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.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy St. Augustine Day!

St Augustine is one of my favorite saints and I have asked him repeatedly over the past 6 years for his intercession. He found the Lord later in his life, but he sure did make up for lost time! A Priest, A Bishop, Doctor of the Church and master-slayer of heresies. He single-handedly defeated montanism, manicheanism, pelagianism and other heresies of his time.
I relate to him in an analogous way. Late have I found the Catholic Church, a beauty so ancient, yet ever new.
Here's a live video I made for today's feast of St. Augustine.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The World Celebrates Mother Teresa's 100th Birthday Tomorrow!

Happy Birthday Mother Teresa!

We will be visiting your Childrens' Home in Haiti soon. Pray for us.

Haiti Bound!

On September 4th, my wife and I and a team of 12 others from our parish, St. Joseph the Worker, leave for Haiti for a 7 day medical mission to Sts. Simon and Jude in Port-Au-Prince. We have had a tremendous response from our parish in raising funds, donating vitamins and OTC meds over the past 8 months. Two young boys collected over 17,000 vitamins as part of their confirmation project. We had three "pill-packing" parties and a large amount of parishioners came out for each party to count and pack the pills into patient ready bags that were pre-labeled in Creole.
This weekend we hosted Fr. Andrew of St. Simon and Jude Parish in Port-Au-Prince at our parish and he spoke at all 6 masses to tell the story of his mission parish in Haiti. We will join him in 9 days in PAP.

Could I ask your prayers once again?

For safety and health of the travelers.(We have never been down there this time of year, and it's hot!!!!)
For grace with the customs agents to bring the meds in unhindered.
For wisdom and courage for the practitioners.
For charity and open-hearts to all those we see and treat.
For unity amongst ourselves both in the clinic and afterwards.
For ongoing conversion of our own hearts through seeing Jesus in the Least of These.
For the staff of Fr. Andrew's rectory and for Fr. Andrew .

Your prayers will be united with those of the faithful at St Joe's who will be praying before the Lord in the adoration chapel for 24 hours a day while we are in Haiti.

God bless you and thank you very much!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

3 seconds of Fame

Here's a link to my son's short moment of Hollywood glory in a scene from the Last Airbender. He is the third soldier in from the left. His younger brother made this clip for him. He is in the Peace Corp in Moldova and never got to see it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Keeps You Out Of The Church?

I have had many great responses to my blog post on What Brought You Back to the Church.
Now I'm going to turn the tables and ask my non-Catholic and ex Catholic friends:

What is it that keeps you Out of the Catholic Church?

some thoughts:

  • theological issues?
  • family issues?
  • bad Catholics?
In your response, please try to be charitable. Comments that include words that rhyme with "prostate" and/or have the suffix "phile" won't be posted.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What Brought You Back to the Church?

The reasons for a person's decision to embrace Catholicism are many and often can't be explained by one single factor. I still enjoy hearing a convert or revert's story because there is always something unique about each journey.
I am just wondering what it was that brought you to the Catholic Church as a revert or convert.

If you have a second, could you post a few thoughts on what was the most influential person/place/thing/event that got you on the journey?

Here's a few ideas:

  • Was it hearing or reading of the testimony of another convert?
  • Was it a book, tape, cable TV or the new social media that was instrumental?
  • Was it a personal relationship with another Catholic at work or home (ie spouse)?
  • Was it completely supernatural and you can't identify a single factor?

I am hoping to see if there are any things that are more common than others and thus perhaps more effective in bringing people across the Tiber. Thanks!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Morning Call Interview

About 5 months ago I was interviewed for an article in our local paper regarding Haiti. Once the interviewer came to the house, he was intrigued by my conversion to Catholicism and the musical instruments sitting in the living room. Turns out he was a devout Catholic who re-committed to the faith after college. This is a short video that his videographer took and posted it on their on-line site. I never saw it until today.

