Your Religious Heritage

What is it?
Not the denomination or church you attend now, but the religious affiliation your family is connected to and you were raised in. Your parents or grandparents.
Both sides of my family were Catholic. But I have a feeling my mothers side might have been Orthodox or even Jewish in the past.
What was your family’s reaction when you cut yourself off from that heritage?

Maternal grandparents are Baptist and Paternal grandparents are Assemblies of Gods.
Both parents are nazarene and so I grew up Nazarene.
I’m still Nazarene, so never really cut off from the heritage, so to speak.

My father’s family was Catholic. My mother’s father’s family was Catholic and her mother’s family was on-again-off-again-Presbyterian. My mother was baptized Catholic as an infant but always claims to be a Protestant, even though she has never attended any church regularly (other than the Catholic parish she attended when she was married to my father) and really hasn’t studied scripture or Protestant beliefs. She vaguely believes in the existence of God and celebrates Christmas and Easter. God-in-her-mind generally agrees with anything she thinks or does and according to Him, the worst sin in the whole universe is disrespecting your mother. The second worst sin is wearing frumpy clothes to Mass.

My paternal grandparents (and both of their parents) were Catholic, my Maternal grandparents were Baptist, but they have family spreading most of the Protestant denominations, and many on my Grandmother’s side were/are Jehovah Witnesses. My parents are Seventh-day Adventists, and that is the church I was raised in until I was 16 and joined the LDS church.

Catholic though I think my paternal grandfather might have been Lutheran. Didn’t know him but I believe that is what I was told. My family is a mix of Catholics ranging from the faithful to well… not so much. Some regularly attend Mass. Others sometimes. Others never. I think a couple of us might attend a Protestant or non-Roman Catholic service. Oh sure we’re like any other family and have our differences from time to time. But we all pretty much seem to simply accept and love each other as family regardless of our differences. But even the most faithful Catholic ones as far as I am aware don’t seem to make a big deal out of any differences regarding matters of faith and belief within the family. I suppose they understand people of faith do have different beliefs. Anyway the bottom line and what it seems to come down to in the end in my family is as Sister Sledge and the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates said. “We are fam-i-ly”. I got all my sisters/brothers with me. We are fam-i-ly…" :thumbsup:

My mom, step dad, brother and sister don’t believe in God. My real father went to church for a few months when I was about 4 yrs old but quit because he said, “church makes me feel guilty about drinking alcohol”. That was a Methodist church. About 10 years ago he went back to the Methodist chuch. None of my grandparents attended church. However, my maternal grandfather did begin attending a Lutheran church in his 70’s. My having any faith at all causes a division for me so being Catholic is only a problem for my real father.

My husband’s family has been Catholic for as far back as we have records, which dates back to his great grandfather coming to the US from Poland. He and his family lead me to the catholic faith, thanks be to God!

My parents were raised Lutheran with a touch of Baptist(on my Dad’s side). I was baptized Lutheran-Missouri Synod and raised Assemblies of God/Charismatic Evangelical. My mom didn’t have a problem when I looked into Orthodoxy, but asked me to please “not become Catholic.” That was about it and they’ve been pretty tolerant.

Fundamentalist baptist on my mother’s side. My mother’s 2 brothers and their families are nominally Christian now (I believe they both attend a United Methodist church if and when theyattend). Her sister attends a ‘non-denominatioanl yet Baptist in theology’ church, that is less uptight, but still fundamentalist. My Grandparents still attend the same Fundamentalist Baptist church I spent my first 12 years in, though neither of them are really Fundamentalists. Its strange, but that is how its always been with them.

My father’s family attended a United Evangelical Brethern church up until the merger with the Methodists. Shortly there after the local congregation split and my dad’s family started attending the Fundamentalist Baptist church my mother’s family attended. This side of the family is more adamantly Christian, and all apart of churches with Baptist roots, though none still attend the Fundamentalist baptist church of my youth.

I made the fortunate mistake of dating a Catholic girl, and in my attempts to convert her by refuting the Catholic faith, as Dr. Ander’s says, I myself was refuted.

I don’t know how strange that is. I don’t think it’s all that uncommon. Even in the Catholic Church, people who were baptized into the faith at a young age, even though they might not be faithful to some of the teachings, will still attend a Catholic Church too.

True indeed. It probably seems strange to me just because my dad’s family, who are adamant about their faith, would never attend a church that they did not agree with. I often find myself trying to explain to them why some mass attending Catholics they know are so hypocritical. They see it as proof that Catholicism is off base.

