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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

View From The Bridge (well, actually, under the bridge)

Mass in the Dark-A Journey Back to the Early Church Worship

Due to the snowstorm sustained by the Northeast this weekend, our power had been out from Saturday evening until this afternoon.  This morning, my wife and I headed out as usual to daily mass at 6:30 AM. As we approached the church there were no lights on because of the power failure and we wondered if mass would be cancelled. When we got closer to the parking lot we saw the faithful walking from their cars to the front door so we were pretty sure we would have mass.  Once inside, we looked down from the foyer through the glass doors into the sanctuary and saw rows of candles illuminating the altar in an otherwise darkened Church.
    We then noticed a row of chairs set up surrounding the altar. Fr. Ardinger set it up this way so everyone could see and hear and enter into the worship fully, not impeded by the darkness and lack of amplification from the sound system. I had never been so close to the altar during Mass and couldn't wait until the consecration when I knew Jesus would made present in the appearances of bread and wine. (At this point in the mass, the angels also surround the altar and worship as well, and I thought that it is actually much more crowded up here than it appears)
   After the consecration, Fr. Ardinger went around the altar to each of us bringing us Jesus. "The  body of Christ" he said to each, and we each quietly responded, "amen" and received the Eucharist. He then went to those sitting in the pews who were unable to climb the steps to the altar and gave them the Eucharist.(not unlike the early priests who reserved some of the Eucharist to take to those who were sick at home and unable to attend the mass.)
    Throughout the mass I thought about how the early Christians worshiped and how our present mass was so similar. The early Christians went to the catacombs and made altars on the tombs of the martyrs and celebrated the Eucharist in the darkness illuminated only by candles. This is why, incidentally, most altars that are made still have a relic of a saint or martyr embedded in them during construction, to reflect this ancient tradition of the Church.  The current liturgy uses some of the very same prayers that our early fathers in faith used and the order of the service is essentially unchanged from the second century.  As we walked out of the Church, the early morning sun was starting to rise in the east.  I was so thankful to receive Jesus and commune with so great a cloud of witnesses that have worshiped the Lord in this very same way for almost 2000 years.
For further reading on the Sacrifice of the Mass Go here .

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reformation Day – and What Led Me To Back to Catholicism

Reformation Day – and What Led Me To Back to Catholicism

Dr Francis Beckwith, professor of Jurisprudence and Philosophy at Baylor and convert to Catholicism from reformed Protestantism explains how his musings about how the canon of scripture came to be led him back to the Church that set the canon!

"So, ironically, the Protestant case for a deuterocanonical-absent Old Testament canon depends on Catholic intuitions about a tradition of magisterial authority."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Extended Trailer for Catholicism Series by Fr. Barron

We have been watching the series here at home(after finally getting the HDMI cable configured with the tv!). It is one of the best presentations on the fullness of the Catholic faith I have seen. Starting with the basics of who God is and the Incarnation, Fr. Barron moves on to the explain the core doctrines of the faith using scenes throughout the world where Catholicism has changed lives and shaped nations. His chapter on the the Eucharist and the saints alone are worth the price of the whole DVD set, IMHO.
This is soon to be broadcast on PBS in NYC viewing area. Don't miss the opportunity to be blessed and invite your non-Catholic friends and family to tune in. It is non-polemical in its approach and beautiful to watch.

Occupy This!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Virtual Tour of St. Peter's Basilica, Burial Place of Saint Peter

Here's a link to a most excellent virtual tour of Saint Peter's.

"feeling like I was in heaven... and wondering why, if Catholics got everything else wrong, as I had been taught, they got beauty so right. How could falsehood and evil be so beautiful?"
Peter Kreeft, PhD, (convert from dutch reformed calvinism) at 12 years old on his visit to St Patrick's Cathedral.

BTW, the bones of Saint Peter have been found under the high altar in a sub-basement excavation many  years ago.

Fellowship of Catholic University Students

One Billion Stories is hosting many videos like this. Focus is being used by God to bring a whole generation of young people back to the Catholic faith.

More on the Recent "Vatican Document" Regarding Economics

Monday, October 24, 2011

One World Bank? Oh No.....Jack Chick Was Right After All?