Friday, August 13, 2010

For Those Who Hate The Catholic Church

I had a protracted serious of exchanges with a protestant on fb recently which became more and more heated as he refused to answer direct questions and other Catholics started to get exasperated by his responses and "piled on."
He then started accusing the Church of pagan rituals and called the consecration of the Blessed Sacrament a "magic trick." I am usually fairly tolerant to keep going but I felt a line was crossed when the individual began making personal attacks on my character. I wondered why this mild mannered person who was a friend for over 10 years felt the need to now attack each and every post I made regarding Catholic teachings. I don't recall one discussion I ever had with him in the years I attended his church regarding any theology, Catholic or otherwise.
What is it about the Catholic faith that causes such a visceral reaction among protestants, even folks who you had a genuine friendship with? Even after 6 years , it still surprises me that folks can be so vitriolic regarding my reversion to the Church.

Fisheaters has an excellent post for these folks which I borrowed here below:

For Those Who Hate the Catholic Church

Ask yourself: why do I hate the Catholic Church? Who taught me what I think I know about the Catholic Church? Is what I was taught true? Have I looked at what the Catholic Church has to say about itself, using official resources such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church and papal encyclicals? Could my opinion of the Catholic Church possibly be based on bias, bigotry, bad history, propaganda from the secular media, or the bad priests who get publicity (i.e., the sick, and sickening, ephebophile priests or those certain heretical modernist priests the secular media love to give press to)? Is it fair to judge doctrine by such things? Is any group with human beings in it free from sin and scandal? If I am wrong about the Catholic Church, what does that mean?
Here are some common myths about the Catholic Church:

Because Catholics reject the tradition of "sola fide" ("faith alone"), they think they can work their way into Heaven and believe they are saved by works . WRONG
Catholics think the pope does not sin . WRONG
Catholics re-crucify Christ at their Masses (or at least think they do) WRONG
Catholics think Mary is part of the Godhead and is to be worshipped WRONG
Catholics worship statues WRONG (for the 150th time on this blog) WRONG
Catholics think they can't pray to God directly but have to go through saints WRONG
Catholics conjure the dead WRONG
Catholics believe people can be saved after they die WRONG
The Catholic Church teaches that one who isn't formally a Catholic is damned to Hell WRONG
The Crusades are an example of Catholic aggression WRONG
The Inquisition(s) killed hundreds of thousands of people and targeted Jews WRONG
Pope Pius XII was "Hitler's Pope" and didn't do a thing to help Jews during WWII WRONG
The Catholic Church wasn't around until the time of Constantine, a pagan who controlled the Church. WRONG
The Catholic Church did more than baptize pagan calendar days for the good of Christ, it is pagan in its very roots. WRONG

If you believe any of the above myths, I implore you to research. For doctrinal questions, ask the Church what it teaches; it's the only fair thing to do. For historical questions, look at balanced and objective scholarly research from a variety of sources (including Catholic ones). And as you research, keep in mind the common logical fallacies that are often used in attacks against Catholicism:
Generalization: "I knew a Catholic/ex-Catholic (or I was a Catholic) who was (mean, a drunk, not holy, didn't like the Church, was superstitious, didn't know the Bible, didn't have a deep relationship with Jesus, etc.), so therefore, the teachings of the Catholic Church are wrong." (Ignores the fact that bad catechesis, misunderstandings, or other shortcomings of a few Catholics do not reflect on what the Catholic Church teaches)

Bifurcation:"If the Catholic Church doesn't teach that it's faith alone that saves, then it must teach that men are saved by their own works." (Ignores that we teach that we are saved by Grace alone -- a Grace with which we must cooperate through "faith that works in love")

Cum hoc ergo propter hoc (with this, therefore because of this): "Winter Solstice is on 21 December; Christmas is 25 December. Therefore, Christmas is a pagan holiday. (Ignores that fact that there are only 365 days to choose from in a year and that the early Church Fathers had good reasons to choose the date they did. It also ignores that Protestants' "Reformation Day" is celebrated on 31 October, the pagan festival of Samhain.)

