Need some help

I am Protestant. But I am a non-practicing Protestant who hasn’t touched a Bible for years… and I attended a church I scoff at (bad, I know - their beliefs are quite contrary to my own but I’ve been content to just tolerate the differences for some time). This past weekend I felt compelled to open the Bible. I read one verse and was confronted with a truly extraordinary, life-altering experience that reminded me the spiritual world is VERY real.

It was a frightening experience, really… one that has left me unable to sleep. Unable to function like I did before. I feel like I just fell off the wrong path but I can’t quite figure out where the right one is so I’m in the ditch and it’s too dark to climb out.

I know that I need to be in communion with God. I feel compelled to seek the Catholic church and its teachings… the problem is I don’t know where to start.

How do I learn about the teachings of the Church? There’s so much information and doctrine that I have no clue where I should begin my journey. I’ve been browsing the net and even these forums but there’s so much that I’m feeling overwhelmed.

My question is this: HOW do I begin the process of conversion when I can’t attend church at this time??

I apologize if this question has been asked before… I tried a search but like I said I’m kind of in overload right now and I need a tiny bit of hand holding - I’m ashamed to say. Haha. This has been a very humbling time for me…

First of all, Praise God for his “wake-up call” to you. Let me see if I can help a bit.

How do I learn about the teachings of the Church? There’s so much information and doctrine that I have no clue where I should begin my journey. I’ve been browsing the net and even these forums but there’s so much that I’m feeling overwhelmed.

You are right. There is a huge amount of information. I was raised catholic and still am learning and deepening my faith.
First let me say that All of the teachings of the Church are designed as guides to help us follow the simple Law of Love. To believe on Christ, to have hope in the resurection, To Love God with all our hearts and to Love our neighbor as ourselves.
So - Don’t feel like you need to “Know it all” before you can come home to the Church.

My question is this: HOW do I begin the process of conversion when I can’t attend church at this time??

There is absolutely NO reason why you cannot begin attending mass immediately. Mass is offered every day at most parishes. Of course most people can only get there on weekends, but the mass is offered daily.
The only part you cannot participate in yet is communion. When others go up to receive you can kneel (or stand) and ask Christ into your heart, and thus receive “spritual communion”.
The best way to begin learning about the faith in an orderly way is to contact your local parish and ask. They will likely put you in touch with the director of religious education (DRE) who can answer some of your questions and hopefully get you set up with some materials and let you know when the RCIA classes begin. (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults)

I apologize if this question has been asked before… I tried a search but like I said I’m kind of in overload right now and I need a tiny bit of hand holding - I’m ashamed to say. Haha. This has been a very humbling time for me…

Absolutely not need for apology.
This is a great place for handholding. You’ll meet a lot of great people here.
Some, like myself, will even PM a bit with you if you’d like on specific topics or issues. I’m like you - and like to keep my faith simple.

One last thing I’ll suggest is that you read a book or two written by protestants who have come into the Church. You’ll Hear Scott Hahn’s “Home sweet Rome” mentioned often. I believe that Tim staples also has a good book out.
The stories of these Protestants coming home to The Church might resonate with your journey as well.

Looking forward to hearing more from you.

Peace
James

Welcome to CAF! :wave:

James gives sage advice for how to move forward. I think that his in-person approach is preferable; however, I will offer a few websites in case that might help.

First, I would recommend CatholicsComeHome.org. It’s a very user-friendly, accessible site that is geared towards those Catholics who have drifted away, those who were never Catholic, but are interested, and those Catholics who are looking to deepen their faith. It’s a great place to go to familiarize yourself with the Catholic Church.

Next, there’s always the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which presents an overview of all Catholic teaching, but it might be a little overwhelming at this point. In any case, I offer you the link because it will prove to be an invaluable resource as you move forward on your search. There is also the briefer, more readable Compendium of the Catechism in a handy Q&A format.

God bless you on your journey!

It was more a violent shove and shout then a wake up call, and it was powerful enough to push three people right off the wrong path and right towards the right path… so despite the battle wounds from being pushed so hard I am quite grateful.

Thank you both for your helpful suggestions.

James, I had NO idea the Church held mass every day. I am really a newborn here, just learning to walk and talk - which is an odd feeling because I’ve been a ‘Christian’ for years. You might ask why I’m drawn to a Church I know nothing about? Or maybe you wouldn’t… because when it’s right, it’s right.

My sister is Catholic, shortly after I wrote this I put aside my pride and gave her a call (she’s been trying to convert me for a few years - she herself is a recent convert- but I refused to hear so she stopped actively sharing her faith with me). She’s sending me her catechism.

