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.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mother Angelica's Role in My Reversion to Catholicism

In 2002, I noticed my wife was starting to watch a cable TV program called EWTN. She was starting to get interested in Catholicism, but I wanted nothing to do with it. I left the Church as a 14 year old after having a conversion experience in a very anti-Catholic sect. However, from time to time, I would be in the next room listening to the programs, pretending that I wasn't.  I remember one day "eavesdropping" and there was a dynamic priest preaching and I remember thinking to myself "I think this guy may actually know Jesus." He was teaching the Catechism of the Catholic Church but I didn't even know it!
   Then I saw a few of the Marcus Grodi Journey Home shows and could not believe my eyes and ears to hear the Protestant ministers who "knew the Lord" share their journeys into the Catholic Church. It didn't make me convert then and there but definitely put a "chink in my armor" that softened my heart to the point when I finally surrendered my will to His, while watching the Passion of the Christ in 2004. (See my story here.)
   Mother Angelica, a feisty cloistered Franciscan nun had a vision to spread the gospel throughout the world using television. Her vision has led to the largest religious broadcast program in the world
available to over 150 million viewers in 140 countries. She truly has embodied the New Evangelization and shown us how to do it.  Ironically, she suffered a stroke in 2001 leaving her unable to speak a word but her mission, The Eternal Word Television Network, continues to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ 24/7. Could I ever have imagined that my heart would be softened to the Catholic faith, in part, by the missionary work of this cloistered old nun?  Even further, in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine that my wife and I would be flying down to Birmingham to tell our conversion story on the Journey Home 3 years later?
   Happy Birthday Mother Angelica! Thank you for obeying Christ's call to "go out to all the world and preach the gospel" and lead this ex-Catholic back home.

(With Marcus Grodi after telling our story on The Journey Home)


Anonymous Nancy said...

I admit I first really noticed EWTN in 2005 when I was looking for the conclave coverage. It wasn't long before I was hooked on the other programming as well. I wasn't a Catholic at the time, but about a year later I was in RCIA, so yeah, EWTN was an important part of my coming into Holy Mother Church.

But actually I liked Mother Angelica long before that. She was a guest on a number of the evangelical TV shows before EWTN - I saw her on PTL Club in the 70s and thought she was the greatest.

April 21, 2013 1:57 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Yes, Mother was quite the celebrity for a cloistered nun and had a great message. I know she was given a special dispensation to get out to spread the word about her apostolate. In the 1970's, there was more ecumenism particularly in charismatic circles, and I remember that a priest was invited to say Mass at one of the huge Jesus festivals in 1975 that I attended. Thanks for stopping by Nancy!

April 21, 2013 7:21 PM  
Blogger Erin Pascal said...

What a beautiful story! I am very much inspired by the works of Mother Angelica and what she has done for the Church and also for the people. She is a true blessing and I hope and pray that God will bless her all the days of her life. Thank you for sharing this! May God bless you!

April 22, 2013 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Rentler,I just saw the Journey Home where you and your wife told your story of Conversion.You were both just wonderful but I was particularly moved by your reference to the way Nuns in Hospitals prepared the dead for burial.I have seen in a few occasions those preparations in the Public Hospitals in Santo Domingo DR,when they were managed by Nuns and it was always a process that left a big sense of reverence and faith in all those who watched it.Many regards.

April 23, 2013 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember seeing you and your wife on Journey Home. I enjoyed it very much. :) Julie

April 25, 2013 3:38 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Thanks Julie, it was rebroadcast on Monday cuz I got a huge spike in my hit meter on my blogs and websites!
God bless!!

April 25, 2013 3:46 PM  
Blogger Christian LeBlanc said...

I didn't know you were a playa on the Marcus Show! I'll have a look and if necessary give a CradleCat critique.

April 25, 2013 10:18 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

We were very fortunate to tell our story. If you can't listen let me know ill send a DVD

April 25, 2013 10:55 PM  

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