Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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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.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pizza Box Preaching to Keep Kids Katholic

This past Sunday, Prodigal Daughter and I were invited to speak at a parish near Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania . Catholics call these "witness talks" contrasted with "giving our testimony" in evangelical parlance. (Becoming Catholic is learning a whole new language, but that's for another post.) We were asked to speak to the confirmation class about our conversion/reversion story. We joined the kids in the all-purpose room after the Mass and a dinner. In our diocese, revert stories are not all that common (yet) and it encourages "cradle Catholics" to understand why we left and why we returned. I always am humbled speaking to these folks because they remained faithful to the Catholic faith despite some perilous times in the past 25 years, while I bailed. I believe I was showing what the Church calls my vincible ignorance, I just didn't know what and who I was leaving.

Our witness talk is not "ecumenical" and our goal is to encourage the listeners to stay Catholic. We try to make sure the host knows this before we come to speak. I have since learned to do this because last year I was asked to give a "pep talk" to an entire Catholic High School and ended up offending most, if not all, the faculty and students!! I was told to encourage the students in their faith and I made the wrong assumption that all the listeners were Catholic. I had 7 minutes to tell my reversion story. Needless to say, it didn't go well and later I was accused of "hating" protestants and they wondered if I wasn't going to join another church after this latest stopover. Whew! Maybe it was my joke about Luther getting his idea about "faith alone" while in the "tower." (Hey, I thought it was funny, no one laughed) Well, it turns out, many of the faculty are not Catholic as well as a fair amount of the students at this Catholic HS. So my lesson was: learn who the audience is, what they want to hear and never do a 45 minute talk in 7 minutes!

So back to the Confirmation Class talk. Prodigal Daughter and I gave our talk and we emphasized the tremendous treasure they have in the Catholic Church. We explained how the sacraments are opportunities for God to reach down and "hug them" and give His grace to them and change their lives. We emphasized the need for a personal relationship with Jesus in all of this and talked about how the Pope last year encouraged us all to personally know Christ. Most of all, we emphasized the way they can have Jesus in the Eucharist. I always choke up when I tell them how I had been trying to get close to Jesus for the past thirty years and tried many different churches but He was there all the time in the Catholic Church. I said to them, "I tried the rest, now I found the best!" Just like the Pizza Box says. I told the kids that they don't have to try all the other religions out there because Prod and I did and we found that the Church is the Best!! "Trust us, we saved you the trouble." Perhaps, if I had heard a "Pizza Box Preach" as a young Catholic, it wouldn't have been so easy to just walk away if I knew what I was leaving.

Lord Jesus, I ask that you fill these kids with your Holy Spirit at their confirmation in such a way that they will never desire anything but You in the Holy Eucharist and in their hearts. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit we ask this, Amen.


Anonymous Churchlady said...

Thank you for your prayers. I am sure the kids and their parents will appreciate them. After listening to your other Catholic music our pastor wants to know if you can put a supplement out for the back of our hymnals? I loved Rome Sweet Rome!

May 22, 2007 6:40 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks so much, please thank Pastor Ward for me.
God bless

May 22, 2007 9:17 PM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Ha, I had the opposite experience, I knew I was Catholic from the cradle, but did not get to eat pizza until I was in college!!

In all seriousness, I know what you mean. It's so important for children to know Jesus from the very beginning, and trust in his love, and then to be properly formed in their Catholicism, and that all must start in the home. These days there are so many of what seems to be "choices", and that's in part a consequence of our consumer culture. For 1900 years people worried about living a good life and then receiving their eternal reward and once they found "the way", they clung to it. The past 100 years has been so commercialized that religion is also like boxes of cereal to choose from, or worse, to skip at all. If children have belief in love of Jesus, as young adults they will sort their way through the distractions and experiments, but they sure need that foundation first.

What PB16 wrote after the war, in his "Milestones" Memoirs: Despite the extreme differences of our experiences and perspectives, we were all bound together by a great sense of gratitude for having been allowed to return home from the abyss of those difficult years. This gratitude now created a common will to make up finally for everything we had neglected and to serve Christ in his Church for new and better times, for a better Germany, and for a better world.

May 23, 2007 4:04 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"If children have belief in love of Jesus, as young adults they will sort their way through the distractions and experiments, but they sure need that foundation first."
Yes and that foundation can be found in His Church. They don't have to go outside, but sadly will at some point if the relationship isn't there.Thanks for the comment

May 23, 2007 8:17 AM  

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