could finally be completely satisfied in receiving him in the Eucharist. Father Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal has said that the many church ladies from pentecostal churches in the Bronx come to Eucharistic Adoration because they know their "sweet Lord Jesus" is there. I know my Protestant brothers and sisters would do the same once they discover He is truly present with us in the Eucharist, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

83 Comments:

Blogger Stephanie said...

Wow, what a moving conversion story!! Brought tears to my eyes...just beautiful!

October 02, 2006 4:44 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

God is certainly merciful to us and His grace is overwhelming!
Thanks for reading the story.

October 02, 2006 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I have recently started going to the Catholic church the last three Sundays. I grew up Catholic and stopped going when I was 22 years old went to a protestant Baptist from 28 to now 46 years old. I have been listening to EWTN and Al Kresta for the last 3 years. The only problem I have is not having an experiecne with the Eucharist that seems to be the key for a lot of people converting to Catholicism. I have been assoicating with liberal members of the Caholic Church in the last year Publications like the National Catholic reporter instead of EWTN,Scott Hahn and OSV. As I talk to priests and spiritual directors I find them more liberal than EWTN. The conservatives seem to represent 20% of the total praticing Catholics.

I've prayed for 5 years asking God to show me the true church. Ewtn makes me feel that I'm either ignorant or rebelous. Because I don't believe in birth control I'm more catholic than 90% of them that practice birth control. Ewtn says that only 10% practice natural methods. I have yet to see what the big deal is if the bread becomes the body and blood of Christ. It doesn't do anything for me.

I found your site on the Jesus Creed. I try to bring a cathlolic perspective to this site and to other uniformed protestants that I happen to meet in my life.

There are very godly people on both sides All I can do is live out the faith with what I know now to be true. If you dig deep enough into mystecism,contemplation, prayer the differences fade. True believers of both camps will find common ground. I have more in common with a true catholic than with a liberal protestant

November 07, 2006 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank you for your story - I am trying to find my spiritual oneness with our Lord Jesus - stories like these bring me closer and I receive a little more information each time I read another. God Bless. Christine

November 10, 2006 12:32 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Bob and Anon:
All I can say is that God has given me great joy in returning to the Church. I am firmly convinced that He will lead you wherever you are supposed to be. I prayed for a long time to be close to Jesus and for me this is his answer. God bless you both!

November 10, 2006 10:51 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Awesome story... I know a few "ex-Catholics" and they tell me of all the "errors"...

I simply look at them and think, "How could you give up the Eucharist?"

One told me he thinks I'm being called to just "attend" in order to bring people OUT. He is having a difficult time believing that God would actually LEAD ME IN to the Catholic Church...

I'm so glad that the Lord has blessed you in your life and marriage...

Thanks for sharing your story!

January 01, 2007 10:35 PM  
Blogger UltraCrepidarian said...

Thank you for sharing that. I was in tears at the part with your wife dying of cancer. I am full of joy to know that another former evangelical Christian like myself, has come (back) home to Rome! It's wonderful, isn't it!?

Warren

January 24, 2007 10:33 PM  
Anonymous John Toner said...

Very compelling story. Your account of history (Jesus starts church, leaves, church goes south 1500 years and Holy Spirit goes on sabbatical) was pithy, humorous and (ouch) on point (I'm an evangelical).

God's people in the Bible erred more often than they got things right. Why should we do better?

Evangelicals have their issues, as do Roman Catholics, e.g. why forbid marriage to priests? Peter himself was married, as were pretty much all of the apostles except Paul.

But those "missing" 1500 years of history have got a fellow like me starting to think....

John Toner

March 02, 2007 7:53 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

John:
Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I appreciate your openness to reading about the Catholic perspective. Regarding the priests forbidden to marry etc, there are many good sites that I can direct you to to answer the question, but short answer is that celibacy is a "discipline" not dogma and it could (but probably won't) change. There are several circumstances where priests are married and the Church allows married former episcopal priests to come into the Catholic priesthood and remain in their marriage vocation as well!
Check out Pontifications blog (he recently was ordained as a Catholic
priest in Northern NJ and has an amazing blog)
The other short answer is that Jesus wasn't married and the Church believes the priests emulate Him and St. Paul as well who said, he preferred that "you all stay as I am", meaning single.
But, keep on reading. Thanks John

March 11, 2007 5:32 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

John:
Here's an excellent site that you can trust has accurate information, meaning it is in line with the official teachings of the Church

http://www.catholic.com/library/Celibacy_and_the_Priesthood.asp

March 11, 2007 5:40 PM  
Blogger Mike Greiner said...

just a comment on the 1500 years of Christian Church history. It is simplistic to say it was "Just Rome" for 1500 years and then the Protestants.

no need to to take the time to write it out, there are many places to study Christian history.

Orthodox believers who split from the Roman Catholics in 1100 would not doubt find the 1500 year view of history an odd statement.

also, the idea of some sort of Roman unity that ran consistently from 33 AD until 1100 is also quite odd. It also isn't true. up till the 4th Century, Christianity was illegal, and when it became legal, Constantine's love for Constantinople would create ongoing divisions in the church which have lasted every since.

Many, many times there have been multiple popes claiming multiple authorities.

All this is not to try to urge anyone to be Catholic or Orthodox, or Protestant, or anything else. But bad history is bad history. Let's do our homework.

