Nazarene Considering Converting


#1

Hello all,

Recently my younger brother told myself and my parents that he had been sexually assaulted by a leader in our teen group during an outreach event during the huge power outages this past summer in Ohio. Needless to say it was reported to the church and to children’s services and is still under investigation, but that’s besides the point. Because of all this myself and the rest of my family have had a really hard time being a part of our local Nazarene Church and it just feels like every time we walk in that people are watching us and judging us as if we have done something wrong though we have not, we are just doing the right thing by reporting what happened. Needless to say I think some of you can relate to some of the feelings going through our house right now.

Anyway, I have begun considering leaving the Nazarene Church after 16 years of attending it. I have grown up with the typical misconceptions about Catholicism, but have always been attracted to it personally. Being Nazarene our distinctive doctrine is Christian Holiness or Entire Sanctification which is something the two churches can really share in, I believe. I just graduated this past May from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a B.A. Pastoral Ministry and have begun this Fall attending the graduate program there as a MMin student and will be pursuing an MDiv and eventually PhD or Doctoral work. I am also a district licensed Nazarene Minister (unassigned) so I am very well trained in matters of doctrine, theology, doing church, various beliefs, etc which also has helped me to realize that Nazarene’s and Catholics have a lot more in common than in the matter in which we differ, other than folks that have fundamentalist thoughts that is, and trace our roots back to John Wesley and the Church of England so we are not really associated with the Reformed churches. I had considered the Episcopal church, but recent history with being liberal on moral/social issues leads me back to Mother, Roman Catholic Church.

Is there a place for me? I really feel called to be a Pastor/Teacher, not crazy about the whole celibate thing, but not opposed to it either since I am single and don’t really feel pressured to get involved in any sort of relationship with anyone and so I believe I would be fine with becoming a priest and stuff. I love to study church history, theology, Bible, and all that stuff and I love to teach people about it and would love to make a vocation out of it and have a great skill set, I believe.

Where do I begin? How do I discern all this? Who do I talk too? I’m just so confused right now and have been praying and just can’t seem to get Catholicism off my mind as the change to make. Any and all help you all can give is greatly appreciated.

In HIS Service,

Sean


#2

Sean I'm sad for what happened to your brother, and that other Christians of your community made your family feel uncomfortable for your action to prevent the offender from the freedom to also spiritually and physically injure other innocent persons.
I hope and pray that your brother is coping after such an attack.

Certainly there is welcome, and a place for you in the Catholic Church.
If you were to inquire of a wise priest he could inform you of ways of teaching the faith and serving that don't necessarily require the celebrate priesthood. Either path you find yourself taking with God's blessing, the Church will be blessed to have you amongst us.
I know that you can trust God, in your unfolding faith journey, to lead you where your abilities and your vocation are most pleasing to God and beneficial to souls.

You may like to add to your reading, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to further clarify what you have already discovered regarding the Catholic faith.
The Catechism index:

vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

May God bless and guide you in your prayers and deliberations, as He draws you along the path He desires for you and for others through you.

Warm welcome,
Trishie


#3

Your personal feelings about the celibacy issue might be calmed with a good reading of Paul’s scriptures.


#4

[quote="Sean_W, post:1, topic:298594"]
Hello all, me back to Mother, Roman Catholic Church.

Is there a place for me? I really feel called to be a Pastor/Teacher, not crazy about the whole celibate thing, but not opposed to it either since I am single and don't really feel pressured to get involved in any sort of relationship with anyone and so I believe I would be fine with becoming a priest and stuff. I love to study church history, theology, Bible, and all that stuff and I love to teach people about it and would love to make a vocation out of it and have a great skill set, I believe.

Where do I begin? How do I discern all this? Who do I talk too? I'm just so confused right now and have been praying and just can't seem to get Catholicism off my mind as the change to make. Any and all help you all can give is greatly appreciated.

In HIS Service,

Sean

[/quote]

Sean,

There is a place for everyone who embraces the doctrines of the Church in Catholicism. Exactly where yours is within the Church is to be determined. There is only one reason to belong to any religion. It is that you believe what it teaches.

Before you think about becoming a priest it would be a good idea to become a Catholic. There are twenty something Catholic churches. The Latin rite is the only one that I know of that demands celibacy of her priests.

Also the Roman Church ordains married men who were Protestant ministers who convert to Catholicism.

Apart from the priesthood there are many married laymen who have postions in the Church teaching in universities, or involved in various apostolates, running charities, etc.

