Question for converts: What's your story?

Why did you convert to the Catholic Church? Did you have a big “ah ha!” moment, or was it alot of seeds planted and watered over the years? What were your biggest fears/hangups in the process of converting (ie, my family will think I’m crazy, I don’t really agree with this specific doctrine, etc…)? Did you go through RCIA more than once?

I’ll post my full story later, as I don’t really have enough time to post it entirely, but I’ll go ahead and answer a few of the questions. I had many, many seeds planted over the years, including one situation when I was still very non-Catholic in 2005. This friend almost died after a drug overdose, and yet still lived, yet in a comatose state… some doctors even suggested that he was brain dead and there was nothing more to be done. I had the biggest urge every time I passed by St. Therese Church to go in and pray, but I didn’t know why. One day, I actually did, and I knew after I got done my friend would be fine. A week later he emerged from his coma. My biggest fear in converting was what my family (parents specifically, but also the people where I attended church with for my whole life up to that point) would think, that they might feel as if I were abandoning them. It took me another 2 years to get past that.

I guess my hope for this thread is to encourage anyone who is in the process of converting or even just reading and studying about the Catholic Church. I myself assumed erronously that once I made the decision to join 3 years ago it would be pretty straight forward, but I joined May of 08, quite a bit of time after I came to the decision. In reading others conversion stories, it gave me great hope that I, too, would one day cross the Tiber.

This thread is also for the stories of those who are in the process of converting, either by being in RCIA at this time, or just even thinking seriously about it.

God Bless!

I think mine were lots of little seeds over time. Family friends were Catholic, That was my first exposure. My father supported a conversion to the Catholic faith. His words: 'it’s the one, true church.'
And as I got older, there was a sense of being ‘called’ to the church even as I struggled with questions of spirituality and practiced other things.

One of the posters on another thread here (apologies - I forgot the thread and the name of the poster, to my shame!), made what I thought was a very astute observation: that younger people want orthodoxy now. I think he hit the nail on the head with this, for it is true.

We can speculate on why this is so, on the cultural dynamics behind this phenomenon, but in any case it applies with me.

For starters: I got sick of having Holy Communion come around once a month and have it be grape juice and little slices of Wonder bread. Can’t we make an effort put our best forward on no less than the Lord’s sacrifice? This is but one of a thousand things that grew over time as I considered the nature of my Protestant faith, things that grew and grew until one day it rendered the practice of the faith into seeming inadequate to the magnificence God has bestowed on it.

I suppose the fateful day I cast the die was when I sat in an Episcopal pew for the funeral of my friend, a suicide. The priest got up there and she said, “I don’t know what to say. Sometimes there is nothing to say. Sometimes God has no plan, it is just meaningless.” I thought to myself that if we are coming to a point with this where the priest starts coming off like Jean Paul Satre then we’ve really lost our bearings out here in Protestant-Land. Makes you want to go back to “The Rock”.