Not that it matters, but I am not a Catholic but was once. I also do not read Chick Tracts :)

March 25, 2007 11:31 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for visiting Mike.
My Mom used to say, once a Catholic always a Catholic, greater and lesser folks than you have changed their minds and chosen to return to the Church.
I pray that God opens that way for you.

March 26, 2007 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I don't really know how to put into words where I am on my journey, other than my experience in the evangelical church has left me dry and damaged, and that more and more the words I read and hear from people in the Catholic Church sound true and real to me. Lately I have been practicing contemplative prayer, which is helping me to feel conected to the Lord in ways I thought I never would.

I moved to the USA from England to marry my wonderful wife. We were both involved in evangelical churches, and when we met I felt a deap, peaceful conviction that this lady was my wife. We both did. My problem is that she does not yet share my growing desire and pull towards Catholic theology, and I find it very hard talking to her about my changing theology. She is adament the Catholic Church is in error, even though her personal theology has mellowed a lot in our three years together.

I don't really know what to do next. I think I have to personally persue my changing theology in ways that don't hurt her, and pray that God brings both our understanding closer to the truth.

Thanks again for sharing your story. God bless.

April 12, 2007 9:15 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for reading about my journey.
it is not uncommon for one of a couple to not see the path to Rome as being correct. I thought my wife was crazy for awhile! But God has a way of turning hearts.
many people are in the same place as you in your journey.
Check out the Coming home network forum and you will find yourself with many folks with similar issues and you can get some non-judgemental advice if you want.
God bless you, I will pray for you and your wife today.

April 12, 2007 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Runningmom said...

Hi Tiber Jumper,
Your story is just beautiful. My husband is an MD about your age. Also, I can especially relate to this part of your story:

"I have cried more tears of joy in the past two years than in most of my years of charismatic church life! I often choke up telling others about Christ in the Eucharist and often become teary-eyed thinking about how kind He is to have brought us back to His Church. My wife and I have experienced a spiritual oneness in our marriage that can only be described as supernatural. Before, we were always on opposite pages regarding spiritual issues and now not only are we on the same page; we can't stop turning the pages together!"

What great joy it is to be Home, huh? ;) I would love to add you to my blogroll if you don't mind.

Your nightstand looks much like mine!

blessings,
Martha aka Runningmom

April 26, 2007 7:49 PM  
Blogger David said...

What an amazing experience of redemptive suffering!

Life is grace.

May 14, 2007 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. As a cradle Catholic, I am grateful for the testimonies of those who came to the Church by choice -- although it is my choice, by God's grace, to remain Catholic. I learn so much that was lacking in my catechesis. Again, thank you and God bless!

Dan

May 18, 2007 1:34 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Margie said...
Hi - loved your story. I am trying to write a book about conversion experiences and am interested in yours. Can we talk?
Please E-mail me back. Thanks.
*******@aol.com

June 11, 2007 11:34 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Marge. It's all by the grace of God. If my story can help others, then feel free to use it. I will contact you.

June 12, 2007 7:43 AM  
Blogger Ragged Glory said...

Thanks for posting your experiences, especially in regard to the anti-catholic cults, I have had similar experience in this regard. I have noticed that a lot of these cults that claim to have the truth become completely obsessed with their anti-catholic prejudice and forget about Christ all together. But in the Holy Church is the accumulated wisdom of 2,000 years of Christian heritage.
After my experience with the protestant cults it has been a real joy to rediscover and embrace my faith again, thanks be to God. Peace be with you all.

June 25, 2007 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I’m currently in a stage of my faith walk where all I care to read are Catholic conversion stories. It’s nice to know the full details of the struggles others have gone through in their search for the true church. I’ve been a Lutheran my whole life. I’ve been in search of the “right church” for the past few years. In fact, I'll remain anonymous for now but if a person were to read my Blog from beginning (last summer) to now, I expect he/she would identify with my sense of “confusion” in direction; my sometimes difficult attempts to answer questions from a sometimes uncertain stance (i.e., individual interpretation); and my occasional inconsistencies in theology. At times, I was looking to leave Lutheranism for a more evangelical church - only to feel drawn back to Lutheranism – only to delving deeper into the history of the reformation – and finally to the realization that the Catholic Church is where it all started. All these years and the knowledge of the history of the church has been a major component that I always needed, but didn’t realize. Like you, I know now that this has all been a process for me, led by God, to help show me where and why I’m going down this current path. So lately, I’ve been putting Lutheranism on trial (so to speak) and am thankful for your stories like yours because they provide for me even more assurance that I’m not alone in what feels like my path to Rome. I pray everyday that it is Him leading me along; that this path is the right path; and that He leads me to the right people along the way.

June 28, 2007 8:30 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Anon:
Thanks for your post. You are certainly not alone, though at times it may feel that way, but you are aligning yourself with a Church that the gates of Hell have not prevailed against for 2000 years. Perhaps you have heard of the conversion of Lutheran Professor Robert Koons?
I will pray for your journey and if there's anything we can answer or pray for let me know. I can be contacted by going to my music website link and e mailing me from there.
Much grace and peace be with You in Our Lord Jesus Christ!

June 28, 2007 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just discovered this. Awesome!!!! Your account of your wife's illness was very, very moving.

