Protestant on the way to Rome

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patricia

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I find myself in an awkward position right now because I’m in between Protestantism and Catholicism. I have come to the point where Protestantism has crumbled before my very eyes and I have almost fully accepted Catholicism.

I am also at a point where I am losing friends. I am a member at a Fundamentalist chat room and have many dear friends there but I can’t talk about the Catholic faith or I will be permanently kicked out. I am running out of things to talk about with them and I find myself feeling very lonely because I am not yet ‘in’ at the Catholic parish where I’ve been going to Mass. The parishioners seem to dart out the door so fast after the Mass that I can’t meet anyone. This is something I am not accustom to, coming from a Protestant background.

I hope to start RCIA very soon and so perhaps I will make some friends through this program. My family is not supportive at all except for my husband who respects my wishes. I haven’t been able to tell the rest of my family as I truly believe they will never speak to me again.

Anyone got any suggestions on how to handle the loneliness at this transitional time in my journey?
 
I’m a lapsed Catholic who has gone back to Church after many many years and of course this makes me "new’ to the parish I attend. I don’t know anyone there.

To tell you the truth, I am one of those people who is probably seen as darting out the door.
I’ll tell u why.
When I attend Mass it is a very very emotional experience for me. This is the time that I feel most close to God, even closer than when I am alone in my room praying.
The Mass does something to me that I can’t explain. Why then after the Mass would I want or need human contact?

I don’t know if anyone else out there feels the same way but this is my excuse!
This doesn’t give you a solution to your problem though but I’m sure you’ll get lots of those coming up…
Con
 
Hi Patricia,

I’m in almost exactly the same boat as you–just to let you know that you’re not alone on this message board…

The best way I’ve found to help the loneliness that I have experienced is to interact with people on this message board and others (Steve Ray’s board in particular at www.catholic-convert.com) who share my experiences. I suspect that when I decide to begin RCIA, then that will be another way to find a sense of community in the Catholic church that I currently have in my Protestant (Baptist) church.

-Chad
 
Don’t fret, Patricia. God has called you and you are responding. This is exciting in itself. Lean into it, if you will.

Begrudgingly, I attended RCIA a few years ago by my wife’s nudging. As a true Protestant I couldn’t imagine why this would interest me. Amazingly, I couldn’t get enough information concerning the Church, The Virgin Mary, The Saints, everything. Now, I’m a “full-fledged member” after receiving my sacraments and have a soft-spot in my heart for RCIA.

Don’t way till September or whenever your parish starts a new class. Call the cathechists who run RCIA straight-away and let them know you are hungry for the faith and I trust they will take you under their collective wings and talk with you or provide you with whatever else you need.

You just never know where the Lord will lead you - I’m now a lector in my parish and teach a few classes for RCIA. Who woulda thunk it?

Make the call today!

God-bless.

gs
 
Hi Patricia,
Welcome and thank you for being so candid. I am a cradle Catholic and we have been taught from an early age that there is to be no talking/socializing in Church; ‘you are in a sacred place, the house of God’. That being said, there is usually some socializing and talking in the vestibule and outside the church (weather permitting) at my parish.
To help in your transition, although not much help with socializing, I highly recommend the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) which I understand has been recently ‘allowed’ in Canada. They have an excellent array of programming to help all of us (though 67 years old, I am still learning my Catholic faith) improve our knowledge. One program in particular comes to mind; live at 8PM EDT “The Journey Home” hosted by Marcus Grodi, and he conducts interviews with mostly Clergy from other Faiths (he himself being a convert) who have converted to Catholicism. Anyone can email or phone in questions for either the guest or host. EWTN also has a website EWTN.com.
God bless and guide you on your journey.
 
First and foremost, may God bless you on your journey. Many here will understand your difficulties as they have been on such a path themselves.
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patricia:
I am not yet ‘in’ at the Catholic parish where I’ve been going to Mass. The parishioners seem to dart out the door so fast after the Mass that I can’t meet anyone.
You might consider another parish. The one I attend has a rich and varied program of activities after Sunday Masses. But I fully appreciate the phenomena you describe.
My family is not supportive at all except for my husband who respects my wishes. I haven’t been able to tell the rest of my family as I truly believe they will never speak to me again. Anyone got any suggestions on how to handle the loneliness at this transitional time in my journey?
Your story puts me in mind of Patty Bonds. Her’s is very similar and perhaps even tougher in some respects because her brother is James White, a well-known anti-Catholic polemicist. You can read her story here:
chnetwork.org/pattybondsconv.htm

Which brings up my last point, her story is hosted on The Coming Home Network
chnetwork.org
CHN provides fellowship, encouragement and support for Protestant pastors and laymen who are somewhere along the journey or have already been received into the Catholic Church. Marcus Grodi is a gentle giant, a former Protestant minister himself. Highly Recommended.