I’ve had a long strange trip for a non-Deadhead.:smiley:
I was searching for the truth all my life. When the evidence (in my own experiences as well as historic and other fields of experience) said, “Jesus of Nazareth definitely was resurrected and definitely left his followers with a strong consensus that He is God. Whereas spells fail and visualization just works on things I can control naturally anyway, prayer to Jesus seems to work amazingly often. The Bible contains the best record extant of fulfilled prophecies, against the natural odds.” Well, I had to do some more personal research on the matter. Result: Reading a New Age book about Jesus in my room one night, I muttered to myself, “That sounds like a guy I wouldn’t have minded knowing.” A voice said, “Why not?” I was stunned, yet both challenged and loved. I went for walks with someone who told me that one day I would die and at that time I would commit. He prayed over me. I felt tense and chaotic. The air crackled. I worried about what to do. As soon as I decided unequivocally in my heart that I would put God in control of my life, I felt clear and saw farther down the street than I ever had before. My mental process became clearer immediately, I felt kinder and more emotionally stable, and started feeling more attuned to other people’s needs. My ability to notice things and be self-aware drastically improved. Bad situations, such as parties with a lot of getting high and fooling around, made me feel bad instead of regular.
I became a community activist, trying to help people, and felt fulfilled by working on solving real-world problems, whereas a life of trying to be fulfilled had left me angry and bewildered.
I soon learned that Christians are supposed to go to church. I’d kind of wondered whether that was important. Drawn to the warmth of an ad in the Yellow Pages, i called up an Evangelical Friends church. I liked it but felt something was missing. As I stayed and tried to “be what was missing”, I felt emptier and more desperate instead, and soon along with some other people there, I decided to look for another church.
My criteria were these:
Sacraments. Friends don’t consider them necessary, so they are rare and even baptism is seen as symbolic. I knew Jesus commanded them, and I yearned for them.
Teaching. There was a Bible study group at church for Neil Anderson, and one for the Prayer of Jabez, etc., and there was one where the teacher didn’t know Jacob and Israel were the same person, and I wanted a study group that studied the Bible, in the hands of a teacher who knew a lot about it.
Activity. Not entertainment. Real activity. Getting out there, ministering to the world with a real, noticeable positive effect on the needy areas, at least several times a year, no matter what.
Evangelism, training and support, enthuiastic and effective missions projects, with a lot of support from the congregation.
Diversity in the pews and at the pulpit.
to be continued…

I was in the Army from 1996-2002.

In 1998-1999, I was deployed to Bosnia. I was a military policeman, and I was the Provost Marshal’s driver. He was the most devout Catholic I had ever met. He would pray on long road trips and would tell me a little bit about his faith if I asked. He was a Lieutenant Colonel, and the Catholic Chaplain was a Major (he outranked the Major), but he addressed the Chaplain as if he were his military superior. I remember studying about Catholicism because of him but that fell off once I was switched to a different job and when I left the Army. Sad thing is, I don’t think my boss knew about my interest in Catholicism; because he was a senior commissioned officer, I didn’t think it was appropriate to talk about something personal like that. I look back and wish I had talked to him about it…maybe I’d already be a Catholic by now.

I moved to my current residence about 2 years ago and every day, I pass by one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. It just happens to be a Catholic Church, so that got me studying Catholicism again. I started RCIA a few months ago and will be baptized on Easter. I can’t wait!

Great topic. Thanks for letting me share my story!

What did St. Paul say? “Always be prepared to give the reason for your joy?”

I was in high school, and attended Youth Group every Wednesday night at an Assembly of God church. Coming out of Sunday Service one day (sometimes I went on Sundays but not usually) I saw the Methodist Church across the street. Then my sister asked me to attend a Lutheran service with her. I found out one of my friends went to a church called (something like) First Calvary Baptist.

I was really fed up with all these denominations. I didn’t understand why were were all different. The people I asked said “different churches have different leadership styles.” which seemed like a very stupid reason to me. Then I learned some of them thought abortion was ok. Some thought baptism could be for babies, not just adults like mine taught. All of them were using the Bible to justify their beliefs but they were all contradictory! It frustrated the heck out of me. One day I locked my door, got my Bible, and tried to find the answers.

As I said, I was in high school, and high school is notorious (at least mine was) for bouncing philosophies and morals off of friends. Mine got into quite a few debates (My best friend was a Jehovah’s Witness, one was a buddhist, one vaugely Christian, and a few, well, they were Catholic.) Those Catholic friends knew their teachings too. I was debating my beliefs one day with my JW friend and a Catholic friend was listening. She said “You sound like a Catholic.”

I looked it up, and it turned out she was right. I was a Catholic. Finally the answer to the Bible beaing misconstrued. Finally the answer to all those denominations. Finally an answer for EVERYTHING.

I joined RCIA at 18, was Confirmed Easter '07 at 19, and I’ll be 21 in a little over a month now.