I have dear Pentecostal neighbors who totally buy into that "You WILL be healed!" stuff. I know exactly what you are talking about. I have often wondered whether this attitude of denial toward pain and suffering could be emptionally harmful. Obviously, the answer is "yes."

God bless you!

Diane

June 30, 2007 3:22 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Diane:
Thanks for your kind comments.
Surely the theology of healing taught by some really is a heresy that deprives us of the grace God has for us by embracing and offering up the suffering.

Quite frankly, after my wife died, and way before I became Catholic, I felt robbed. Robbed of the truth and the ability to share honestly with my children regarding their Mom's pending death. They too felt "tricked" even at their young ages. Neither one has embraced the Christian faith and I suspect it some of it is bitterness from the whole experience.
But the story is not over and God is the God of redemption, if He could bring me back to the Truth, he can move the hearts of my boys to turn to Him.
God bless, and I will say a prayer for you in your efforts with your neighbors.

June 30, 2007 7:50 AM  
Anonymous M said...

I can only imagine how abandoned and let down you must have felt when the African missionary did not brave the weather as you had to heal your wife. But I wonder if God hadn't spoken to that man to tell him that it wasn't His will to heal your wife, and that may have had something to do with why he did not? This is such a haunting story, but it's something I learned a long time ago, too. I used to attend a Vineyard church, too, (you mentioned the Toronto Blessing) and believed that my mom could be healed if she were prayed for, but I realized gradually over the years that God has purposes in suffering we cannot understand, because His ways are not our ways.

I read your story because I was baptized in a Baptist church at the age of 18, but I have been gradually compelled to become a Catholic for the past three years. I don't have any friends in the Catholic church, though I do have a first cousin that converted and is now a devout Catholic with several kids, but she and I don't know each other very well at all. So, unlike most of you, I am not a former Catholic, and still feel this compelling call to be one.

July 03, 2007 11:59 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thank you for reading my story.
You are granted a plenary indulgence for getting all the way through it! (Just kidding)

May the Lord lead you to where He desires you to find Him .
That compelling feeling tends to not go away. Please let me know if there's anything I can answer for you. My e mail link is in my Music link page on the left in my blog links.
God bless you! You are in my prayers.

July 03, 2007 12:32 PM  
Blogger Cinamon68 said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I was raised in the Baptist Church but recently have been questioning some things. When it comes right down to it I just want to be in a church where I can grow in my Christian faith and gain a better understanding of who God is and what he wants for my life. I recently reunited with an old friend from high school who has converted from the Baptist church to Catholicism. She was NOT raised in the catholic church, but says she has never felt closer the the Lord than she does now although all of her Baptist friends think she has lost her mind. (she still attends church occasionally at the Baptist church but attend Mass every week as well.) I think I hold a lot of the same misconceptions about the Catholic church as many out there in other denominations. Searching for answers through prayer and research is what lead me to this site. Thank you again for sharing.

October 15, 2007 12:11 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Cinamon:
You are welcome and thanks for reading my story. Truth is always worth pursuing at all costs and at the end of the day, Jesus promises to lead and guide us in all Truth. Catholics believe that He gave us His Church to be the guide for us.
I have grown much closer to Jesus since becoming Catholic and hope that as the misconceptions are overcome, you too will see how much you can grow as a Catholic Christian.
To God be the Glory!

October 15, 2007 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Natasha said...

Thank you so much for sharing your conversion process. I was raised in a Methodist-Episcopal church of which my stepfather was a minister of but, I attended Catholic school five days a week. Since age nine,I have always had a strong sense of longing to be a Catholic than to remain in the faith of my baptism all my life. I have never felt such a strong connection to our Creator until I felt His Presence as a 4th grade Catholic student. At 41 years of age today, I believed that the Catholic Church is where my true joy and salvation lies. May peace be unto everyone on this blog.

October 19, 2007 7:44 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Natasha!
I have never known such closeness to Jesus as I have in the Catholic Church. The ability to receive Him physically and spiritually in the Eucharist is a mystery yet the saints for 2000 years have written about it and stressed the unique opportunity we have to become one with Him through the Eucharist.
I spent 31 years trying to be close to Him through my own works, praying more, reading more, revival meetings, more intense prayer, fasting etc (all of which are good) but it was ultimately the simplicity of humbling myself to believe He is resident in the Catholic Church(suspending my cynicism and disbelief.) All I need to do is pray, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my soul will be healed."

October 19, 2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger Jean92660 said...

What an inspiring conversion story! Very moving. I was raised Catholic (attended Catholic schools etc), but in my early 20's realized I could not give a reason to why I believed what I believed (was questioned constantly by my Evangelical boyfriend). As a result, I began attending Calvary Chapel. I really enjoyed the music. But I must say, I always felt like I was being manipulated by it emotionally. That always bothered me. I stayed for a few years, until I found a tape by Tim Staples, and then began attending classes he was teaching at St. Joseph's Radio in Orange County. It was the first time I heard someone give me a response to my questions. Since then, I have never looked back. I thank God for bringing me back!
Once again, thank you for your story and Welcome Home!

November 07, 2007 4:23 PM  
Blogger Lani said...