God knows what the future holds for you. Don't worry about it.


#5

Sean, have you read or listened to Dr. Scott Hahn's conversion story? If not, you might find it inspiring. He is one of the foremost Catholic apologists of our time.


#6

Most Catholic parishes are just beginning their RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) classes. Ask the Catholic pastors in your area. You might speak to the vocations director of the diocese you are in.

Former Presbyterian pastor Marcus Grodi's Coming Home Network is based in Zanesville, Ohio:

chnetwork.org/


#7

[quote="Sean_W, post:1, topic:298594"]
I had considered the Episcopal church, but recent history with being liberal on moral/social issues leads me back to Mother, Roman Catholic Church.

Is there a place for me? I really feel called to be a Pastor/Teacher, not crazy about the whole celibate thing, but not opposed to it either since I am single and don't really feel pressured to get involved in any sort of relationship with anyone and so I believe I would be fine with becoming a priest and stuff. I love to study church history, theology, Bible, and all that stuff and I love to teach people about it and would love to make a vocation out of it and have a great skill set, I believe.

Where do I begin? How do I discern all this? Who do I talk too? I'm just so confused right now and have been praying and just can't seem to get Catholicism off my mind as the change to make. Any and all help you all can give is greatly appreciated.

In HIS Service,

Sean

[/quote]

Very sorry to hear about your brother. I will pray for him and for your family.

I'm practically a neighbor as Mt. Vernon is only 40 minutes from me. In fact, my coworker graduated from your college.

I suggest you check out Marcus Grodi's Coming Home Network. His specialty is helping pastors and ministers of other faiths transition into the Catholic Church. There are many, many ways to minister in the Catholic Church.

chnetwork.org/

But your first call should be to the local parish. Make an appointment to meet with the parish priest. He will help you get started in the right direction.


#8

[quote="IbnFiktur, post:3, topic:298594"]
Your personal feelings about the celibacy issue might be calmed with a good reading of Paul's scriptures.

[/quote]

Yes I have read the passage and agree with it. I guess really thinking about leads me to really just to be concerned about it is where my family is concerned. There almost seems to be an overt expectation for me by my maternal grandmother and other members of the family both Christian and non-Christian to be married and have a family, but when I began the entrance into the Nazarene churches process for ministerial prep and ordination track I really wrestled with this Scripture because I understood the great deal of pressure vocational ministry can take and so I resolved that if God didn't provide me with a spouse that was fine, but I am just not sure how to get my family to be comfortable with this which is my biggest hesitation. I just want to do God's will and please Him alone without caring about what others think.

I hope that helps clarify my concern with the issue. I know that Paul says if at some point you decide to marry there is no sin committed by it, just that your life would become more difficult because your attention is drawn elsewhere other than God which I really don't want. Just something my family and I would have to get over if I go this route.


#9

[LIST]
*]That’s cool! Might be great to get to know one another outside of forum chat sometime. Actually, the worship class I had to take for my Pastoral Ministry degree required we attend St. Vincent de Paul church one Sunday with the class which was a good experience. Also went to Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC for one too, as well as one when I was in Florence, Italy this past January. Mount Vernon has prepared me well I feel and has really played a huge part in making a transition for RC Church that much easier to consider.

*]Someone else recommended CH Network and I signed on for a membership, but haven’t heard anything from them. I am probably going to speak with the local priest, I know they just started their RCIA and had on this past weeks bulletin that you could still attend. I did read in the CCC said that if you were already a baptized Christian from another church then you may not have to go through the normal process and would join the community differently. Will have to recheck that.
[/LIST]

There is an evening Mass Sat. at 5:00 at our local parish, would it be appropriate to go and speak with the priest afterwords about joining or setting a meeting time?


#10

[quote="Faithdancer, post:5, topic:298594"]
Sean, have you read or listened to Dr. Scott Hahn's conversion story? If not, you might find it inspiring. He is one of the foremost Catholic apologists of our time.

[/quote]

I've got Reasons to Believ*e and *Covenant and Community but haven't had time to read them. A bit hard to do reading when you are in school, particularly in a Master's program.

I also have picked up the audio book Return to Rome by Francis Beckwith

Also:
A Minute in the Church by Gus Lloyd

&

Catholicism* by Robert Barron
*

Also an avid listener of XM 129 the Catholic Channel.


#11

[quote="Trishie, post:2, topic:298594"]
Sean I'm sad for what happened to your brother, and that other Christians of your community made your family feel uncomfortable for your action to prevent the offender from the freedom to also spiritually and physically injure other innocent persons.
I hope and pray that your brother is coping after such an attack.