I grew up in the Methodist church, and my parents made sure we went every Sunday, but I don’t recall any discussions of the faith outside of Sunday service. When I left for college, I rationalized my decision to not attend church with various excuses and quickly lapsed into apathy. For the next 15 years or so, I was more or less agnostic, and even to a certain extent leaning towards atheism. My best friend told me during this time that he was converting to Catholicism, and I remember commenting that it was interesting to me that as he was growing closer to God, I was growing further apart. That statement didn’t really bother me at all - it was more a statement of fact. In the spring of 2005, Pope John Paul II died, and while I never held any loyalty to the pope, it struck me as a sad time for Christianity as a whole. Also around that time, the contraversy surrounding Terri Schiavo was all over the news. It seemed abhorent to me that someone who was still unarguably alive would be allowed to starve so that someone else (regardless of the relationship) could move on (or get rich and move on, depending on how you view it).

I was sitting at my computer on Saturday, the day before Easter, when I knew without doubt, that I needed to be at church the next morning. Evidently, God had had enough of me ignoring Him. I was none too pleased with this, as my situation at the time was rather comfortable without having to trouble myself with getting up early and going to church. Regardless, I looked up the only Catholic church in the area and figured out what time I would need to get up in order to be there on time. I hadn’t quite decided that this was something I really wanted to do, so I didn’t set my alarm clock on purpose. If God wanted me to come to His house, He was going to have to wake me up Himself. Predictably enough, I suppose, He woke me up right on time. Reluctanly, I got dressed and headed out. When I got there, I could feel that there was a presence inside the sanctuary - something or someone besides the people. I did my best to imitate the actions and words of the people nearby as Mass proceeded. In my ignorance, I followed them up for communion. What power there was in that wafer and cup! Communion in the Methodist church had never been so potent.

Afterr Mass, I spoke to one of the Deacons and told him my situation. He informed me that they had just finished an RCIA class, so he wasn’t sure when I would be able to join the church. He suggested that I contact the church office. Fortunately, a couple of weeks later, they had more than enough interest to start a new class, so I readily joined. In October of that year, I was confirmed as a member of the Catholic Church, and I’m glad to be home!


**Why did you convert to the Catholic Church? **

Because of the Eucharist.

Did you have a big “ah ha!” moment, …?

Yes. A charismatic nun sat down with me and among other useful things told me that the Church is not a supermarked. I was allowed to parttake of the Eucharist if I became really a part of the family. Good and reasonable deal, it seemed:) And then she prayed for me in tongues and understandable words with hands on… I wept alot and… since then I have been different… That day I became a Catholic in my heart.

What were your biggest fears/hangups in the process of converting?

Hang-ups… The biggest one was and is to see how asleep the Catholic Church is. How many people are only nominal… lukewarm, even among the clergy… and still always hearing the arrogant words: “we have the fullness of the faith… the people who leave the Church are just ignorant”…
Fears? I fear when people are not allowed nor encouraged to ask questions. A truth that cannot handle being questioned is not deserving of the title.
My biggest doctrinal challenge was and remains The Immaculate Conception, Purgatory and Indulgences (the last one I have given up on)…

Did you go through RCIA more than once?

Our RCIA was ridiculous… It felt like an eternity. Being accepted into the Church was difficult. I and others were called “too radical”… And why could we not just stay protestants? we were asked… we learned nothing in the RCIA and only a few percent in the class became Catholics eventually.

So… all the Honour to Jesus and Him alone for His Mercy and He is the Teacher and the Doctor and the High Priest.

well i was brought up in the COS and was christened - but never attended church - i think i went 3 times and that was it.

My parents brought me up to respect other faiths and cultures and to stand up for myself.

I met my husband 5 years ago by fate - pure and simple.

I was bored, near serious depression and was about to logout a chatroom when he IM’d me and said hello - we talked for near 5 hours - it changed me.

I had no idea he was catholic until one day when i was over to see him he asked if i wanted to go to mass with him and his grandad - i was honoured and went with him.

I have never been to mass before - it was beautiful and the people were lovely.

Three years later i attended marriage prep for 6 months and on 13th July 2007 i was married in full catholic mass - amazing and an honour for me.

In september i started RCIA after a long talk with my husband - we had lost 7 members of our family in the 6 months before and after our wedding - including grandad - so as a source of suport i attended mass regulary.

We also had a serious car accident in May last year - my husband would probably be dead if it wasnt for some miracle - and for that i am grateful.

I have always believed - im just now learning how much.