Not having a true faith, per se, to be raised by, I have always been taught to question things, including faith. I felt the Christ calling me at the age of 11. And though I went to Mass with my adopted parents for 5 years before becoming an adult, I rejected the order and structure it held and became Wiccan for a few years as an adult.
Now, for some reason after a dream I had, I feel as though God is calling me back to him. Your conversion story resonates within me of what I feel, that someone is pulling you toward the church. I have been to Mass twice in the past week (the last time I went to Mass was over 5 years ago). I have wanted to sleep in, do something else, but I felt a pull from the Church each time and gave in. Thanks for giving a girl hope with your story that she can perhaps understand a bit more.

November 12, 2007 10:27 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Lani:
Thanks for your kind note.
I will pray earnestly that God will continue to draw Him to yourself.
Feel free to write if you have questions regarding the Catholic faith. You will be in my prayers tonite.
God bless you.

November 12, 2007 11:01 PM  
Blogger Easter A. said...

HI Tiber,
What a beautiful story! You also write so beautifully. Have you considered publishing your story as a way of evangelizing to our lost Catholic brothers and sisters?

Thank you for sharing your life with us!

November 23, 2007 10:52 PM  
Blogger johnpilhaoh said...

I found your blog because I was on the Catholic Answers forum and did not know what crossing the Tiber meant. I googled it and found your site. I am married to a protestant and my marriage has been a disaster. We have tried to leave religious disagreements behind but even than our different personalities have drove a wedge between our sacramental marriage. Yes, we were married in the Catholic Church being naive that our Christian faith held us together. But the sacramental marriage is only sacramental as how we live it. Currently, we are at the worst point of our marriage and short of a miracle I don't know how to save it. I am praying to all the saints in heaven on behalf of our marriage and just finished my novena to our Holy Mother. As painful it is right now, I am holding to the hope that God does not allow anything without his divine will. There must be God's hand in this somewhere and I hope to submit to it humbly. Thank you for crossing the Tiber.

December 09, 2007 5:10 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear John:
I am so sorry that you and your wife are going through such tough times.
Our prayers are with you. We were very fortunate to have come to the faith the way we did, though my wife had five years (before I converted)of a very difficult road. Please feel free to write to me privately via our website www.crossedthetiber.com .
God bless you
I will lift you both up in Mass today

December 09, 2007 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Grandpa Jim said...

Dear Dr. TiberJumper

Your conversion story is a real blessing.

I have 8 children and 3 of them are outside the church. I am passing your blog URL to some of the kids in hopes of them taking the time to read it.

I have tried to interest them in conversion stories from Marcus Grodi Coming Home program and numerous books but I guess they just are not ready to realize the enormity of what they have rejected.

The Church and the Eucharist are truly the jewel of great price {prize} that are so cavalierly cast away.

One of your guests [ Mike Greiner] didn’t like your statement about the 2000yr history of the Church but let him try to deny that it is there for all to see. Jesus only started His Church. Mike needs to be reminded of the fact that the Church was established for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls.

Also, he needs to be reminded that the Church history is filled with one heresy after another and evil men who often, just like Judas, insinuated themselves into positions of importance where they could do Satan’s work. And, it continues to this very day.

Jesus knew what was coming and provided the sacrament of confession so that the sinners could clean themselves up if they wanted to.

Cradle Catholic Grandpa Jim

January 25, 2008 4:15 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for the kind comments Granpa Jim! I honor and respect folks like you who stayed true to the Church.
If you think your children would watch a DVD instead , just contact me via my e mail at my website and I can send you a DVD of our Journey Home TV interview.
I will pray for your kids, please do the same for mine.
God bless you !

January 25, 2008 4:27 PM  
Blogger David Fago said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Welcome home.

February 08, 2008 6:14 PM  
Blogger Mike Rizzio said...

You mention mercy....

Divine Mercy is what brought me back after 26 years.

My exodus from Truth started "innocently enough" when a group of us started listening to George Carlin's, hit record Class Clown in '72.

I remember the skit of an Irish boy going to a Spanish priest to confess sins of impurity and the Spanish priest being unable to understand. He gave "Tres Santa Marias" penance and the kid ran out free from sin and free to sin again.

Looking back, I have to say that at age 11-13 it was my laughing at this tripe that started me down the long and winding road to self ruin.

CS Lewis had something to say about this kind of humor in his classic, the Screwtape Letters.

I read that book the year after my reversion in '98 and exclaimed, "That's it!" Humor is a very potent weapon for the evil one...if he can get a person to laugh at sin, he can hook a person in sin.

Thanks for your great witness as a no-so-proud Roman Catholic, who truly loves the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Mother.

Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,

Mike Rizzio, SOLT

March 21, 2008 8:33 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Mike:
Thanks for your story too.
It is always his kindness and mercy that leads us Home. I am so grateful to have come back home before leaving this earth and facing a discovery, immense and too late, that the Catholic Church is truly the Church God had intended for all to be a part of.
Many of us had mocked the Church and railed against it not realizing that we were unwittingly siding with the gates of hell in our attempts to impune the bride of Christ.

