March 28, 2004/the Day I Decided to Become a Catholic

Did you hear about the man who decided to convert to Catholicism after being invited to a Mass by a Protestant? It sounds like the beginning of an off-color, sacrilegious joke. However, no disrespect is intended and I can assure you that this is no joke. On March 28, 2004 I made the decision to become a Catholic.
I was already watching EWTN learning about the Catholic church and was already feeling very moved toward that direction. For those who don’t know, I was born and raised Jewish. I went to Hebrew school for five years, had my Bar Mitzvah ceremony when I was 13 and even attended a year of Jewish confirmation classes after finishing Hebrew school. However, from the time when I was around 10 I was curious and interested in Christianity. While I attended Hebrew school with kids who were Jewish, I was keenly aware of the fact that most of the people I knew from school were not Jewish. They were called Christians and they celebrated Christmas and Easter. Most of the holiday songs and parties were all dedicated to Christmas. I knew enough to know that this day was the birthday of Jesus Christ but this was the extent of my theological background. I wanted to know more about who Jesus was and what he did. Please understand that I was, in no way, dissatisfied with my Jewish faith. I loved being Jewish and did not wish to abandon my religion but I was curious.
At some point, I’ll write a detailed essay covering my complete journey, which led me to Protestantism and, eventually, to being a Catholic Christian.
However, let me return to March 28, 2004. As I said, I was already learning quite a bit about catholic beliefs. However, my friend Beverly, a Protestant, called me up to tell me that she and a friend of hers were going to attend a Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Wilmington, as she was a friend of the organist and asked if I wanted to attend. I said yes and the rest is history.
first, I’ll say that I attended many Protestant churches. I met many holy people at those churches, individuals who loved and served the Lord with all of their heart, mind and strength. I have no doubt as to the sincerity of those individuals. I had a chance to hear wonderful sermons. However, I never fully felt at home in any of those churches.
when I entered the cathedral before the beginning of Mass, I felt something. It was a powerful presence which almost seemed to pull at me, as if to confirm that this was the home I’d been looking for. I was extremely moved by this.
The Mass was very moving. I knew enough to know that I could not receive our Lord in holy communion until after I had been received into the church and wished that I could do so. Again, I understood the reasons for why it was necessary to refrain and I did so.
After Mass, the organist gave Beverly, her friend and me a tour of the church. This included visiting the stations of the cross. These are images which convey our Lord’s passion from being condemned, carrying His cross, being crucified and being laid into the tomb. They were very large and extremely tactile, making them extremely accessible to a visually impaired person. He explained each station and allowed me to feel each one in detail, such as our Lord falling on the way to the cross, his crucifixion, etc.
I also was shown a statue of the Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. When I walked up to the statue, I felt an unmistakable presence which was very warm, powerful, loving as well as feminine. I received no message nor did I see a vision. I just felt her presence, which was, for me, the icing on the cake. I think the Lord was saying to me, “Just in case you need a little more convincing, allow me to introduce you to my mother.”
I want to say, at this point, that I am not implying that the statue itself emitted these things. There is no superstition or any type of idolatry here. I am just saying that I felt the presence of the blessed virgin under her statue.
It is also important for me to note that choosing to embrace a religion is not something which should be based solely on experience or on feelings. As I said, I already began studying the teachings of the church and, intellectually, was nearly there, anyway. However, at the time I was a fairly feelings-based person and I think that God used this to communicate His will to me. It was on that day when I decided that I was going to become a Catholic. On April 7, 2007, I received my greatest wish and was baptized, confirmed and received my first holy communion at the Easter Vigil Mass. I’ll write more about that in a later post. I wanted to compose this to share it with anyone who is interested. This is a very joyous day for me. Thank you, Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God, for giving me the grace to become a Catholic.

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2 thoughts on “March 28, 2004/the Day I Decided to Become a Catholic

  1. Praise God! I was delighted to read your witness, David, and to learn of your Journey Home.

    Your fellow AT Specialist and convert to Catholicism,

    Tim Sniffen

  2. Thank you so much, Tim. I didn’t know that you were a convert. Have you publicly written anything about your own journey, as I would love to know more about it. I’m always interested in what moves someone to convert to a specific faith, particularly Catholicism, of course.

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