Hi, I’m not sure if I’m posting this in the right place, sorry if I am not.
I am being received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil but apart from my Husband no one else knows and I am uncertain how to tell them.
All our friends are evangelical Christians and are quite against the Catholic Church,as I was myself until we joined an Evangelical Anglican church and I started to look into church history. My closest friend had Catholic parents but was abused as a child so I know her view of the Catholic Church has been warped (in fact she mentions it in her testimony!)
I didn’t say anything to them before now as I wanted to be completly sure of my decision before saying anything as I didn’t want their bias to influence me, my husband is being supportive and is coming with me to the Easter Vigil and I am confident that in time he will convert.
I was just wondering if anyone had any experience of this? Either of telling friends or of being told themselves
As an ex-Protestant, I can tell you now you won’t find it easy.
One thing to watch out for though is that in your enthusiasm as a new Catholic, you’ll want your Protestant friends to become Catholic. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but you need to grow in the faith yourself before you start trying to convince them.
I also think you’ll need to make a new set of friends in the Catholic Church itself. Get involved in some aspect of church life.
To be honest with you, you’re going to find you’ve burnt your protestant bridges to a large extent. Well, that was my experience. You can’t serve two masters, as Christ made clear.
If your husband is Christian, and it appears he is, then I’d also suggest you continue to go with him to his church, at least on a part time basis. You’re going to need his support, and it’s a two way street. You might find it easier to avoid their communion Sundays though, at least in the short term.
As for actually telling your evangelical Protestant friends, I’d only start with a couple, in particular those you think are mature enough to accept it. Rest assured, the others will find out soon enough, whether you tell them or not.
In short, softly, softly. And be sure of your reasons.
Just tell them straight. After all is is your life, you’ve done the right thing, so why should you hide it. If they reject you for it then they are not true friends.
But don’t go diving in trying to ‘convert’ them. Respect who they are and hope that, in time, the witness of your life may win some of them over to the one true Church. But trying to ‘shove it down their throats’ is unlikely to convert them.
But never be ashamed of who you are and don’t hide your light under a bushel. If your friends accept you, then great, but if they reject you for it then you are in good company as Christ too was rejected.
Actually, you are not obligated to tell anyone about your conversion (in reality you are being reconciled to the Church unless you aren’t properly baptized). Anyway, it is entirely up to you to decide what, if anything, you will tell your friends. If you know they will be hostile, then say nothing. If you all attended the same Evangelical church, they may be curious why you haven’t been there, but if they haven’t asked, then apparently it’s not important to them. If you have been attending, at some point you’ll probably stop going, then they may have questions. In the end, only you know how they will react. It’s really up to you and your husband.
If you do tell them let them know that everything you have experienced in Christ up to this point has been good, and that you are leaving nothing of that behind, but taking it with you into a deeper relationship with him by becoming Catholic. They will have many questions. If you have the answers, you may wish to discuss it–on question at time. Don’t let them overwhelm you or try to take you off track. If you don’t have answers, simply say you’ll get back to them about it. If they are hostile or abusive you don’t have to take it, simply leave them to their opinions and walk away.
Whatever you decide to do I wish you all the best. I will mention your intention in my Evening Prayer this evening. It’s the Solemnity of St. Joseph, who had some pretty hard trials of his own. Ask him for help today. Pray for guidance and love for your friends. And do the best you can without expecting them to understand or accept what you have to say. All you can do is say what is in your heart and leave the rest to God.
Of course, you don’t have to tell anyone anything if you are uncomfortable. I can understand telling your best friends or every day acquaintances, or people who you discuss spirituality with, but there is no need for a wide open testimony if you are uncomfortable. Be prepared for the hardcore ones, especially the ones who normally wouldn’t interact with you at all, to be the most judgmental and opinionated - as if your decision affects them in some strange way. :rolleyes:
Frankly, I completely understand your concern and have experienced what you are concerned about through a friend when she converted. As I am sure you realize your choice will cause some ripples with some of your family and friends and how you tell them will probably make some difference. Some people will feel that you have rejected them because you have left their faith, but if you can make them understand that God was calling you it may help. The fact that you have chosen to be Catholic and your friends are anti-Catholic is an issue you must prepare yourself to encounter and I would urge you to try to completely review your reasons for becoming Catholic as opposed to why you left the evangelical faith behind. And, lastly, God can and will lead you forward with wisdom and strength, just ask! And I will pray for you also. Welcome!