March 21, 2008 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story! Your experience of the charismatic church and reactions are simular to mine.
I first felt drawn to the Catholic faith in childhood(Catholic friends) Attending a born again evangelical church for past 24 years to present day. All that time still drawn and now feel I must DO something!! I ve done a lot of study, a lot of thinking and praying and can't decide wheather I should just turn up at Mass or contact the Priest first
I love the Lord and feel Heis guiding me Karen

June 10, 2008 1:09 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Karen:
God bless you on your journey. My suggestion is to do both! Start attending Mass, even if u can't receive the Eucharist there is a spiritual communion u can make with our Lord as He is present in the Blessed Sacrament. You can go up to the priest in the communion line and fold your hands across your chest and he will give you a blessing.
Ans while attending Mass, I suggest finding a priest and talk to him and get signed up for rcia classes at your local parish. it takes 9 months of preparation to enter the Church but they want to make sure u understand everything you are getting into. Some RCIA classes are better than others and you may need to ask questions to make sure you are getting the straight scoop. For instance, if they don't hold to Church teachings on artifical contraception or abortion, Run as fast as u can. There are sadly some Catholics that think they can decide which teachings of the Church they should follow and which they can blow off.
You may be able to get that sense from the priest you speak to.
Mywife went toMass on/off for 5 years before coming back to the Church because her block headed husband was so resistant to the idea of being Catholic, but the Holy Spirit had His way!
Let me know if there's anything else I can help with and check out
the Coming Home Network for assistance.

June 10, 2008 3:19 PM  
Blogger ilsmwamh said...

Thank you so much for your story. I was raised in a modern Mennonite denomination as a child. My parents were divorced and I experience horrible sexual assualt for many years as a child. When I was a bit older I dated someone that was Catholic and my eyes were opened. I knew God was calling to me through my suffering - and I found Him in the Catholic Church. It was during my RCIA program that I was diagnosed with a large tumour on my left ovary. I was lucky and received a healing and have since devoted my life to serving Him. I am currently a 4th year theology student and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to spend each day learning about God.

June 27, 2008 6:31 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Ilsmwanh:
God bless you! Thanks for reading my story.
You are a great witness to the redemptive power of suffering.
I will pray for you today.

June 27, 2008 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

I am a Protestant but am feeling increasingly drawn to the Catholic Church. The thought has crossed my mind more than a few times about becoming Catholic. Can you recommend a good starting place for exploring the Catholic faith more, resources, etc.?

Thank you and God bless you!

Laura

June 28, 2008 8:47 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Laura:
I would be happy to point you in the direction of the Church! The web has some good stuff and not so good stuff.
First, I recommend getting a Catechism of the Catholic Church and perusing it. It's a lot of material but you can look up in the index on topics you are interested in. There are several online versions. Just google "Catechism of the Catholic Church"
Regarding web based sites, I have several on "my links" and I suggest checking them out. Particularly Catholic Answers site.
Below are some of the links I suggest you go to on the left side of of the home page of my blog. They can be accessed there at my blog
*Reasons to Be Catholic
* Catholic Information Network

* Beginning Catholic
*Catholic Bridge (This is excellent site)

* Catholic Catechism
* Thinking About Converting?

* Catholic Answers(Another great site for questions and answers)



* Catholic Apologetics

* BeginningCatholic.com


* Info About Catholicism
* Scripture Catholic(If you ever need scripture to support Catholic belief, here it is)


* Early Church Fathers
* Catholic Converts

If you have trouble finding any of these, let me know, you can e mail me any questions
at: dobrodoc1@gmail.com
God bless you I will pray for you today.

June 29, 2008 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Thank you so much for your prayers and the resource recommendations. I have been immersing myself in the study of Catholic doctrine the last several days and, although I still have many questions and uncertainties, many of my questions have already been answered through the web sites you provided, in particular the Coming Home Network.

Thank you again.

Laura

July 03, 2008 5:57 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

It is my pleasure to help other believers see the beauty of the Catholic Church. I hope to spend the rest of my life doing just that. I will continue to pray for you.
In Christ
TJ

July 03, 2008 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for a wonderful site - particularly the scriptural basis for the liturgy, which is just what I was looking for today! I am a Lutheran mom raising a Catholic family. I can relate to anonymous above, in that I find much that draws me to Catholic tradition, but I weigh it against many, many years of Luther's small catechism! I still believe Luther has much to teach us, and that the church was desperately in need of reform when he came along. But perhaps God has a plan for healing His universal church, and calls us back one by one. May He continue to bless all with His grace.

September 05, 2008 5:43 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Amen Anon! Thanks for visiting. God's grace be yours.

September 06, 2008 10:37 AM  
Blogger Pax said...

Thank you for sharing your powerful conversion story.

Like yours, our conversions in 2005 were unlikely and only by Grace. The fullness of the faith has brought us that lasting and ineffable joy that you describe in your blog entries.

We join you in praying that many others will find their way home, too. Soon.

Peace be with you.

My story is here:
http://peacepilgrim.fotopages.com/

September 15, 2008 6:48 PM  
Blogger Ashley Weis said...

Wow. What a sweet heart you have. I wanted to read your story and I am glad I did. It's a beautiful story and I'm glad you've found "home."

You had quite a few interesting experiences, I must say! All that charismatic stuff is crazy. I don't even want to know what holy laughter is.

Thanks for sharing your heart and your story. I really enjoyed it. And I'm happy to see that you are where you are today. You and your wife and family.