Did the pope really say we should have one world bank? Actually no he didn't. A pontifical council in the Vatican just released a document making suggestions to implement a system of central authority to ameliorate the financial problems we are currently experiencing due to the unchecked greed that unbridled capitalism has resulted in. There is actually a chance that Pope Benedict never signed off on this document. Before all the anti-Catholics take this and run with it (Chick tracts in hand) I suggest reading this article by Tom Peters at Catholic Vote blog.
   I wish that the press would be equally quick to publish the Church's teachings on faith and morals which are infallible vs their comments on social and political issues (which are "prudential", not infallible).

From Catholic News Agency:

"At a news conference Oct. 24, the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, emphasized that the document was "not an expression of papal magisterium," but instead was an "authoritative note of a Vatican agency," the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In that sense, he said, it would not be correct to report that "Pope Benedict says" what's in the document, he said."

Out of Darkness: New Documentary on Pornography

Check out this new award winning film by Anteroom Pictures.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Love You More Than Time

Here's a little tune I wrote for my wife several years ago but never recorded. Here's the first studio effort. (just waiting for a drum track from my son.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

IV Drip To Thansgiving Dinner

"When I looked up at the altar and saw Christ offering His body and blood to the Father, and thought of my former experience in ----- churches, I thought how starved I had really been. Going from protestantism to Catholic is like going from an intravenous drip to thanksgiving dinner."
David Meyer
New Christendom blog

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Catholic Controversy by Saint Francis de Sales

I just received my used copy of saint Francis de Sales Catholic Controversy. I originally heard about this on the net several years ago when I found snippets of it posted and blogged about it. I never got around to ordering the full collection of his apologetic writings until now. This book is actually a collection of letters, tracts and essays that St. Francis wrote to the people of Chablais who had left the Catholic faith for Calvinism some 60 years before. The letters were then put together posthumously.
       What is fascinating to me is that the apologetic arguments he used to win people back to the Catholic faith are the same as the ones we use now. He defends the papacy, the sacraments and attempts to get the protestants to see how their religion (calvinism) is new and novel comparing it to the doctrines held by Christians since the earliest of times. He wrote these with only a bible, and a catechism and the Controversies by St Robert Belarmine. His quotations and knowledge and use of the Church Fathers was amazing. He was only 27 when he started writing these and fresh out of seminary.
  The people initially were very unreceptive and at times he was in danger of his life. When he could not find anyone to listen to his preaching he decided to start writing and hand-printing tracts and slipping them under the door of the protestants.  Initially there were 72,000 people in the area of which only 27 were Catholic. Just four years later when he left Chablais, 72,000 had converted to Catholicism and just 27 remained protestant. With these impressive statistics you can see why it is important for us to study these writings and learn what we can to help our protestant friends return to the faith. Most of the ex-Catholics I know  left the Church 25 to 30 years ago during the Jesus movement of the  1970's. St Francis ministered to people who had not been Catholic for 60 years~!  It gives me hope.

St Francis de Sales; pray for our non-Catholic brethren to be open to the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith. Amen

To Believe In the Real Presence Is Idolatry?

Brantly Millegan who writes the Young, Evangelical and Catholic blog  has a great post on the Eucharist . Brantly is a graduate of Wheaton and recent convert to Catholicism.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"The Mighty Macs"- New Movie That Doesn't Make Nuns Look Like Jerks

Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wheat and Tares and Only God Knows Who is What.

The following is a response I gave to a person on the fb page Catholics Are Christians! who is contemplating conversion to Catholicism. They went to their first Mass on Saturday night and were scandalized by the inappropriate dress of some of the parishioners.

  "I understand your feelings, having been right where you are. The Catholic Church is made up of sinners and saints. A myriad of souls all at a different place on their journeys to holiness. Some may truly be there to become more holy (as I would hope most), but others attend because it’s the culturally correct thing to do, and others out of sheer obligation. But ultimately, only God knows the hearts of those at Mass. Does wearing tight jeans and revealing shirts mean that person isn’t trying to get more of Jesus? I don’t know. I certainly agree with you that the inappropriate dress of many in Mass belies their understanding of what is truly happening- Christ making himself present on the altar and allowing Himself to be consumed, body, soul and divinity by us clay-footed sinners. If they truly understood that Jesus would become physically present at the consecration, would they want to be dressed like that? I don’t know. Does it mean they don’t respect or know Jesus as Savior and Lord?  I can’t say, nor is it my position or responsibility to say.