Its for the benefit of my children too - i want them to believe in themselves and in god - and the community at my church is amazing to help me.

I get confirmed etc at Easter too - cant wait!

I grew up Episcopal, baptized and confirmed, but not heavily involved in the church. We were a very small, rural church, with not alot of stuff for kids and teens. Remained Episcopal through college, although I never went to church. Met my wife, who was Baptist, got married in 1999 and converted to the Baptist church - baptized again. After a big falling out with our pastor, we searched for another church, and never really felt at home anywhere. Fast forward to summer/fall 2006 - wife and I are taking childbirth classes and we run into a friend of mine who I haven’t seen since high school (14 years since we’d graduated). He and his wife were in class with us. Found out they were Catholic, went to mass with them a few times, and entered RCIA in fall 2006. Since I had to petition for a Decree of Nullity for a previous marriage (I was married for 2 months during college, another story in itself), we weren’t able to enter the Church at Easter in 2007. January 2008 - Decree of Nullity received, confirmed February 17, 2008. That’s it!:thumbsup:

Wow, alot of great conversion stories! It’s amazing to see how God puts people and situations in our lives that bring us home. I am reminded of Romans 8:28 (And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose). It always reaffirms my own faith when I hear conversion stories, and it was my hope that someone else has the same reaction, too.

I was baptized in the Presbyterian church when I was just a few weeks old, and was raised in this church. My parents are still members. I was at Sunday school and church every week (thanks Mom and Dad for instilling that in me early on :smiley: ) and growing up, I always loved to learn. I was the strange 8 year old kid that though reading from an encyclopeida was the greatest thing in the world, and eventually I came across Catholicism. I was really facinated with psychology already, but Catholicism had bit me pretty hard, but I quickly lost interest. It only came out here and there, such as when my uncle was in town (he was Catholic, but only came in every other month), and I might ask one or two questions, but I wasn’t very interested at that time. He died when I was 12, and his funeral was the first Mass I ever went to. I remember wanting to kneel (but I was scared to, as my mom at that time was really uncomfortable with anything non-Catholic) and was really jealous I couldn’t take the Eucharist. I felt very drawn towards it, and at that time I had no idea of the Real Presence or transubstantiation.

The pastor at a local Baptist church (although I suspect he would be horrified to know that) helped plant one of the biggest seeds when I was a little older, because this is when I first started reading more thoroughly about Catholicism, from actual Catholic sources. Being very anti-Catholic (at least one sermon a month would be about how “evil” Catholics were) he routinely would hand out tracts such as Jack Chick. I read them for a good laugh, but at the same time, I wondered about how much of the information on the pamphlets were true, so I began to read as much as I could on Catholicism.

Also, a beloved former principal at my high school was killed (Mr. B). Because not much is known about Catholicism (besides mis-information) where I live, after his death, what later became my home parish taught a few basic classes on what Catholic’s believe. A couple of students and former students converted soon after. This was when I was 19 years old, and at that time I had finally come to believe that the CC is Christ’s Church on Earth, but I guess I still was stubborn, myself, convinced that I was predestined to be Presbyterian all of my life. However, I did move out very soon after Mr. B died, and very soon started attending daily mass during the week. I knew within a few months I wanted to convert. But during the time that I came to my decision, I convinced myself that I was still Presbyterian because I went to my old church on Sunday. It didn’t matter I was going to a Catholic Church 5 time more than my old one.

But still, I told no one at that time, because as much as I felt drawn to the CC, I was still scared to death myself, mainly because of what the people at my old church would think. I also was really scared of Mom’s reaction, so I kept silent on my intent on becoming Catholic for another 2 years. Over a year ago, I was really hurt (a few intentionally, and for a long time, some unintentionally… long story) by my old church. Not too long before that I had prayed that God would help me lessen my attachments to specific people. I think in the same prayer I asked him to help me join the CC. Be very careful what you pray for, because sometimes it might happen in ways you could never dream of or imagine. But in the end, though, I took the final plunge this past May after some one on one sessions with my priest about the catechism.