I love that you were finally able to embrace suffering. St. Therese is the one who helped me to do the same. I remember reading her book once and I stopped to pray and I actually asked God for suffering because I wanted to be closer to Him in that way. My prayer was answered and I'm not sure if I'll be praying that again. Haha. Although I welcome suffering as a means to grow closer to Him and become more like Him (and also glorify Him amidst pain), but it's certainly not something I want to ASK for. :)

Anyhoo, thanks for this post! Good to know more about you and your family! Blessings in Jesus. I pray that His love forever envelopes you and yours as you continue to serve Him.

December 31, 2008 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

What a beautiful story of triumph for you. I'm 60 and converted to Catholicism when I was 18. I come from a long line of Protestants and preachers. Converting was the best decision of my life. I have never felt closer to God as I do when I'm at Mass. How wonderful it is that our Church is 2000 years old!!

January 05, 2009 9:33 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks so much Linda, I agree that we can't get any closer to Him in this life than through the Mass!
What a gift the Church is to us!

January 05, 2009 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

Awesome and beautiful story! The title of your blog "Crossed the Tiber" is what drew me onto the site. I was raised Evangelical, and went to churches like you were describing ("holy roller"). I am now preparing to enter the Church. Thanks for sharing!

April 08, 2009 10:35 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

God bless you Jessica and welcome Home!
You will be so happy to come home to the Catholic Church.

April 08, 2009 7:11 PM  
Blogger Brooke H. said...

It never ceases to amaze me how alike all Christian are in their struggles and questions. We go through so much of the same things while thinking that we're all alone.

I really related to this comment: "My wife and I have experienced a spiritual oneness in our marriage that can only be described as supernatural. Before, we were always on opposite pages regarding spiritual issues and now not only are we on the same page; we can't stop turning the pages together!"

My husband and I are the same way. I can't imagine not having what we have now.

Your story was very moving, and I'm sure you have and will continue to touch many people's hearts with it.

May 29, 2009 12:23 AM  
Blogger Anna Elissa said...

Hello there! Your story is beautiful! I feel very grateful for you and your whole family. I'm a cradle Catholic who once became an agnostic of some sort and now is a fully-reloaded Catholic! :D

Thanks for sharing your story, and God bless you.

June 27, 2009 11:25 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Anna:
Thanks for reading the story.
I love how you describe yourself "fully reloaded". That's great. God is so merciful to draw us back to Him, regardless of how long or how far we have gone away. Each day in the Eucharist we become one with Him and fully "re-load!"

June 27, 2009 1:51 PM  
Blogger Anette Acker said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog, and for sharing your testimony. I'm so sorry about what you and your wife had to go through when she died! I can definitely relate to that need to twist my mind into an attitude of "faith," even if it means denying the truth.

Since then I've learned that faith is just receiving the abundant life that God offers. It's not that different whether it pertains to holiness or healing. But, as you point out, holiness comes first, whether or not someone is healed.

Regarding Catholicism, there's no question in my mind that a Catholic can be just as devout as a Protestant. The way is narrow that leads to life, and those on that path come from every denomination. I wonder if the reason why some Catholics turn evangelical and vice versa is because we get into a rut where it's all jargon and we lose the life Jesus wants to give. A change of perspective may make the substance of our faith more real to us.

Just a couple of questions (and these are just honest question--I'm not trying to challenge you): First, you mention that the Eucharist is very important to Catholics because it's the actual presence of Christ in the bread and the wine. But Brother Lawrence (whose book you mention as one of your favorites) talks about practicing God's presence all the time. He says nothing about the Eucharist or any other sacrament. Nothing distinguishes Brother Lawrence from a Protestant, because his book is all about an intimate walk with God in faith and obedience. Isn't that what it's all about, regardless of our denomination? And, in your mind, wouldn't a Protestant who does this be better off than a Catholic who just takes the Eucharist faithfully? I would certainly say that a Catholic who lives like Brother Lawrence is FAR better off than an evangelical who has just said the Sinner's Prayer.

Second, when you were first born again as a teenager, you "were set free from much sin and bad life choices in just one night." I understand that to mean that you stopped sinning in those ways, and not just that you felt forgiven. You also say that your parents "didn't allow their faith to help them with their personal problems. They had a troubled marriage and alcohol abuse was a chronic unspoken demon in their lives." Later, you came to believe that you were misguided as a teenager. Why? Didn't Jesus come to take away our sins? Again, this is just an honest question, and I may have missed your explanation in the text.

BTW, I totally agree with you that the Bible says nothing about the Sinner's Prayer (but it does talk about being born again), and we will be judged by our sins (including our sins of omission). But of course a living faith in Christ is the means to obedience, as Brother Lawrence demonstrates so well.

I'm glad that your spiritual journey has led you to a place you feel home!

Blessings!

Anette

August 08, 2009 9:17 AM  
Blogger TJ said...

Annette:
Thanks for reading my post!
I will answer your questions as a separate new post when I get the time to do it soon, and will let u know when I post it. thanks again
russ

August 10, 2009 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

You know, the Catholic Priest could've just asked you a simple question

"What good is an infallible book, without an infallible interpreter?"

Out of 38,000 Christian denominations
where is Truth?

February 14, 2010 7:05 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

You know Chris, I suspect I was so blind to Truth at the time that even if I was presented with good apologetic arguments from my priest, I may not have given them thought. But who knows? Thanks for reading the story.