Thank you both again. :slight_smile:

Your experience reminds me of the conversion of Bishop Anthonty Bloom, who, an atheist at the time, heard a talk by a priest and went home angry and grabbed a bible to read for himself what nonsense it all was. He chose to read the gospel of Mark, because it seemed to be the shortest. He wrote:

While I was reading the beginning of St. Mark’s Gospel, before I reached the third chapter, I suddenly became aware that on the other side of my desk there was a presence. And the certainty was so strong that it was Christ standing there that it has never left me. This was the real turning-point. Because Christ was alive and I had been in his presence I could say with certainty that what the Gospel said about the crucifixion of the prophet of Galilee was true

Anyway, welcome!

I would second advice to get the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the companion Compendium.

Other suggestions:

Start reading the New Testament, from Matthew through Revelation, a few minutes a day. Then go back to the beginning and read it again. You’ll find that each time through you gain better understanding. You start to see things you didn’t notice before that really speak to you. Don’t just read it as an ordinary book. Savor it. Read it like one might read a love letter.

Also, as someone else said, you can definitely attend Mass now, just don’t go up for communion. If you are not aware of Catholic parishes in your area, go to www.masstimes.org. You can put in your zip code and get a list of local parishes and Mass times. One thing to be aware of: there is a large variety in the way Mass is celebrated in the US. In some places the Mass will be very casual and have what sounds like “pop/folk” music - almost like a protestant service. Others will be more traditional (and in my opinion to be preferred). So you might try visiting a few different parishes in you area.

The structure of the Mass will be the same everywhere. And every parish church will have the Eucharist reserved in a tabernacle, usually on or behind the main altar. So look for it when you enter. That is a metal box where the consecrated bread, become Body and Blood of Christ, is reserved. There is usually a red “vigil” lamp hanging nearby. This is the center of all Catholic worship, the “Source and Summit” of Christian life. We believe that the bread and wine really become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, as he said it would, at the last supper.

Also, (you’re probably already doing this, but I thought I was just mention it…), set aside a fixed time each day to pray, even if is of short duration. The important thing is to be faithful and consistent. Ask our Lord for light to see your way ahead as you enter the Church, and that he will connect you with the right people who can help you on your way.

God Bless

Great to hear about your sister. She will be able to be a wonderful resource for you. I bet it really made HER day when you called. Is she local to you? Will you be able to attend mass together? This could be a big help to you getting use to the liturgy and so forth.

The Most important thing is to be patient with yourself. There IS a lot to absorb.

Keep us posted.

Peace
James

I’m in the conviction and contrition part of new faith right now and let me tell you it isn’t easy. I’ve never been here before. Haha. I needed to be humbled really, and I know I’ll get through it.

My sister lives far enough away that attending mass together won’t be possible. If we had money we could probably manage it but neither of us can afford gas to travel where the other is (she lives roughly two hours away). She will definitely be a good resource, she already has been. She taught me the rosary which I am finding is a very helpful meditative prayer.

I will definitely keep you all posted. Already you’ve helped.

Hm, well, I did check things out and unfortunately this parish does not have mass everyday. The two days they do have mass currently conflict with my work schedule so for the time being mass is out of the question.

I have to admit I’m a little bit saddened by that but I suppose all things come when they’re meant to.

Find out what diocese you are in and log onto to their website for Catholic churches in your area, that you may not be aware of, and attend Mass there during the week. If you got to the same one for a few weeks, you will start to meet people who can help you along the way. Welcome Home!

As I said, Mass is not offered here during the week. There masses are both on my work nights. :\ (PS: There is only one parish in the nearby vicinity. I’m in a really remote small town unfortunately)

Thank you. :slight_smile:

Nicky, we all praise God that He has called you back to, or toward faith in such a dramatic way. Practical experience at mass is the best way to learn what we do “at Church”, but being Catholic becomes a way of life, as God changes your heart. It is holiness when lived out properly. “Holy” simply means “set apart”, and we are set apart, as we no longer think and act like the rest of society does, but as God calls us to.

However, you also need to be able to read up on just what Catholicism is. An absolutely great resource is one of the yellow and black “Dummies” books: Catholicism for Dummies. It’s about $20 over the counter, or as cheap as $5+ online. It is written by two well-known Priests and covers all facets of the faith. In it, you can read up as slowly or as quickly as you want, and those of us here at the forums will gladly answer (or find answers) to all of your questions. Questions are good, as we all learn from them.

I can tell that you are a little pumped and psyched about this, and you have a right to be. You have received an invitation from God Himself, and you have responded to it. You are blessed and God is pleased. You can PM any of us with questions.

I think your sister’s Catechism will make more sense once you have a general outline of the faith. That’s where the Dummies book comes in. We can all learn a lot from that book, as the faith is almost 2,000 years old at this point. That’s a lot of history.

You are in our prayers.

Thank you.

So far the information I have been getting on this board has been invaluable. I haven’t had any questions as of yet because any questions I’ve considered have been answered as I think of them (although, admittedly, I do not entirely understand the coronation of Mary as of yet but I am willing to give thousands of years of devout believers my respect and trust - especially considering this is the path I believe I’ve been led to).