Post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this): "Constantine must have been the real source of the Catholic Church's teachings because after his reign the Church grew tremendously, and before his reign it wasn't as well-known" (Ignores the simple fact that Constantine merely stopped the persecution of Christians with the Edict of Milan and allowed Christianity to spread. It also ignores the writings of the Church Fathers who lived before Constantine -- and who were Catholic.)

Straw man: "You guys worship statues, and that's evil. Therefore, your religion is Satanic." (Ignores that fact that we don't worship statues)

Meanwhile: The Final Challenge

... and now I challenge each of you who calls on the Name of the Lord to take two hours of your life to listen to theologian and former very anti-Catholic Presbyterian minister, Scott Hahn, and to Rosalind Moss, who was raised Jewish and later became Evangelical. Both are now Catholic; don't you want to know why? Truly, I challenge you to listen and pray and think about what you hear, all with an open heart to God's will.

Real Audio: Listen to Scott Hahn tell his story

Real Audio: Listen to Rosalind Moss tell her story

Courtesy of Fisheaters.

Monday, August 09, 2010

FaceBook Evangelism

I was recently told by an evangelical friend from my former church on facebook that I talk more about Catholicism than Jesus. The person wrote that they were reading about the gospel of the Catholic Church on my pages, not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is how I responded:

"Jesus is the center of my life and is more important to me now than he ever has been. It was my return to the Catholic Church 6 years that brought that about.
I use facebook to explain the truth and beauty that I have found in the Catholic faith. I was misinformed for so many years and told things about the Catholic Church that were not true. Once I realized the joy peace and intimacy with God that can be had through Catholicism, it would be selfish to not share it with my brothers and sisters in Christ, who like me, never understood Catholicism . Every day more and more people are discovering this and my conversion/reversion to the Catholic Church was not an isolated event. That's why I frequently post about converts. To show that other evangelicals and Protestants studied, prayed and were led by God to join the Church. Many pastors losing their livelihoods in order to do it!

I didn't become Catholic on a whim, but strongly felt I needed to do it once God revealed to me the truth about the Church.
Without the grace of Christ in our lives, none of us can live the Christian life. I don't find the Church full of rules and laws. I find the Church like a gentle mother guiding its children along the path of salvation. We as Christians were never meant to be without the Church and as a Catholic I believe he gives all what we need to live the life He has called us to.
The gospel of the Catholic Church is the gospel of Jesus Christ:
God sent his only son into the world to save sinners, by dying on the cross, and rising again . Most of my fb friends already know that, and I desire to share with them what additional grace can be had for them through the Catholic Church.

If you discovered a treasure , you would share it with others. That's how I feel about my Catholic faith.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Young Evangelicals Crossing The Tiber

Here's an interesting blog from a group of Wheaton College students and graduates who are becoming Catholic or have already converted. Wheaton College is the evangelical protestant "center of the universe" here in America. An interesting phenomenon for sure.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Part 2 of My UTube Response to Ex-Catholic

Monday, August 02, 2010

Catholic Response to an Ex-Catholic

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Another Rentlorian Chant : The Hail Mary

The hail Mary is an often misunderstood prayer. It is perceived as worshiping Mary. But that can't be since Catholics worship the Triune God alone. The initial words of the prayer are from Scripture in Luke.If an angel can honor Mary , we certainly can as well. But the prayer hinges on the name of Jesus. Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. In the hail Mary we honor Mary and then bless the name of Jesus! The prayer concludes with asking her to intercede for us, and what son won't hear the cries of his mother? I took some liberty with the words of the prayer to highlight these points.

Young Evangelicals Converting to Catholicism.

I found this interesting article highlighting the increasing number of young evangelical Christians who are discovering the roots of their faith and converting to Catholicism. The author interviews students from King's College, a traditional evangelical college in NYC.
Once again, the discovery of Church history (before 1517) plays an important part in the conversion process.