February 14, 2010 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Godblessed said...

I am really touched by your story. I am a young man 23-years-old who is facing a very difficult decision. God has touched me with his Holy Spirit and i have a zeal I never felt before. I am always touched by Catholic conversion stories because they same more sincere than any other. Its hard being a Catholic in this world. The devil is constantly trying to destroy God's church. I can relate to some of the things you mention in your testimony. There are many churches that have great fellowship and true Christians who have a zeal for God. Then there are many Catholics who don't know their faith and are easy pickings for anti-catholic sects but I digress. I am not ranting. I am proud to profess my faith. Two years ago, I could have cared less about my spiritual life or salvation much less my catholic faith. God has opened my eyes and called me to him. This zeal I have, this love, this passion I have, I want to touch people and bring them to Christ. I sought God, and like the just God he is, he heard my prayer. I have been dating a girl-non-Catholic for six years and as much as it pains me, I belive our journey is at its end. She doesn't understand where this passion has come from. She doesn't understand my faith.I am not professing my faith to gain human approval, for show or competition. God has changed me. I sought him out. I was planning to marry her and we had never really sat down and discussed it. She is one of the most zealous Christians I know but one who I believe is sadly misguided. My spirit always troubled me about marrying outside the church. Why should I seek a dispensation.What am I lacking in the Catholic Chruch. Emotionalism? People always seem to think that catholics are lacking but when people return to their Catholic faith, it is because they have tried all duplicates and God is directing them to truth. Needless to say the doctrines she prescribes to have been at war with my spirit. For instance as you mentioned, how could a white lie give you a one way ticket to hell when you have been earnestly following Christ all your life. How could a lie be the same as murder in God's eyes. even our worldy system of justice knows better much less God who is all knowing. But again I digress. People try desperately to explain away 2000 years of Christianity. They want to deny that the Catholic church was the first christian church, dating back to the time of the apostles, yet by doing so the only contradict themselves following their own destructive doctrines and man made religions. I condemn no church that is certainly not what Christians do but as Christains we must profess our faith. Why do people hate the Catholic church so much yet hold the bible so tightly. May God bless you. Pray for me. More Catholics need to be serious about their faith. Christ's body has been divided too many times. Yet when the world goes wrong, they turn to the Catholic church. May God bless you and all who read this story. I am a young man who sought God for myself. I wasn't brainwashed by some priest or bible study teacher. I prayed and studied and when I look at the world, I see no Church which resembles Christ or is more Christ centered than the Catholic church. Persecutions will come but God is truly with us. I fear I will have to sever a six year firendship and may lose more friends because of my faith but this is what I believe. Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin and I cannot participate in something I do not believe in or associate with someone who opposes me.

March 23, 2010 10:45 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Godblessed:
thanks for sharing at such a personal level. I am so greatful to God that he can use my story to encourage others. I will pray for you as you make a most difficult decision regarding your girlfriend.
I have to tell you that my marriage now is infinitely better since we both love Jesus and His Church and make frequent use of the confessional and daily reception of Jesus in the Eucharist to give us grace to live this life. I will pray God leads you into His path and give you his peace. Thanks for commenting.

March 23, 2010 10:56 PM  
Blogger Felipe. said...

Very nice. It had me shook, no matter how long it takes, we all are going to come home again. Very nice conversion story. May Jesus and The Holy Ghost give the ones who left the Church the same opportunity given to you.

May 05, 2010 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a cradle Catholic. I grew up debating other members of other CHristian sects. Then once I met a priest who told me that most theologians who wrote great works and praises about the Blessed Mother were Protestants. This led me to an understanding that Catholic converts like you give full meaning and life to catholics like me. Your journey home makes me love Jesus more. Your love of Him now in the Eucharist is what binds all together. Thank you for your story. - Tony

May 22, 2010 3:56 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Tony; thanks for your kind thoughts. I always hope and pray that God's work in bringing me back to the Church can be a blessing to others to strengthen and confirm their faith. God bless you and the many othercradle Catholics who never left and remained faithful.

May 22, 2010 9:43 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Love your story, Tiber. Thanks.

May 24, 2010 1:16 AM  
Blogger Peaceful said...

Thank you so much for this story. I am just beginning my journey, I believe, back to the Church, and your story has rung true with me beyond belief! I am thankful to God for your conversion and pray His blessings on you and your family!

June 26, 2010 6:46 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Peaceful
thanks for taking the time to read the blog.
Please E mail me if you need any direction or assistance. I will keep you in my prayers today.
Being Catholic is one of the greatest experiences of my life, and know it is the best way of apprehending God and being apprehended by Him.
Take care
Russ

June 26, 2010 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great story! Actually, reading it reminds me of a video I saw called "Catholicism Crisis Of Faith". Maybe you've seen it, it has interviews with former priests and nuns with testimonies like yours and it tried to make out that the Catholic Church was not the true Church of God. Later I saw something at Catholic Answers that made me see that I made the right decision not to leave the Catholic Church. (I am a cradle Catholic.) It seems that the interview with Fr. Richard Chilson was manipulated to make him look stupid, which doesn't sound very Christlike to me!