At my very first Mass after 31 years of Protestantism, a row of cars would not let me inch out and leave my parking spot because “everyone was in such a hurry to leave.” I was so frustrated! If this is the Church Christ started, then how could these parishioners not even have enough courtesy to alternate, every other car etc? Over time I came to realize, the church is full of wheat and tares as Christ said it would be. That is normative Christianity. Some maybe truly there for the “right reason” and have allowed God’s grace to conform them closer to His image. Perhaps not everyone is there yet, and some may be actually be tares, sad but true. But the beauty of the Catholic faith is that all are welcome and only God knows and should judge who truly is docile to His grace and touch. I can’t judge someone based on their dress or their inability to allow the liturgy of the Word and the reception of the Eucharist to affect their behavior in the parking lot after Mass. 

But, I do know that the Mass is the place to be for conversion.(as well as the confessional beforehand) The Mass opens with the Confiteor. This is the prayer where we acknowledge our sinfulness to God, followed by a prayer to Mary and the saints that they would intercede for us, and we would then pray for each other. We are there to pray for each other, because of the very fact we are all still sinners in need of the healing touch of Christ. The Church is for all, not just a place for those “who have arrived.” Please don’t be discouraged. You will find very devout Christians in every mass who “get it.” But Christ in His Church is always inviting those who don’t ….yet."

The Feast of Saint Luke

Saint Luke wrote the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts was a physician. His writing is considered the most literary of the writers of the New Testament and is said to have the accuracy and detail of a physician as well. Today, the Universal Church celebrates the life and heroic virtue of Saint Luke.

Throughout the world in the month of October, a Mass is held with a liturgy tailored to all healthcare workers in honor of Saint Luke. This is known as the "White Mass" because it was attended by doctors, nurses etc wearing the clothes of their trade, white coats, pants etc. Nowadays, in some parishes the mass is referred to as the Healthcare Workers Mass .

Saint Luke, pray for us today, especially  physicians who find it so difficult to practice in a culture where life itself is no longer valued. Pray for us to have the wisdom and grace to make the right decisions in caring for our patients.

Monday, October 17, 2011

If The Catholic Church is Evil, Why Does It Lead the World in Pro-Life?

This is a question that non-Catholics who reject the Catholic faith  need to ask themselves. If the Catholic Church is wrong regarding such crucial issues as justification/ salvation/ sacramentalism etc, how can they be so right regarding the issues of our time regarding life itself. The Church has taken the lead against abortion since Roe v Wade and before. The Church is on the forefront against euthanasia and legalized physician-assisted suicide. The Church supports marriage between a man and woman only. The Church has always opposed artificial contraception (now one of the leading risks for breast cancer in women) and has taken a firm stand against in-vitro fertilization (which creates embryos and destroys "extra ones" )

If satan is behind the Catholic Church, wouldn't the Church therefore do everything in its power to destroy human life? Since we are created in the image of God, satan and his minions  do all they can to destroy life, not protect it from conception until natural death.  A house divided itself can't stand so the Church that supports life as one of its most important missions, along with getting these very same souls to heaven, is surely the Church Jesus built.

"We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the "culture of death" and the "culture of life."  We find ourselves not only "faced with" but necessarily "in the midst of" this conflict:  we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life." (#28) ... "It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop." (#101) Blessed John Paul 2 in the Gospel of Life

Friday, October 14, 2011

State of Evangelicalism in America Today

Check out this discussion between Dr. Robert George(Catholic) from Princeton and Dr. Russell Moore(baptist) discussing the state of evangelicalism in America today. Interesting that Christianity Today magazine approved of Roe v Wade in 1973!

"This Accursed Liberty of Conscience"

St Alphonsus Ligouri was a faithful bishop and priest in the 17th-18th century. His Stations of the Cross are my favorite during Lent.  His comments below may seem harsh to my non-Catholic readers, but the intention is not to criticize their faith, but to encourage them to see why the Catholic faith is indeed the faith that Christ started and the Church He built upon Peter.

"A church which is not one in its doctrine and faith can never be the True Church. Hence, because truth must be one, of all the different churches, only one can be the true one, and outside of that Church there is no salvation.

Now, in order to determine which is this one true Church, it is necessary to examine which is the Church first founded by Jesus Christ, for when this is ascertained, it must be confessed that this one alone is the true Church which, having once been the true Church must always have been the true Church and must forever be the true Church. For to this first Church has been made the promise of the Savior that the gates of Hell would never be able to overturn it [Matt 16:18].