Peace of Christ,
 
🙂 Welcome Home! In spite of what might or might not be happening at the exit to your church, remember the words of Tertullian many years ago when he said of the Catholic Christians, “See how they love one another,” It is absolutely a phenomena wherever you go that folks want to get their butts back in their cars right after communion and before the final blessing. You will, however, find at least a few that in fact linger for a while after mass and it is to these that you must go. You will find the welcoming embrace of those in love with Christ and filled with an excitement that needs celebrating. In your journey, though, take care that whatever church you attend is Eucharistically oriented. You will find a number of folks out there that emphasize the “people” as the mystical body of Christ while at the same time minimizing both the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist and diminishing His role as the head of His church. Should this happen where you attend, run as fast as you can in any other direction! Find a faith filled, orthodox priest not afraid to preach the good news of the gospels while at the same time courageous enough to set expectations for the sheep and to speak out against the evils that plague both the U.S. and Canada for which any type of restraint is viewed as the evil due to the political correctness that has crippled the resolve of good men everywhere. Read orthodox writers especially G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis to name a few. Fill your heart and mind with the truth and find the freedom in an orthodox celebration of the Catholic faith. May God truly bless you and guide you in your journey home!
 
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CarolinaBlue:
Hi Patricia,

I’m in almost exactly the same boat as you–just to let you know that you’re not alone on this message board…

The best way I’ve found to help the loneliness that I have experienced is to interact with people on this message board and others (Steve Ray’s board in particular at www.catholic-convert.com) who share my experiences. I suspect that when I decide to begin RCIA, then that will be another way to find a sense of community in the Catholic church that I currently have in my Protestant (Baptist) church.

-Chad
A rosary will be send out for you 🙂
 
I think one reason Catholic may have a reputation for not being friendly is this cultural difference between the Catholic Mass and Protestant services. Many Protestant services are all about fellowship. The Catholic Mass is not. We don’t come to Mass to fellowship – we come to worship the One True God, sacramentally present in the Eucharist, and to participate in the Sacrifice of Calvary. We do this as a community of believers, yes. But that community is not the focus.

Out of resepect for the Mass, most Catholics are taught to site quietly and pray before Mass, and to quietly leave afterwards (or stay and pray). Not that Catholics don’t fellowship. We do! It’s just something seperate from the Mass. Check your parishes’ schedule and see what other types of activities happen. You may find any number of clubs, organizations, and classes you can participate in to get to know the parish family better.

As fas as your family and friends not accepting your Catholicism. Well, we have been warned. Christ Himself said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’ Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross 15 and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew chapter 10).

In other words, no it won’t be easy, but we shouldn’t expect it to be. Pray – for yourself and your family & friends, that they may understand you, and perhaps come to the light of the Catholic truth themselves. And have perseverance. I think that once you find a home in the Catholic Church and start to make connections with other Catholics, the aggression you feel from others will be easier to handle.

You’ve found this board at Catholic Answers. That’s a good start!
Pax,
Matt
 
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patricia:
The parishioners seem to dart out the door so fast after the Mass that I can’t meet anyone. This is something I am not accustom to, coming from a Protestant background.

I hope to start RCIA very soon and so perhaps I will make some friends through this program. My family is not supportive at all except for my husband who respects my wishes. I haven’t been able to tell the rest of my family as I truly believe they will never speak to me again.
Patricia I’ve just finished the journey you are beginning, and it is such a lonely one at the beginning, and such a joyful one at the end, that you will need to remind yourself of the beginning to see how truly God’s immense grace worked in your life!! If I may make a suggestion, stay and pray for a while in church after Mass… this way you don’t have the awkwardness of feeling “left out of the crowd” and you will meet some of the more welcoming parishioners perhaps after the crowd has gone about their business. It has the additional benefit of giving you some quality time in the Lord’s presence 😃 to really come to terms spiritually with His call. It was very hard at the beginning, because you are never quite sure you’re welcome (you are!!! 👍 ) but you don’t always feel that way, I know. Talk to the priest about the RCIA program now, don’t wait for the fall. Hopefully they won’t leave you out on the fringes, unsure of what to do, simply because of scheduling. I know how hard the period of waiting to “begin the journey” is, but the reality is that you already have, and you are already where you belong. As far as talking to your family about it, I do think it’s better to wait until you feel the Holy Spirit guiding you to do so. You’ll know when you are strong enough to endure, and strong enough in your conviction to tell them with faith and joy that this is your decision. Once you are truly happy and convicted, your joy will show and their love for you will overcome their predjudice. My family didn’t understand my decision, but they understood my joy. In the end that was enough for them. And know that we all will be praying for you here.
 
Patricia ~

God bless you kiddo! I know exactly where you are because I was there too. I was an evangelical, not a catholic anywhere in my family or friends, or husband - and I converted on my own.

My advice is - Listen to what Turris Fortis said - very wise…

Also - try to go to daily mass sometimes. The mass is not like protestant services.
You may find that you have to appreciate your social experiences more outside of the church setting. But you always bring God with you.
I will send you a private message too.

Peace. :gopray:
 
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patricia:
I find myself in an awkward position right now because I’m in between Protestantism and Catholicism. I have come to the point where Protestantism has crumbled before my very eyes and I have almost fully accepted Catholicism.

