AN INTERVIEW WITH A YOUNG CONVERT: “I saw Catholics on fire for God”

Q. Tell us about yourself.
A. I am 24 years old, a stay at home mom in North Carolina

Q. What faith tradition were you raised in?
A. I was raised Presbyterian, but was an evangelical fundamentalist Baptist through high school and college

Q. What initially attracted you to the Catholic Church?
A. few news stories of Catholics doing great things in the pro-life movement was what first attracted me to Catholicism. Until that point, I had always believed that Catholics were muddling through life in a dead faith, just going through the motions. Seeing people willing to make great personal sacrifices to save the lives of the unborn amazed me, especially because they were even more dedicated to the cause than even evangelicals who until that point I believed were the most on fire for God. It turned my view of Catholics upside down.

Q. Did you have erroneous ideas about the Church before you converted? If so, what were they?
A. Absolutely. Nearly everything I used to be believe about the Catholic Church was wrong. I thought they worshiped Mary, they focused on meaningless rituals they didn’t really believe, they didn’t read the Bible, they didn’t care about evangelization, they didn’t believe in the second coming, and so many other things. The list is very long.

Q. How did your friends and family react to your conversion?
A. My family was very unhappy and still is, though they don’t talk about it too much. I have lost some friends, and many playgroups don’t allow Catholic moms to join and won’t let their children play with Catholic kids. I had to start my own local mom group because in an area where Baptists are the majority, there are few places a Catholic child is really welcome.

Q. Do you attend the Novus Ordo or the traditional Latin Mass?
A. A local parish offers Latin Mass once a month, and the rest of the month we attend a Novus Ordo mass. It’s very reverent and traditional, though.

Q. Are you involved in your parish? If so, how?
A. I am involved in a parents group, my husband and I attend the weekly Bible studies, the monthly faith formation events, and we hope to begin teaching CCD this fall. My husband taught it a few years ago.

Q. Do you find that most Catholics are well-catechized?
A. In my area many are. My diocese is blessed to be headed by a Bishop who takes cathechesis and evangelization very seriously, and the fruits of his efforts are showing.

Q. Did you take Rite of Christian Initiation classes?
A. I did. The team running the RCIA program at my parish has a deep love for God and an incredible knowledge of the faith. The zeal they had for living the faith and bringing others into it was amazing They would die for the faith and you knew it. They were the type of Christian all of us should strive to be, whose faith is their life, not just a part of it. They showed that the faith I was joining was truly the faith of the saints.

Q. To what extent was the witness of Catholics (clergy and/or laity) instrumental in your conversion?
The witness of faithful Catholic laity was the reason for my conversion. If I had not encountered Catholics who shocked me by how deep their faith was, and had not met someone who knew enough about Catholic apologetics to evangelize me, I would still be a Baptist today. All it took was a couple of news story about faithful Catholics doing the work of God and one friend who knew the faith well. No one should underestimate the power just one well-formed Catholic has to evengelize the world.

Q. If you could offer advice to Catholics who wish to help others convert, what would you say?
A. Know the faith, live the faith, and make sure you know the scripture verses that back what Catholics believe. Evangelicals won’t listen to you unless you can quote the Bible. I know I was shocked when I found out that Catholicism didn’t contradict the Bible.

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