Please indulge me, this is a long story, but I will try to compartmentalize.
I was born of a Catholic mother and a Christian believing but unbaptised father. My father fully agreed to raising my sister and me Catholic, In fact he was there virtually every step of the way, in terms of mass attendance, supporting the Catholic schools and church, etc. Two years before his passing, he converted to the Catholic faith.
My father and my grandparents spoke little of their families. My grandparents were Christians who lived in the Pontus area of the Black Sea coast in Asia Minor in the early 1900’s. Just as WW1 was breaking out, the Turks began to persecute the Armenian Christians. Following the war, they continued with all the other Christians who survived: Greeks, Orthodox, Assyrians, and so on.
My grandparents were among the few who survived and escaped. They did not want to discuss this in much detail, and when I pressed them for more information, they were still reluctant. Before they died they offered a few details. When my father died I knew little more than I had learned from my grandparents. They were very happy to leave their dark past behind and live as Americans.
So just a month ago, I did a little web search of the only sibling I knew of my grandfather, his younger brother. He too escaped and wrote a short book about his experience. Not a best seller, but a real life story of religious persecution by nationalists (and in this case, radical muslims). I was able to obtain a copy (surprisingly) from a society of expatriate Pontians in the USA. They had republished the book just three years ago. The man I spoke to said he got permission from “the eldest relative of the deceased” which I thought came from my great uncle’s widow’s side of the family. But the man explained, "No, this is from your Grandfather’s side, his sister’s daughter (my father’s first cousin).
So I learned that she is still alive at 86 years and has children of her own. She provided me LOTS of information about my distant, unknown family and she was so glad that I found her! But the interesting part is that ALL of these cousins are Evangelical Presbyterians–and my Great Grandfather was a Pastor of his own church in Turkey until he was murdered.
So now that Pandora’s box has been opened, they have found a Catholic relative and I have found Evangelicals. I have also learned that there are other children of two other siblings elsewhere in the USA. One thing they all have in common is a Pastor Son or Son-in-law even to do this day.
As I would like to reach out to them, and have started the process, I also can appreciate how significant their faith life is. I know little of Presbyterianism and would welcome any insight as to how to do the research to gain an understanding and appreciation for these newly found relatives. And although I am not an apologist in any true sense, my Catholic faith is strong and true.
Thanks in advance!