I am also at a point where I am losing friends. I am a member at a Fundamentalist chat room and have many dear friends there but I can’t talk about the Catholic faith or I will be permanently kicked out. I am running out of things to talk about with them and I find myself feeling very lonely because I am not yet ‘in’ at the Catholic parish where I’ve been going to Mass. The parishioners seem to dart out the door so fast after the Mass that I can’t meet anyone. This is something I am not accustom to, coming from a Protestant background.

I hope to start RCIA very soon and so perhaps I will make some friends through this program. My family is not supportive at all except for my husband who respects my wishes. I haven’t been able to tell the rest of my family as I truly believe they will never speak to me again.

Anyone got any suggestions on how to handle the loneliness at this transitional time in my journey?
Yes, it can be a trying time when one decides to come into the Catholic Church. Especially since American Catholics can be other than “glad-handers” and “back-slappers” welcoming you into the Church with fervent emotion. But presevere! It might take awhile to get accustomed to the Catholic way of doing things. Best thing is to attend RCIA, where you will be welcomed by
fellow travelers on their way to Rome.

I would also suggest that you begin reading some helpful literature to become acquainted with the rich heritage that is the Catholic faith. Might I suggest some books to you?

Catholicism vs. Fundamentalism–by Karl Keating
Born Fundamentalist, Born-again Catholic–by David B. Currie
Rome Sweet Home–by Scott & Kimberly Hahn
Evangelical is Not Enough–by Thomas Howard
Where We Got The Bible–by Henry G. Graham
Crossing the Tiber–by Stephen K. Ray
Why Do Catholics Do That?–by Kevin O. Johnson
The Faith of Our Fathers–by James Cardinal Gibbons
The Belief of Catholics–by Ronald Knox

Of course, there are many other books, tapes and videos you might wish to employ also. Your RCIA team will help you in that regard. Don’t give up! Remember, if it was all easy, Jesus
would not have said, “Take up your cross, and follow Me!” Read the 10th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. This will give you great comfort. It has for me!

😃 --Thornbristle
 
Patricia,

With regard to your ‘chat room’ friends, I would suggest talking to them, but avoid using the C word (Catholic). Instead you might try talking to them about some of the things you are discovering were always believed by the early church, (Real Presence, Communion of Saints) as evidenced by the writings of the Early Church Fathers, which many denominations revere, but few seem to read, and also talk to them about the things that are absent from these writings (the Rapture, the Invisible church) etc. Let them draw their own conclusions about which currently existing church might be in some way related to this Early Church you are discovering.

Regards,
Dave
 
I’ll Pray for YOU! I recommend asking your parish if they have Bible Studies or groups that you can associate with. If you are not happy, switch parishes. I am in a parish that has wonderful people and wonderful programs. However, most parishes in our diocese are pretty pitiful.

After years of going to daily Mass, I find that my social circle has expanded greatly with very little effort on my part.

Deo Gratias!

👍
😃
:tiphat:
 
Patricia,

Just a few suggestions that came to mind: lots of prayer, a hobby, and daily mass. All of these can help minimize feelings of loneliness. Daily mass has the added advantage of meeting some Catholic who don’t necessarily run out of the chapel right after the dismissal.

Peace and grace,
Josh
 
Like many others, I have also recently made the journey, and was confirmed in 2003. As is evident from the number of replies that you’ve received, there are a lot of people that have been in your same position and are willing to talk with you about whatever you need. When I was going through my conversion process, a priest suggested to me that I get involved in the community by volunteering in one of the social outreach programs. I got involved with the food pantry and had the chance to get to know some of the members of the parish that way. It also helped me to feel connected to the church despite not being officially a member yet. If your parish has any groups like that, I suggest giving it a try! I also echo the suggestions about going to daily mass. I like to go to the really early morning ones. It feels different to get up really early in the morning when it is crisp outside and everything is still, and worship God in that morning silence. There’s a different feel to it than the hustle of the Sunday masses.

Corinne
 
Hi Patricia,

You stick at it mate, and not let anyone discourage you.

God has called you back home.

Does your priest stand outside the church each Sunday and shake hands with the congregation as they go home?

If so, go up to him and tell him you are new, and you would like to be introduced to any “regulars”.

Or find out what groups are within the Parish to join, my parish has men’s clubs women’s clubs, prayer groups, even a theatre group that I am proudly a member of.

These groups are all great for socialising with people from my parish.

Its great your husband is respecting your wishes.

As for your family, well, we can only pray that they will help see the Light. Do not let them discourage you or turn you away.

Love Kellie
 
I just want you to know that I have been there and done that. I just reconciled to the church this past Easter and while I made friends in the RICA class I have yet to start attending any of the Parish functions. I want to but its hard when you know so few people and its a big parish.

I’m the only one in my family as well, although my husband and kids support me in spiritual journey.

dream wanderer
 
Patricia
If you are able to attend daily Mass you may find some ladies staying afterwards to pray the Rosary. Don’t be shy about sitting near them and joining in. Our Mother is very good at bringing people together. God Bless You.
 
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