Posts Tagged ‘Southern Baptist to Catholic’

The Faith Journey of Paul Mitchell

In 12 Converts on 2016/02/19 at 12:00 AM

Most converts to The Holy Roman Catholic Church come through a logical, methodical and cerebral understanding of where they are and then where they want to be.  I, as a right brain, stubborn, hard headed engineer, HAD to do it differently.  I had to find out the stove was hot, THE  HARD WAY.

My spiritual venture started as a Southern Baptist, in the mountains of North Carolina, AND  very anti-Catholic.   Not only did I believe that Catholics worshiped statues and Mary, and had to obey everything the Pope and priests said, but also that Catholics started the Civil War and were not Christian.

I was raised in the 1940’s and 1950’s and greatly influenced by the 1960’s.  It was a time of Dale Carnegie (Act enthusiastic and be enthusiastic) and Napoleon Hill (You are what you want to be) and the mantra of “self-actualization”.  I was a ‘true’ believer that the sky was the limit and wealth and power were closely within my reach.  The gold ring was mine, and all I had to do was reach a little more and I would have the platinum ring.

One day, in early 1993, it ALL came tumbling down.  My mother had died December 1992, the business I started took a financial disaster, my health was deteriorating (I thought I was having a heart attack), debt was rampant, and I could see no encouraging future. Fortunately, as an engineer, I was always looking at issues numerically (No. 1 through 101).  So, I made a list of all that was going badly.  The list was long.  Then I forced myself to make a list of anything going well.  The list was short:  wife, kids, and family and they were fine.  Suddenly, I realized that it was primarily because of THE CHURCH,  the faith with which my wife Gerry was raised.

I realized I had better get my act together and be more focused on what Our Heavenly Father wants us to do.  So, I rushed into the office of St. Peter and Paul and asked to speak with Father Morris.  He came right away, and I blurted out “I need to get my act together and focus more on the Church!”  He was most understanding, gentle and patient.

Gerry, who had continuously demonstrated the love of Christ, and I received the Eucharist together for the first time on Monday, June 13, 1994.

Life is not without problems and issues but, through prayer and participation in my local parish, I have less needless anxiety.

My new avocation is to make apparent anti-Catholic behavior, and to witness that such behavior is not necessary, whether it comes from jokes, stories, TV, radio, magazines, books or even homilies.

Since June 13,1994, I have been enjoying the academic (and sometimes cerebral) pursuit of my ‘new found’ faith.  For example,  ten years ago, while reading about the lives of the Saints of the Church, I discovered that  June 12, 1994, the day I was received by Father Morris into the Church founded by Christ, the Responsorial Psalm was from Psalms 92:
“They will still bear fruit in old age.”  The next day when Gerry and I received the Eucharist together for the first time (6-13-1994) at the 7:00 am Mass,  that day was the Memorial Mass for Priest and Doctor of the Church,  St. Anthony of Padua.    St. Anthony of Padua is the patron saint for American Indians (my Eastern Band of Cherokee heritage), sailors (I love to sail), shipwrecks (I was one) AND (appropriately) asses.

The Responsorial Psalm for 6-13-1994 was from Psalm 5:  “The arrogant cannot stand before you.”

So now, through God’s grace,  I have the emotional ability and am continuing to develop the intellectual confidence to affirm:

“Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.  Amen.”

I have now ‘staked’ my soul upon this statement.