My mother and father both grew up in homes where very little church activity happened. My father’s mother came from a Scottish background but there was only a Congregational church in the area and that became the focal point of social and religious activities. My dad’s father was not involved in a church although I have a link (in my genealogy research) that his mother was active in a Lutheran church in their area. Mind you this was Northern Michigan in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. My mother’s family were not committed Christians involved in any church. Mom became a Christian thru a televised Billy Graham Crusade and started to be active in the local Baptist Church until my dad became angry about the amount of time she spent there - even accusing her of going because she loved the pastor. She never went back to church as she promised herself that she would only go to church when Dad did.

We children (7 of us) rode a Sunday School bus to church and had wonderful Sunday School teachers but, for me, I was a very anxious child and the yelling and raising of voice in the sermon always scared me. When we moved up to where my father grew up (where I live now) we attended the same Congregational Church my grandmother did as a young girl. I did not like it and would not become baptized because that meant becoming a member of that church. I could not become a member at that church feeling as I did, not understanding the reality of what baptism truly was.

As a young adult, I followed my oldest sister (who had married a Lutheran) to the local LCMS church. I went thru the member’s class twice because I had never heard the message so clearly given as to how much Christ loved us- so much that He died on that Cross taking my sins and the sins of everyone with Him on that cross. It was such an easy step to become baptized and then to experience the sacrament of Holy Communion. What a freeing experience!!

As to how my family thought? I think they didn’t really have too many issues - of course the baptism was not immersion and we had some family “debates” for many years and then the debate of communion being either the True Presence or done in memory of Christ. We learned to accept each other as the years went by. At this time out of the 7, I have 2 siblings going to fundamental non-denominational churches, one going to Free Methodist, one who is a fundamentalist but is ill with agoraphobia, 2 not involved with any church and, then myself as the only Lutheran. How’s that for background and a mixture ----

Can’t wait to read others’ experiences.

God bless, all!


My latest parents weren’t church-goers as adults, but they made sure my sister and I went to a Church of England school - we were both baptised and confirmed CofE. However, as a child in the 1930s, my mum attended a Spiritualist church with her widowed mother, my granny. I understand my gran was always desperate to make contact with her only son, who had died as a small child.

My father was a choirboy in a CofE church, but after they married I think mum and dad may have become more attached to the Methodists. I only think this because my older sister was enrolled in a Methodist girl’s brigade. Anyway, by the time I went to school we were CofE!

My parents both died about 20 years ago, so they weren’t around to see me enter the Catholic Church last year. However, I’m sure they would have been supportive - they always were. :slight_smile:

I should add that as a child and young adult, I was very independent and despite my strong ties to our CofE church, I tried virtually every church there was in our town. I was just always looking to feel at home. Now I feel at home!

I tend to say that I have a protestant heritage because my family wasn’t Catholic, but also wasn’t strict about affiliation.

My paternal grandparents were Salvation Army. My dad (or any of his brothers and sisters) really never claimed a denomination for themselves, but rejected the SA. My mom, from what I understand, had a “high church” background, but her parents died before I was born and she wasn’t much of a church-goer either. She died when I was young, so I have no idea what she’d think about me becoming a Catholic.

Since my parents thought that I should get religion, they sent me to a Baptist (fundamentalist) church that had a bus ministry that picked me up in my neighborhood. They never actually went to church with me, but seemed happy that I went - as long as I was happy with going.

So, I went through Baptist, Jewish, non-denominational before becoming Catholic. It’s simply a miracle that I met Jesus at all, given I wasn’t given much guidance on religion outside “we aren’t Catholic” and “we aren’t going to the Salvation Army w/your grandparents.”

Mother: Roman Catholic - her father Catholic, her mother Amish (I think).
Father and his parents: Church of Christ, then later became Methodist.
Wife: Roman Catholic.

My family has been Catholic as far back as we know of (Irish, never been a lot of choice in that department :p). My mothers side has really been hyper-clerical, we’ve had twelve nuns and six priests over the past hundred years there. My father also Catholic and several nuns on that side although I don’t know them so well.

That said my mother and father are now both non-practicing having formerly been active churchgoers (they stopped when I was about fourteen along with my younger sibling, and from then on I took myself for seven more years until I left myself). My grandparents still attend mass but all of my mothers generation (her siblings, cousins) bar two nuns and a monsignor have all dropped out as well. Some of my own cousins were raised Catholic but are not raising their children Catholic. One has had their children baptized by the Catholic Church and they attend Catholic school but the family does not practice, the others have not been involved with religion of any form thus far.

