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Why I Converted to Catholicism…But That Doesn’t Mean That You Should-Part One

Whoever says religion is dying hasn’t been to East Texas lately. Here, amidst the pine trees and oilfields, religion is flourishing. I pass nine churches on my fifteen minute drive to work, and that’s not counting the steeples rising in the distance. Policemen direct traffic in front of the largest church on Sunday mornings. Several churches use shuttle buses to convey members back and forth from sprawling parking lots. Vacation Bible School is still the highlight of summer for countless children, and my first week of work I was invited to join the building Bible study group that meets during lunch on Fridays.

The majority of these churches have something in common-Protestantism. Eight of the nine churches I pass are Protestant. More specifically, the majority of the churches in East Texas are Baptist. The church with the traffic controllers? Baptist. The churches with the shuttle buses? Baptist. The Bible study group? If you said Baptist, let’s hear an amen to that. So how does a girl raised as a Baptist in the buckle of the Bible belt end up risking eternal damnation as a twenty-six year old Catholic convert?

The simple answer is that I married a cradle Catholic. When I first mentioned that I was dating a Catholic, quite a few people suggested that I should convert him because “Catholics aren’t Christians.” It was the first of many misconceptions about the Catholic faith that I’d discover in the next few years. In the end, no one converted anyone. I didn’t convert him, and he certainly didn’t convert me. I chose, without any external pressure, to embrace the faith that was so different from what I knew but was exactly what I needed.

Sunday School-Circa 1990
Sunday School-Circa 1990

I grew up faithfully attending a small Baptist church with my grandmother every week. Some of the most important people in my childhood were my devoted Sunday School teachers. The sight of Little Debbie snack cakes in the grocery store can still take me back to the holiday parties they threw for us, and at my recent wedding I wished more than once that Mrs. Nancy was still with us to say “I told you so,” the vow she made to an eight year old me who swore I would always despise boys. Our little church couldn’t maintain a strong youth program, however, and by the time I was a teenager I had stopped attending. I tried out several larger churches over the next decade, but the Protestant church experience was changing in a way that I was not.

7 thoughts on “Why I Converted to Catholicism…But That Doesn’t Mean That You Should-Part One

  1. You are a beautiful person inside and out. Your faith will always see you through life ups and downs. Many people have come and gone in my life and many have judged me too. My Catholic faith has seen me through these tough patches and I am a stronger person and Christian because of it too. Embrace your new faith His love is everlasting.

    1. Thank you so much! As part of our marriage prep we were often asked to think of marriages we admired, and Zack always brought up yours as a wonderful example of a faith-based marriage. I just hope one day that we will be able to inspire others as you have inspired him.

  2. Absolutely beautiful writing. Your story is so close to how I felt when I converted. I look forward to reading your next post.

  3. God does the conversion of people; God brought you to a conversion. Many people will continue to tell you what bad Catholics are. They will tell you stuff that isn’t even close to be true; they pretty much just make stuff up. My advice is to keep reading about the Catholic Church. Don’t just take people’s words on it. I still do there is always something new I didn’t know about the Catholic Church. I pray for you and Zach all the time; every since I was told to do so by Bishop Corrada the old bishop of Tyler, TX at Zach’s confirmation.

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