In the entire history of religion, we find that the Roman Catholic Church alone was the first Church, and that the other false and heretical churches afterwards departed and separated from her. This is the Church which was propagated by the Apostles and afterwards governed by pastors whom the Apostles themselves appointed to rule over her. This character can be found only in the Roman Church, whose pastors descend securely by an uninterrupted and legitimate succession from the Apostles of the world [Matt 28:20].

The innovators themselves do not deny that the Roman Church was the first which Jesus Christ founded. However, they say that it was the true Church until the fifth century, or until it fell away, because it had been corrupted by the Catholics. But how could that Church fall which St. Paul calls the "pillar and ground of truth" [1 Timothy 3:15]? No, the Church has not failed. The truth is, that all the false churches, which have separated from the Roman Church, have fallen away and erred.

To convince all heretical sects of their error, there is no way more certain and safe than to show that our Catholic Church has been the first one founded by Jesus Christ. For, this being established, it is proved beyond all doubt that ours is the only true Church and that all the others which have left it and separated are certainly in error. But, pressed by this argument, the innovators have invented an answer. They say that the visible Church has failed, but not the invisible Church. But these doctrines are diametrically opposed to the Gospel.

The innovators have been challenged several times to produce a text of Sacred Scripture which would prove the existence of the invisible church they invented, and we are unable to obtain any such text from them. How could they adduce such a text when, addressing His Apostles whom He left as the propagators of His Church, Jesus said: "You cannot be hidden" [Matt 5:14].

Thus He has declared that the Church cannot help but be visible to everyone. The Church has been at all times, and will forever be, necessarily visible, so that each person may always be able to learn from his pastor the true doctrine regarding the dogmas of faith, to receive the Sacraments, to be directed in the way of salvation, and to be enlightened and corrected should he ever fall into error.

For, were the Church in any time hidden and invisible, to whom would men have recourse in order to learn what they are to believe and to do? It was necessary that the Church and her pastors be obvious and visible, principally in order that there might be an infallible judge, to resolve all doubts, and to whose decision everyone should necessarily submit. Otherwise, there would be no sure rule of faith by which Christians could know the true dogmas of faith and the true precepts of morality, and among the faithful there would be endless disputes and controversies. "And Christ gave some apostles, and others pastors and doctors, that henceforth we be no more children tossed to-and-fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" [Eph 4:11-14].

But what faith can we learn from these false teachers when, in consequence of separating from the Church, they have no rule of faith. How often Calvin changed his opinions! And, during his life, Luther was constantly contradicting himself: on the single article of the Eucharist, he fell into thirty-three contradictions! A single contradiction is enough to show that they did not have the Spirit of God.

"He cannot deny Himself" [2 Timothy 2:13]. In a word, take away the authority of the Church, and neither Divine Revelation nor natural reason itself is of any use, for each of them may be interpreted by every individual according to his own caprice. Do they not see that from this accursed liberty of conscience has arisen the immense variety of heretical and atheistic sects? I repeat: if you take away obedience to the Church, there is no error which will not be embraced."

Father Calloway on Confession

Confession Is Great!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why There Needs To Be One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church

Because "I do not believe Christ left us a Church where I had to stake my eternal salvation on my best guess as to what the Gospel message even is."  (From the Called to Communion com box)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Former Reformer Crossing the Tiber

Check out Andre's blog here. 
Another reformed christian coming home to the Catholic faith. Pray for Andre as he makes the crossing.
At times difficult and yet strangely exhilarating, it's worth it . To become Catholic from protestantism is to step out in faith to forsake all that is comfortable and known. It  is truly doing as Christ has called us to "cast out into the deep..."

You will be in our prayers Andre!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Why Confess Your Sins To A Priest?

Fr. Barron gives an excellent little talk on this on the embedded video below. But my answer is even shorter! 1) Since we are commanded in scripture to confess our sins one to another, I would rather do it to someone who is in succession of the apostles who Christ breathed on and said "Whose sins you forgive they are forgiven.." 2) I'd rather confess to someone who is sworn to secrecy and cannot violate that oath! Who would you rather tell your deepest most vile sins to?