I’m very happy that I’ve converted now. God is gracious, for sure, because I know there are no coinciences, which some people I know will want to argue. I can also see God working in me to help plant some seeds. About 5 months after I was confirmed, I ran into a friend who I hadn’t seen in a really long time. He had not been to Mass or the sacraments in 5 years, and had slipped into some sinful lifestyles (as he’ll admit himself). I was telling God how lonely I was at that time, and was asking for a friend. He was praying for someone to help him come back into the church. Right in the middle of our prayers, I saw him and ran over to say hi, and gave him a quick life update. His eyes bugged out when I told him I coverted to Catholicism and he started laughing. I didn’t know why until a few days later when he told me about his prayer. I kept prodding to get him come to a Mass with me, and a month and a half later he went to his first Mass in over 5 years. He’s not skipped a HDO since. :smiley: :thumbsup:

God Bless!

Heres my story,

When my boyfriend (now husband) and I were dating in high school we were both protestant but we both had Catholic family members. We knew that we would get married someday so we started looking into religions and different churches. I had always been intrigued by the Catholic faith because my grandma and aunt were catholic and I knew that they always prayed for my conversion :slight_smile: I had only been in their church once but I felt this awesome feeling there…like I knew that it was the right religion.

So we started the RCIA class together but we were getting very busy with school and wedding planning and everything so we stopped going. We got married at the courthouse and had kids and many years went by without talking about church again.

Now about 10 years have passed and May of 2008 we started looking into schools for our daughter who is entering Kindergarten. We were hooked on the local Catholic school from the very begining and decided last may that we were ready to go HOME!! We will enter the Church in a few short months!

I am so glad God called us back to HIM!

I converted last year at the Easter Vigil when I was 21. I grew up in a secular household - God was neither confirmed nor denied. As a junior in high school, Mom and I moved from IA to TN, and suddenly I was surrounded by people who wanted me to “be saved”. I found it extremely annoying to be around these people, and I still have a hard time accepting people who evangelize forcefully … Anyway, it wasn’t until college that I met a Christian who lived her life as a Christian. It was inspiring. I knew her for three years before asking her anything about Christianity - she, in turn, knew me (and details about my non-Christian life) for three years without telling me how I should become a Christian.

The summer before my senior year in college one of my great grandmother’s passed away. I didn’t know her that well (other than birthday presents & Christmas cards), but I decided to take off work and drove to IL for the funeral with my mom. I was the only great-grandchild to attend the funeral, and no one knew I was coming until Mom and I arrived at the wake. Peggy (step-grandma) greeted us saying, “Marybeth, I didn’t know you were coming! Here, look, this is for you!” and pulled me over to a table with an envelope with my name written on it, “We found it when we went thru Grandma’s dresser!” Inside the little envelope was a picture of my older brother and I standing in front of our Christmas tree holding our goodie bags (G. Gma put bags of goodies together each year and gave them to all the grandkidds. She was very fair, and would spread the candy out on her bed, counting out each tootsie roll to make sure everyone got the same amount!) and a silver chain necklace with a 50 cent coin attached as a pendent. Mom says she mailed G. Gma the picture one year, but she has no idea why the necklace was in there - we guess I visited G. Gma once and told her I liked it, but she couldn’t just hand it to me then because she didn’t have one for all the grandkids. Anyway, I was touched by my G. Gma’s gift and thought about it all night. I mean, I had shown up unannounced and it was like God was saying thru my G. Gma, “I was expecting you to come even if you weren’t expecting to come to me!” The next morning I attended my first Catholic Funeral Mass; it was amazing.

I came home from IL and began attending daily Mass at my parish (which happened to be right across the street). When classes commenced in the Fall, I asked my friend (above) to recommend a book for me to read about Christ. She didn’t make a big deal about it, just recommended “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis. That book was amazing. It was then that I met and fell in love with Jesus Christ. After that I started attending a Presbyterian service with a different girlfriend who later introduced me to my now fiance, who is Catholic! Fiance and I started going to Mass together every Sunday. I read “Catholic Christianity” by Peter Kreeft and it was then I fell in love with our Mother Church, the Bride of Christ. I contacted my local parish to start RCIA. I was actually disappointed with the RCIA program, so I talked to the DRE who offered to give me one-on-one instruction in lieu of the group classes. She is amazing.