Certainly there is welcome, and a place for you in the Catholic Church.
If you were to inquire of a wise priest he could inform you of ways of teaching the faith and serving that don't necessarily require the celebrate priesthood. Either path you find yourself taking with God's blessing, the Church will be blessed to have you amongst us.
I know that you can trust God, in your unfolding faith journey, to lead you where your abilities and your vocation are most pleasing to God and beneficial to souls.

You may like to add to your reading, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to further clarify what you have already discovered regarding the Catholic faith.
The Catechism index:

vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

May God bless and guide you in your prayers and deliberations, as He draws you along the path He desires for you and for others through you.

Warm welcome,
Trishie

[/quote]

Thank you so much for your heartfelt answer Trishie. I already feel welcome by yourself and the many who have already responded to my plea for advice and direction.

While my family isn't anti-Catholic, many I know in my local church are and I've heard many of the claims such as worshiping and praying to Mary, confessing to the Priest and not God, how the Eucharist is somehow cannibalism, and others. Several would and will cringe at the idea that I am discerning this change after 16 years at my local church.

No worry though about answering these because my ministerial education at MVNU really cleared these myths up and I actually have found myself defending the Roman Catholic Church a time or two.

Again thank you for all the help many have provided thus far.


#12

Sean, go your local Catholic church and speak to the Priest. Attend RCIA…and attend Mass along the way. Learn and discern. Your books are great. Also…IMHO…read the catechism (on line for free), Crossing the Tiber by Steve Ray and buy the St Ignatius Bible Study for the NT commentary.

EWTN has a terrific audio and document library. ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/intro.asp

I typed in “nazarene” under the ewtn program box and there are 6 Journey Home episodes with former Nazarenes. Three of them below. You can also type in any other subject…

A former seminarian.

ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/jh_08302010.mp3

Two former ministers

ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/jh_01022006.mp3

ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/jh_04122004.mp3

Pork (me) n pie (my sweet wife)


#13

[quote="Porknpie, post:12, topic:298594"]
Sean, go your local Catholic church and speak to the Priest. Attend RCIA...and attend Mass along the way. Learn and discern. Your books are great. Also....IMHO...read the catechism (on line for free), Crossing the Tiber by Steve Ray and buy the St Ignatius Bible Study for the NT commentary.

EWTN has a terrific audio and document library. ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/intro.asp

I typed in "nazarene" under the ewtn program box and there are 6 Journey Home episodes with former Nazarenes. Three of them below. You can also type in any other subject...

A former seminarian.

ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/jh_08302010.mp3

Two former ministers

ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/jh_01022006.mp3

ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/jh_04122004.mp3

Pork (me) n pie (my sweet wife)

[/quote]

So is the thing from Ignatius a Study Bible or Biblical Commentary? If it is a commentary is it more of a technical/semi-technical or devotional/pastoral?


#14

It’s a NT study bible, RSV, with a lot of commentary. The OT version is in progress and available to view on line.


#15

Sean,
First of all, let me say - Welcome home...I know that you have not made the leap yet...But I am confident that you will. The Church simply has too much to offer to pass up (IMHO)..:D

[quote="Sean_W, post:9, topic:298594"]

That's cool! Might be great to get to know one another outside of forum chat sometime. Actually, the worship class I had to take for my Pastoral Ministry degree required we attend St. Vincent de Paul church one Sunday with the class which was a good experience. Also went to Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC for one too, as well as one when I was in Florence, Italy this past January. Mount Vernon has prepared me well I feel and has really played a huge part in making a transition for RC Church that much easier to consider.

[/quote]

That is very interesting...I was not aware that the Nazarene College would do that. Obviously I have some misconceptions about the Nazarene church.

Someone else recommended CH Network and I signed on for a membership, but haven't heard anything from them.

Marcus Grodi also has a program on EWTN called "The Journey Home" in which converts share their stories. It is an excellent program and was a great help to me as I returned to the Church.

I am probably going to speak with the local priest, I know they just started their RCIA and had on this past weeks bulletin that you could still attend. I did read in the CCC said that if you were already a baptized Christian from another church then you may not have to go through the normal process and would join the community differently. Will have to recheck that.

There is an evening Mass Sat. at 5:00 at our local parish, would it be appropriate to go and speak with the priest afterwords about joining or setting a meeting time?