Feast of Saint Faustina

Saint Faustina, polish nun and mystic who gave brought the world the Divine Mercy devotion is celebrated today throughout the world today. The message of Divine Mercy that the Lord asked her to promote has become one of the most loved in all of Catholic devotional life.  Saint Faustina died a painful death of tuberculosis when she was 33 years old in 1938.

"True love is measured by the thermometer of suffering, Jesus. I thank You for the little daily crosses, for opposition to my endeavors, for the hardships of communal life, for the misinterpretations of my intentions, for humiliations at the hands of others, for the harsh way in which we are treated, for false suspicions, for poor health and loss of strength, for self-denial, for dying to myself, for lack of recognition in everything, for the upsetting of all my plans.

Thank You, Jesus, for interior sufferings, for dryness of spirit, for terrors, fears, and incertitudes, for the darkness and the deep interior night, for temptations and various ordeals, for torments too difficult to describe, especially for those which no one will understand, for the hour of death with its fierce struggle and all its bitterness.

I thank You, Jesus, You who first drank the cup of bitterness before You gave it to me, in a much milder form. I put my lips to this cup of Your holy will. Let all be done according to Your good pleasure; let that which Your wisdom ordained before the ages be done to me. I want to drink the cup to its last drop, and seek not to know the reason why. In bitterness is my joy, in hopelessness is my trust. In You, O Lord, all is good, all is a gift of Your paternal Heart. I do not prefer consolations over bitterness or bitterness over consolations, but thank You, O Jesus, for everything! It is my delight to fix my gaze upon You, O incomprehensible God. . . .

O Uncreated Beauty, whoever comes to know You once cannot love anything else. I can feel the bottomless abyss of my soul, and nothing will fill it but God Himself. I feel that I am drowned in Him like a single grain of sand in a bottomless ocean."

St. Faustina, pray for me that Jesus will help me to see my sufferings in the same light in which you did during your short life.

October is Pro-Life Month

The Catholic Church in the US has designated October as "Respect Life Month." In most parishes there will be prayers, sign up's for pro-life events, vigils, and the homilies may focus on the pro-life aspects of the Catholic faith. Our parish places hundreds of white crosses on the church lawn to represent the millions of lives lost through the holocaust of legalized abortion. Perhaps this month you could offer prayers that our country's leaders would decide to turn this monstrous legislation around.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

St Francis and The Stigmata

Tonight at Mass, our priest explained why Galatians 6:17 was chosen as the first reading on this Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Paul wrote "I bear on my body the marks of Jesus." The Greek word used for "marks" is "stigmata."  The Church has never officially stated whether or not Saint Paul had the stigmata but many have taken his words from the end of his epistle to the Galatians to suggest that he indeed bore the stigmata. By all accounts, Saint Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century was the first stigmatist in the Catholic Church. In the last two years of his life, he began to experience severe pain and had lesions in his hands, feet and side as did Christ. 
   The appearance of stigmata has been over-sensationalized by the secular media and the Church has been extremely careful in methodically researching the facts surrounding those who have claimed to bear the stigmata. The phenomenon is not an article de fide.(we can remain as faithful Catholics without being required to believe this is true).  Over 300 Catholics have been recognized as having the stigmata, with over 90% being women. Two of my favorite saints, St. Rita of Cascia and Saint Faustina bore the marks of Christ as well as Saint Padre Pio.
   This mysterious phenomenon may  be repugnant to non-Catholics, but I find it beautiful and engaging. Scripture encourages us to take up our cross, identify with the sufferings of Christ by entering into the fellowship of his sufferings. For some unique individuals, this resulted in the physical manifestation of this inner process. These were Christians whose lives were so tightly joined to Christ that they were privileged to share in His suffering in this uncommon and profoundly mysterious manner. Faith is a mystery and God uses the "stuff of earth" to show us his grace. Once again, we can see the incarnational nature of the Catholic faith expressed by this phenomenon of the stigmata.