The hardest teaching for me to accept was the “no ABC” thing. In the past I was all about birth control, so it’s scary to be getting married in less than 4 months knowing that I’m not going to rely on it. I think submitting my ovaries to God’s Plan was harder than submitting my heart or mind to it!! Whenever I stumble with a doctrine, I remember this quotation I read on CAF once (don’t remember the poster):

“Christ founded the Church. He gave Peter the keys. He promised that the gates of hell would never prevail. If you have a grievance, study, pray, and try to understand why you’re wrong and Christ’s Church is right.”

I am about to attend the RCIA for first time tonight. My big reason is that my wife is Catholic and she wants to be married within the Catholic church. So I am going through all this mostly for her.

When my future daughter-in-law decided to take instructions she asked me, “Do you think Todd would be unhappy with me if I didn’t finish the instructions?” I told her and I will tell you, go ahead and take the instructions BUT only become a Catholic if that’s what YOU really want to do. Don’t ever become a Catholic for someone else. We have enough half- way Catholics in the church already.
Later when she decided she really wanted to become a member of the Catholic Church, I asked her, If Todd died tomorrow, would you still want to become a Catholic and she said, “YES” and for my sake now." Not only has she been a beautiful example of a faithful Catholic for the past 20 years but she brought her best friend and Maid of Honor into the faith with her. As well as helped several neighbors return to the practice of their Catholic Faith.
A friend or loved one may be a great motivator but you have to decide for yourself after you have learned what the Church has to offer. Prayers and God Bless on your journey.Memaw

My story is rather unique, I was raised baptist, and was always told the catholic church was forbidden, that they did not believe in praying to god, only idols and statues, i met someone that is very catholic, and that is all it took. He was patient, understanding of all my questions, even referred me to catholics come home and a few other websites, I have been talking with a priest weekly, which is a great help. And I have quite a few good catholic friends.

I have been Anglican my whole life. I went to a Catholic Convent School for 2 years when I was 10 and it was a very happy time in my life - I even wanted to be a nun.

I got involved with a Muslim man for 3 years and only when he asked me to convert to marry him did it hit me how lost I was. I broke it off and started going to Church again. I prayed daily for guidance to a path in my life that will make sense and make me happy again.

Anyway, I kept going to my Anglican Church in London and each time I went I had to walk past the Catholic Church. Every time I felt drawn to the place and went in and sat down. It is incredibly peaceful. I went to Church with my mother and en route took her into the Catholic Church. She asked why and only then did I realise that God had answered my prayer - I was just too dense to realise it.

I started going to Mass a few months ago and love it and hence converting. RCIA starts in September this year.

I told my mother at Christmas and she was quite cool about it but now that I have officially joined the Catholic Church she is being a bit weird but hopefully she will get over it soon.

Currently I am in the middle of 5 books – so much to take in. I feel like a completely different person!

Please keep us informed as to how your Journey goes and hopefully you will be “Surprised by the Truth”, as one author put it. God Bless, Memaw

You know that you can get married in the Church without you converting to Catholicism? I did it several years ago…now 4 years later I am ready to convert from Methodism to the Catholic Church. Frankly you need to convert for you, for your love of Christ and for your love of the Church He created, not for your wife or anyone else for that matter. If you convert just for her you very well could end up regretting it and holding her against it. Being Catholic is a big commitment and is something that cannot be taken lightly. I will pray that God leads you into the correct path for YOU, the path that leads to Him from your own heart.


Short story:

I was born into a Christian home and went to a Baptist school through 8th grade. Through High school and college I went to a Methodist church, which is where I was Baptized. Since I was in college I have been drawn to liturgical churches, especially the Coptic Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Catholic Church (Latin Rite). I went as far as calling a Coptic priest, but in the end did not go on that path. In 2005 I was married to a Catholic woman who is strong in her faith. This past November (2008) I decided that I was ready to convert. We have been attending Mass weekly since we started dating 6 years ago. I have been attending RCIA since the start of the year and will be received into the Church at the latest by Easter.



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