July 31, 2010 10:35 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Anon: thanks for reading my story. I hope it encouraged you and Lord willing you can share with other folks the Truth about His Church so they won't be pulled away like I was.
God bless
Russ

July 31, 2010 11:04 PM  
Blogger Stevin said...

Thank you so much for this amazing conversion story. I have been a Faithful Christian Catholic all of my life and have been searching for a story as compelling as yours.

It made me so happy to see that you had returned to the True Church of God and it's given me hope that more and more people could have a similar story as yours.

Your story has touched the hearts of many and your constant responses to peoples comments are very well appreciated. So thank you for sharing your story with us, I'm sure it was difficult to write, but the holy Spirit gave you the power you needed to get through it. And may I say, you' did a great job <3

Much Luv <3 UniQuE

August 21, 2010 2:15 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Stevin:
thanks so much for your kind comment and spending the time reading it!
I hope and pray that somehow God will use our conversion to bring others back to the Faith as well as encourage the faithful folks like yourself who stayed the course. Sometimes I feel a little sheepish that I can come into the vineyard towards the end of the day but receive the same "wage" that the workers who have been there since sun-up receive. But it's all His tremendous mercy and kindness!!
God bless you and thanks again for commenting.

August 21, 2010 11:57 AM  
Blogger The Catholic Sojourner said...

From a fellow former-Evangelical convert to the Catholic faith - I say welcome home! Your story should be an inspiration to others and Evangelicals are discovering the One True Church!
---todd

August 22, 2010 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an inspiring story. I am born Catholic and will be a Catholic for ever. Jesus is true with His promise, that he will not leave His Church. The Eucharist is His real presence His body and blood given to us for our souls' nourishment. Aside from that, He revealed himself to all generations who have faith in Him and His church. let me share to you Jesus' personal revelation to me. When I was at the of 8, whether you believe or not Jesus appeared to me in His Sacred Heart image and touch my forehead while I was praying the rosary. With Him were two angels, one was carrying an incense while the other one was carrying a cross. This is after I battled a bunch of demons that also appeared to me giving me sickness to the point that I almost die. Using the rosary of my mother hanged in our altar I scare them off and all demons fled at the sight of this God's intrument. While lying on the floor I started to pray the rosary and that was the time that Jesus appeared to me with His two angels and after awhile He gave me back my health. I am sure that this is God's way of affirming to me that the Catholic Church where I belong is indeed the true Church, and I'm a living witness and proof to it. Because of this, I never doubted my religion though of all people I don't know why God would choose me to experience this revelation, who is so unworthy because of my sins. But this is my true experience that I want to share and I also believe that God reveals himself to each and everyone of us in a different way. This is one of my missions to propagate the Holy Rosary. So I am appealing to you, aside from meeting Jesus if possible everyday in the Eucharist as our highest form of worship, I encourage all of you my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray the Holy Rosary, a powerful prayer towards the Triune God taught to us by the Church as devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and as a powerful prayer to combat all forms of evil. I saw really how the flying demons flew away so fast when they saw me carrying the rosary.

September 14, 2010 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Sonia said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am about to begin RICA classes next week and it is very awesome to hear a conversion story like yours.

November 11, 2010 7:20 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Sonia! Congratulations! I will say prayers for you tonite.
Please write if My wife or I can be of any assistance or answer any questions. God bless

November 11, 2010 10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much for your beautiful conversion story! I am a cradle Catholic and have a sister who began attending an evangelical church after a bitter divorce. It was not a divorce that she ever wanted but her husband forced the divorce on her. She began dating a man who had been Catholic but was now very anti-Catholic in his beliefs. For a few months now my sister has been struggling with the idea of returning to the Catholic faith or staying with the evangelicals. Returning to the Catholic church is proving difficult for my sister because of pressure from the pastor of this small church and from the congregation, and especially because of pressure from her boyfriend! She is searching and confused and I worry because this man will not support her in her search for God and for the truth. Instead of this man rejoicing that my sister is finding closeness with God (in the Catholic church), he continually questions the church and tells her that the Catholic church is wrong. Why can't Protestants just leave Catholics alone? Why must they constantly try to prove that their interpretation of the Bible is better than anyone else's? Why must they continually pick on Catholics and the Catholic church instead of doing what they are supposed to be doing: that is spreading the Word and the love of our wonderful God? Instead they choose to spread lies about the Catholic church, and hatred towards Catholics and the church. I just pray that my sister will not make the same mistake of marrying another person who does not share her faith. In the long run it would just result in bitterness, unhappiness and most likely another divorce. Loneliness and the need to be wanted and loved can over rule our minds and hearts. Please pray for my sister and her struggle to find the truth.

June 02, 2011 10:04 AM  
Blogger Marguerite said...

Thank you for posting your story of you conversion. I am truly inspired by it. God bless you always!

February 23, 2013 1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. I was born in a staunch yet loving Catholic Family. I was a "so called devout Catholic" all my life, however only until I came to live in the UAE. The Lord found me and we began a relationship I treasure and hope lasts all eternity. I'm thankful to be a Catholic.

I will share your story with a dear friend who has now moved to the "Evangelic Church" and for whom I offer up a Hail Mary most days, your story gives me faith and hope he too will return to Rome....after all, All Roads do lead to Rome! :-)

November 07, 2013 2:16 PM  

Post a Comment

Home

Universalis

Locations of visitors to this page