I probably am not in a position to advice you on this effectively as I have never been a Protestant but as a Catholic, I am glad you came back to the original Church.
Leaving one’s religion causes huge pain especially to parents, and friends, no doubt will not be exactly neutral about it. For those friends that are church based, they will be devastated at your conversion, Protestants or not. For that, I think you have to decide carefully whether to tell or not, depending on the openness of your friends, if you know them that well. So generally, it is better not to tell unless being asked; they will know about it anyway.
More importantly for you is that life goes on. That is, you stay as what you are and try not to treat your friends differently. Sometimes, we are so conscious of our changes in life that we can be on a defensive mode or think that our friends now have deserted us. Sometimes it can be the other way round - that your friends think your are deserting them. If you are still the same person to them despite the changes in your religion, it may lessen the impact of their disappointment.
Let your new found faith demonstrates that it is a true faith and that your conversion was a result of a matured thought-out decision. To some of your friends, that would be probably more important. After all they do not want to lose you which could happen if you are changed just because you have converted to another religion. Sure, your relationship with some of them probably will be affected, and you have to be patient.
Have a blessed time with the Lord in the Eucharist.
Hi, thank you all so much for your considered responses.
I am going to tell my closest friend this week over lunch and see how we go from there! I am prepared for some kind of fallout from this
I have been going to Church with my husband but he is happy for me to go to mass instead and take the children (his suggestion not mine) He is coming to the Easter Vigil with me, so I am grateful for his continuing support. He has spoken to the pastor who has been understanding in his response.
I don’t know anyone in the Catholic Church as yet, although the lady who has kindly offered to be my sponser is coming over for coffee,so I hope I shall be able to start getting involved in the life of the Church.
Welcome to the Catholic Church. If you haven’t known anyone yet, you will be completely at home in the church then.
Unlike Protestant churches if I heard correctly, you may find it is rather cold in the Catholic Church. You may not be greeted by anyone and you will be pretty much left on your own. Thanks God you have your husband with you. He will be your only friend.
Catholics come to mass to fulfill their personal obligation. So it will be everyone for themselves. There will be rush for parking, rush for the pew to get the best seat and rush to get home or perhaps for lunch.;):o
On a serious note … your sponsor should take care of you especially the initial part of your church life as you acquaint yourself to the new environment. You can rely on her to get you around, maybe like joining one of the church groups or any other needs. Do make use of her.
I would also suggest that you exemplify your faith by example. I have many in my family that are Protestant and believe some of the anti-Catholic falsehoods. Through the years by living my faith with my wife and children, I have exemplified the Catholic faith the best I can by setting the best Christian example I am capable of doing. Their positions have eased considerably and I am always available to charitably discuss the Catholic faith with them. There are times that I may not know what the answer is and I will tell them that. But I know where to get the answer and will get back to them.
I converted for the Southern Baptist faith tradition a long time ago; my step mom and father still attend the SB church in my childhood hometown. My step mom is my family’s greatest advocate whenever anyone tries to disrespect the Catholic faith. She has even gone toe to toe with other family members defending my family and I and the Catholic faith. Exemplifying your faith by example is a powerful tool.
Good luck on your journey and please ready the above reference. Welcome Home
This Easter, it will be my tenth anniversary for joining the Church. My experience when someone didn’t like my decision was as follows.
First Response: “Change back.”
when that doesn’t work -
Second Response: “You’re wrong”
when that doesn’t work -
Third Response: “Here are your consequences if you fail to change back.”
I have heard many of the terrible things the Catholic Church did in the past. What I have learned is that the truth is always very different than the way I tend to hear it. So, I have learned to experience some joy when I find people exaggerating or simply telling false stories to make the Church look bad. I say that because there must something that drives that need for exaggeration.
I think it is important to grow from the point forward, rather than spend tons of energy trying to justify being at this point in the first place. There is so much richness that can carry you up to your fullest potential. Let the joy that comes from that journey be your witness to your friends!