As for myself? I’ve yet to convert but for the time being I have brought my son to a Church of Ireland congregation. It’s really not ideal but the community here, especially the minister has been very supportive of me (I’m a widower, bit young I know in my early-mid twenties) and has a very sophisticated religious education program. I felt it crucial that my child be baptized, but I was not going to seek it from the Catholic Church so I inquired at my wifes former parish (she was CoI). I travel outside the country a lot and during those times I/we attend the nearest Anglican/episcopal church. Naturally some of my older relatives in the convents are not thrilled but it’s not as if we get that many opportunities to talk and the rest of the family just thinks I’m a “weird Bible-humper”.

tl;dr: Catholic but it died out with my mothers gen. Bar me none of the others attend a weekly church service.

Raised non religious. Grandparents on dads side were Lutheran, moms side were Catholics, my parents practiced no religion.

My dad converted to evangelical Christian when I was 10, I converted to RC when I was in college. I deconverted from the RC after about ten years and joined up with my grandparents Lutheranism. That was 2 years ago. My family didn’t care what I was and I was always treated with love and respect.

Kinda all over the place.

Dad’s Catholic (long time non-practicing). His mom (from an Irish family) was Catholic, but they clearly believed in the supernatural/Irish Celtic myths. I don’t necessarily say they were pagans pretending to be Catholics, but I’d guess some Celtic pagan practices must’ve been handed down, and they may have never cottoned to that not being how things were in the Church. His dad was a mix of German and Cherokee, and I’m guessing his German family practiced Protestantism (it was mentioned that my grandpa had to convert to marry my grandma.) The Cherokee, going back far enough, would’ve been practicing their tribal religion (which I admittedly know squat about.) Somebody on the German side may have joined the LDS church in about the late 1860s/early 1870s, but we’re not quite sure. (Long amateur family tree attempt story cut short–two cousins living in the Civil War era who had the same first name and last name, and born the same year in the same town and both wandered up from North Carolina to St. Louis and joined the Union Army. After the war, one stayed in St. Louis, and one went out to Utah and joined the LDS, then came back St. Louis and rejoined his identically-named cousin who stayed in St. Louis after the war. Both married, and we’re trying to untangle which one did which.)

My mom’s family is Protestant–mostly either non-denom/vaguely Methodist. Go back far enough, and we found out we’re descended from King George III of England (yeah, that one), so obviously CoE at some point, and go back even farther in the royal family trees and you’d get Catholic. We found another branch of my mom’s family are descended from the Vikings that conquered Normandy in the way-back-whens, so likely pagan (as in Odin, Thor). That I know a bit more about, since I have friends who follow that path (but it doesn’t call to me.) Could possibly also be Christian, but it wouldn’t have been for very long if they were.

My mother was raised in the Church. My father was Methodist, but only because the Methodist church was was closest one to his house. He could have been anything…except Catholic. He has aways expressed a heathy dose of anti-Catholicism.

As a child I was raise in the Lutheran church. I guess my parents thought of that as a compromise of some kind.

As an adult I practiced no religion. Then I married a Catholic and got into the habit of attending Sunday Mass with her every week. Although I don’t believe a word of it, I find it to be a quiet, reflective way to start the week and the order of the Mass reminds me of the Lutheran service of my youth.

I was raised as a moderate Southern Baptist. My Dad was raised as a Methodist by Methodist parents, my mother was raised as a Southern Baptist. Her father, raised as a Presbyterian, turned to the Baptist religion of his mother when his father died. Her mother was raised as a Roman Catholic by a Cajun Roman Catholic mother and a Baptist- turned Catholic father… before their separation, that is. My father converted to Protestant fundamentalism in the late 1980s and when I became Catholic at 21, he was livid. My grandmother, on the other hand, was quite proud at the time. My journey eventually led me to the doors of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod. Now that I’m Protestant again, at least, there’s not the tension that existed earlier between myself and others in my family. I’m very contented with the way things are turning out and at peace for the first time in ages.

My Dad’s side was Baptist and my Mom’s side was Lutheran but when I was Catholic and my Grandpa passed we were going through his stuff and found a Catholic prayer book which floored my mom.

You see my mom was throughly evangelical and was going to the Assembly of God Church (the one I grew up in) and when I started looking at Liturgical Churches and at that time settled on Catholicism she went ballistic because she believed the whole Anti-Catholic diatribe but when we found that she calmed a bit.

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