By all means talk to the priest after mass and set a time to really sit down with him for a chat.
Yes - it is possible to enter the Church without going through the RCIA classes and you may very well qualify for a "fast track" (so to speak) given your education and all...But speak to the priest about it.

You have made my day.....

Peace
James


#16

[quote="JRKH, post:15, topic:298594"]

By all means talk to the priest after mass and set a time to really sit down with him for a chat.
Yes - it is possible to enter the Church without going through the RCIA classes and you may very well qualify for a "fast track" (so to speak) given your education and all...But speak to the priest about it.

[/quote]

James is right. I was "fast tracked." This could very well be the same for you. Welcome Home!!!!! The Holy Spirit will guide you. I will pray for your discernment.

I'm so sorry about your brother. One would think that everyone at your church would rally around all of you with love and support. You did the right thing by reporting it. God Bless your family.

I'm praying for you and your family.


#17

[quote="maltmom, post:16, topic:298594"]
James is right. I was "fast tracked." This could very well be the same for you. Welcome Home!!!!! The Holy Spirit will guide you. I will pray for your discernment.

I'm so sorry about your brother. One would think that everyone at your church would rally around all of you with love and support. You did the right thing by reporting it. God Bless your family.

I'm praying for you and your family.

[/quote]

Thank you for your prayers they mean more than anyone of you realize.
If anyone has ever heard the song Worn by Tenth Avenue North it reflects perfectly just how much this situation has affected my family and me and the prayer of our hearts right now.


#18

Hey Sean and welcome! I am a recent Nazarene convert and have been a very satisfied Catholic for exactly 3 months today. I cannot express in words how much my faith has grown through this process. God is amazing!
I was a youth pastor, music minister and children’s ministry leader when I was in the Nazarene chuch and I also wondered what the Catholic world would hold for me- especially since I am a married female. There is no end to ministry possibilities in the Catholic Church, but enter in with a spirit of prayer and contemplation. Center yourself on being obedient to God and His Church and you will be led where He wants you. Try to go in with a totally open and willing heart- remember that His plans for us always exceed our own limited expectations. I understand feeling called to ministry- I once seriously considered being an ordained pastor in the Nazarene Church but felt that as a female I could never be comfortable with that role. God led us to a phenomenol parish on a college campus literally in our backyard and in 3 months we have participated in Catholicism studies, become involved in music ministry, been able to serve as a lector and even opened up our home to take in a girl from our parish. The sense of community has surpassed anything I ever experienced in the Nazarene church (3rd gen Nazarene so I was there my whole life).
But you dont become Catholic because of ministry opportunities or a sense of community. You become Catholic because of the Eucharist. There is nothing that can compare (on earth) to bowing with others in Mass as ordinary bread and wine become the body and blood of the Lord. It is overwhelming and amazing and life changing. Once you are able to see the Truth of the Real Presence, where else can you go?
One other thought: obedience to the Church. It has been so freeing to examine and accept Church teaching and to realize that over 2000 years, men and women have dedicated themselves to explaining truths revealed by the Holy Spirit. Not having to be my own spiritual authority has been another life changing experience.
Find a really good priest and and really solid parish that embraces the Church unreservedly (hint: churches with a strong Marian devotion are usually very solid since our mother always leads us in obedience to her Son). Read good saint accounts and solid theological books. Begin RCIA and pray. You might benefit from praying the liturgy of the hours. I have a great Divine office app on my iPhone that has been really helpful.
God bless and welcome home!


#19

So, I guess the priest of my local parish is on a pilgrimage to Italy. Is there someone else I could talk to or should I try another parish?

On another note, I was listening to one of Journey Home podcast and the one with Wes & Holly Baker I was surprised to find out that they also went to MVNU. I Googled the episode and realized that I actually had a Biblical Hermeneutics class with Wes. Small world. lol


#20

[quote="Sean_W, post:19, topic:298594"]
So, I guess the priest of my local parish is on a pilgrimage to Italy. Is there someone else I could talk to or should I try another parish?

[/quote]

You might ask to talk to the DRE (director of religious education) or one of the Deacons if the parish has deacons.

On another note, I was listening to one of Journey Home podcast and the one with Wes & Holly Baker I was surprised to find out that they also went to MVNU. I Googled the episode and realized that I actually had a Biblical Hermeneutics class with Wes. Small world. lol

Cool....Was he a good teacher?

This could turn out to be a good resource for you if you can reach him.

The Spirit moves in many strange and wonderful ways.

Peace
James


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.