EWTN was a major player in my coming into the Catholic Church. I was already a committed Christian, an Evangelical, when I started watching EWTN, my mother had come across this nun on there who seemed very peculiar to us, she sounded very Christian! She also reminded us of my grandmother who had already passed, who was an ordained Pentecostal minister, loved the Lord, and was pretty much a no nonsense kind of gal. She had the same “doughy” cheeks, and sense of humor and it was quite comforting to tune into this nun every week.
Then we started watching Fr. Corapi, and were once again, blown away at how “Christian” he sounded. We had pretty much given up on all other Christian tv, were discouraged by some of the stuff that was being broadcast in the name of Christ.
I should backtrack a little and fill in some more of my background. I’m 45 yrs young , and grew up in a Fundamentalist home, mother was Independant Baptist, father was Pentecostal/Assemblies of God. There was always a tension between the two versions of Christianity and salvation, Baptists being OSAS, Pentecostals believing that unrepented sin could separate you from your salvation. Spent most of my early years vascillating between the two ideas, settling on the more comforting version, OSAS. Was never quite settled though, never really feeling at home in any church I attended. Knew something somewhere was missing, couldn’t quite put my finger on it. So, like so many Evangelicals, (I wasn’t quite as hardcore Fundamentalist anymore), I wandered around from church to church for decades, trying to find my place.
Came to a personal crisis in my life, and tried to find comfort in my faith, but couldn’t. Even though I hadn’t quite bought into the pervasive doctrine of health and wealth gospel that was all around, it still tends to seep into your subconscience, and I didn’t know what to do with suffering. I thought I had been abandoned and there were no satisfying answers in my Christian world. My personal crisis turned into a spiritual crisis. And I needed answers or all was lost for me.
So I did what no sane person should do unless they mean it, I gave God an ultimatum. I wasn’t going to go to church anymore until he showed me how to find and know the truth. I knew there was a truth, a bottom line truth, but I was lost as to how to find my way to it. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
So, I started studying. I studied 20th century church movements. I wanted to know how all these churches got started and why. That was not getting me anywhere so I went back to the Reformation. I wanted to know why the main Reformers disagreed with each other and how. I was very confused. If they were right to separate, being led by the Holy Spirit to do so, why didn’t they agree on why and where to go from there?
At this time is when I came across EWTN, coincidence? I don’t think so. I also at this time heard about early Christian writings, historical documents and knew I had to get ahold of them. They were going to be key, I just had a feeling. I started studying the Eastern Orthodox Church, still unwilling to really consider the Catholic Church. But EWTN kept getting my attention. I was hearing things for the first time as a Christian that I knew in my gut were right. Things about redemptive suffering, about oral tradition, about 2000 years of lineage. I even started to understand the really hard ones, the Marian doctrines. When they were explained properly, they made sense. I had never been allowed to even think about these things before. A whole new world opened up to me and I was shocked that it had been there all along and I was oblivious to it.
The Journey Home program was the clincher for me and my conversion. I would sit through that program week after week, just weeping, knowing that what these converts had gone through, was going to be me. It was going to cost me, my friends, my family, my whole Christian identity, and I was so frightened, but knew I couldn’t go back to where I didn’t know the truth. But hearing these testimonies, week after week, somehow gave me courage. And finding CAF was a Godsend to me also. It helped me to become more comfortable with a world that was so foreign to me, and gave me that extra nudge to continue my journey to the Church.
I came into the Church at Easter Vigil 2006, it was the most beautiful day of my life, and I really mean that. I will never forget it. The Holy Spirit was so comforting to me that day, knowing what I was facing; I’m so thankful for that.