Saint Francis of Assisi, you suffered much in your body with your intense love for Jesus. Pray for us that we could take our daily inconveniences and small sufferings and unite them to Christ, offering them up for the sake of His mystical body, the Church. (Col. 1:24)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Saint Francis of Assisi and Martin Luther

Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Francis. The Universal Church celebrates the life and heroic virtue of this young man from a wealthy Italian merchant family in the 13th century who chose to leave all to obey the gospel. As St. Francis' fledging order grew, he sought the approval of Pope Innocent the 3rd. He had a dream in which Christ  instructed him. "Go, Francis, and repair my house which as you see is falling into ruin." Initially, Francis thought this meant the broken down chapel outside his town but he soon realized Christ meant the universal Church. At that time, as in many other times in the history of the faith, the Church was in need of renewal.
  So Francis and his ragamuffin band of followers set out for the eternal city to have an audience with the pope and detail their plans and obtain his approval and blessing for this new order of  friars.
The initial meeting did not go well and the pope walked out on Francis as he lay prostrate before him in the floor dressed like a filthy beggar. But Francis did return and in the meantime God spoke to the pope in a dream and showed him a man that was balancing the Lateran Cathedral on his arm. This signified that this individual in the dream was supporting and upholding the very center of Christendom. Wisely the pope, knowing it was Francis in the dream, recanted and welcomed back St. Francis and granted him approval for his order. The Franciscans did indeed rebuild the Church and to this day continue to renew the Church. (For example, Father Groeschel and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal now in many inner cities throughout the world)

   When St. Francis was initially refused by the Church, he had a choice to make. He may have thought to himself: "Why would the pope refuse my request? Can't he see how much his Church needs me?" Right then and there, he could have decided to break from the Church and start a whole new religion. Instead, he quietly submitted to the Church and in a short time was given permission to proceed with his plans to renew the Church. (Some historians say there was a delay in the pope's decision, other readings said it was a short time)  Either way, the fruit of his obedience continues to be seen to this very day.

300 years after St Francis, the Church was again in need of repair and a German Augustinian priest decided to take the matter into his own hands and break from the authority of the pope and start his own religion. The fruits of this man's disobedience continue to be seen to this very day.

St. Francis pray for us.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Evangelical Comes Home to the Catholic Faith

Brandon Vogt, husband, father, mechanical engineer, writer, blogger and author of The Church and the New Media was recently on the Journey Home. This is a great story.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Happy Feast of Saint Therese!

We finished the 9 days of prayer to Saint Therese yesterday. Now we are just waiting for those "little rose petals from heaven" to come upon us. What a blessing to believe in the Communion of Saints.
How did we ever live without knowing that our brothers and sisters in heaven can and do intercede for us?

Today my wife, Deborah, takes to the blog and writes about St. Therese of Lisieux.(this is re-posted from last year)

The first overtly Catholic book I ever read was The Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux.  That was the beginning of a relationship with her that continues to grow stronger all the time.  As an Evangelical Christian, I never believed that Catholics “worshiped” saints, but I did think that interacting with dead people in any way was necromancy and therefore a grave sin.  But once I understood the truth about how Catholicism understands the Church and our connection with those in heaven, I was excited about getting to know all these amazing brothers and sisters in Christ.
Much like any earthly friendship, my relationship with St. Therese has grown over time.  As I said it started with reading her autobiography more than 10 years ago.  Over the years I began reading more about her life and studying her writings.  After we officially returned the Catholic Church in 2004,  we discovered  a  Carmelite Monastery just over the mountain from our home.  We started visiting there on Sundays when they have a service which ends with a prayer and veneration of a relic of St. Therese.   There is also at the monastery,  a little gift shop with books, statues and rosaries. 
One year we made a visit to the monastery right before leaving on a trip to Haiti.  I purchased the book  “The Whole World Will Love Me,” and brought it along on our trip.  One night in Haiti when I went back to my room to read a little before bed, I had a palpable feeling that St. Therese was with me.  I can only explain it as the feeling that you have when you have just been reunited with a childhood friend.  I spontaneously said “You are with me aren’t you?”  and something inside me just knew it was true.  I was thrilled and honored to be visited by such an amazing woman and spent the rest of the trip filled with joy and peace.  
When I got back home that year my devotion to St. Therese increased dramatically.  On my next visit to the monastery I picked up a little booklet of quotes from her.  There is a simple quote for each day of the year.   Whenever I am anxious I always “bring St. Therese with me.”  I imagine her holding my hand and joining me on all of life’s adventures.  With her by my side I know I will have strength on my own “little way.”

I am still offering free third class relics of Saint Therese to anyone who wants one . Just e-mail me your snail mail to dobrodoc1 (at) gmail (dot) com.  These are a small piece of cloth that I touch to a first class relic and attach to a prayer card.