I haven’t received the Catechism yet so I might end up with many questions once I receive it. If I can find the book you mentioned I will definitely grab it (online ordering isn’t an option for me - unless I can figure out paypal…). I will take all of you up on that PM offer if I come across any questions that I cannot find answers for.

Honestly I think the time of questioning has passed (for the most part), that’s what I’ve been doing the last two-three years. All the answers are now being heaped upon me one after the other… but I’m thankful. When I originally posted here asking for help, help came. In the Bible, in my sister… in the links I was provided with. God is good.

It was questions that led me AWAY from the church, and just one answer that pushed me here.

I am very excited, but as I said before I am in a complete state of repentance right now. When you question the Word of God and He forgives you regardless and seeks you out to show you the way back it’s pretty amazing and mind-boggling.

Thank you for your prayers. I appreciate them (something else I wouldn’t have done a year ago! Haha. At one point I requested no one pray for me at anytime. Yikes!)

That’s too bad. However if you do wish to participate in mass more than once a week, you might consider checking out EWTN’s website. They run the mass three times a day, beautifully and and devoutly done, with very good homilies.

Just a thought

Peace
James

That’s awesome! Thank you!

PS: I am sharing that with my sister. :slight_smile:

=nickybr38;6656627]I am Protestant. But I am a non-practicing Protestant who hasn’t touched a Bible for years… and I attended a church I scoff at (bad, I know - their beliefs are quite contrary to my own but I’ve been content to just tolerate the differences for some time). This past weekend I felt compelled to open the Bible. I read one verse and was confronted with a truly extraordinary, life-altering experience that reminded me the spiritual world is VERY real.

It was a frightening experience, really… one that has left me unable to sleep. Unable to function like I did before. I feel like I just fell off the wrong path but I can’t quite figure out where the right one is so I’m in the ditch and it’s too dark to climb out.

I know that I need to be in communion with God. I feel compelled to seek the Catholic church and its teachings… the problem is I don’t know where to start.

How do I learn about the teachings of the Church? There’s so much information and doctrine that I have no clue where I should begin my journey. I’ve been browsing the net and even these forums but there’s so much that I’m feeling overwhelmed.

My question is this: HOW do I begin the process of conversion when I can’t attend church at this time??

I apologize if this question has been asked before… I tried a search but like I said I’m kind of in overload right now and I need a tiny bit of hand holding - I’m ashamed to say. Haha. This has been a very humbling time for me…

Hi Nicky,

Look for a PM from me. Maybe I can help?

Pray often that God’s Divine Will shall be done!

Love and prayers,
Pat

PJM

I don’t know if you guys are following this thread still but I thought I’d give you all a little update.

I called the local parish and RCIA classes start in September. But I discovered as I’ve been baptised already that RCIA is not the class I need to take, instead I need to take adult formation… or something like that. I don’t know yet when that will be, the sister is going to call me to further go over things.

My sister has acquired a Catechism, Catholic for Dummies, and a Catholic Answers Bible for me. She hasn’t been able to give them to me yet (she lives quite far away and as we’re both poor we haven’t been able to meet) but in the meantime Pat has been a valuable resource, as has this forum! My first day here I was completely overwhelmed but I’ve found that if I just stick to one topic for the day I can process the information. Today I’ve been studying the “Rock” and the keys to the kingdom. It’s a pretty heavy topic!

So that’s where I stand.

Thank you guys! :slight_smile:

Glad to hear things are going well for you. :thumbsup: I’ll keep praying for you. Pray for me, too!

Yup. We are here. Keep on working your way home. The feast is waiting.
:thumbsup:

peace
James

Joe - I will definitely keep you in my prayers!

James - Thank you. :slight_smile:

In her enthusiasm my sister revealed to our mother the path I am seeking. It isn’t going down well and I was barraged with a load of bible verses intended to show me the error of my ways… it’s very strange to defend a faith I hardly understand but it was interesting as well.

It is through attack that we grow I suppose!

Edited to add: My mother is a militant (see argumentative) non-denominational Protestant church hopper who is determined to prove the evils of the Catholic church. The rest of my family consists of (not including my sister) lukewarm Christians who believe only what is convenient (I used to be there. ): ).

Some prayers for them would be most appreciated. :slight_smile: But I have no doubt that my sister and I are being set apart to be examples for them. One spark leads to a big flame.

Your sister is a Saint! Now, how to get those books to you? As to your mother, first honor her as God has commanded. However, you have an advantage: the Lord Himself has called you, while mom is still seeking the truth. Strange as it sounds, it appears that you and your sister are being sent to your mother, to lead her to the fulness of Christ.

This is exciting, as so many of us did not experience such a dramatic call. Prayers continuing for all.

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