Skip to comments.Converts' search brings them to Catholicism (as exemplified by their own bishop)
Posted on 04/12/2009 2:21:08 PM PDT by NYer
As a little boy, Bishop George V. Murry was raised as an African Methodist Episcopal, but was so impressed by his experience at his Catholic school that he convinced his parents to allow him to convert. Eventually, they too, became Catholic.
In the Diocese of Youngstown, 406 converts have joined the Church just in time for Easter. On Saturday, 169 people received the Sacrament of Baptism, and 237 who were baptized in another denomination received the sacraments of confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.
Adults who want to become Catholic must enter a months-long education process known as RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. They undertake classes in which they learn about Catholic beliefs and liturgy. Each person has a “sponsor” or mentor.
For Ruth DeFranco of Alliance, a divorce, the death of her only child and her father’s illness took a spiritual toll.
“I questioned my faith, with God,” said the former Methodist and Lutheran. “I was lost and had questions and felt alone. I had friends that were Catholic and attended church with them. I wanted to learn more about the Catholic faith.”
Upon becoming godmother to a Catholic friend’s grandchild, DeFranco enrolled in RCIA classes at St. Peter Church in Canton under the tutelage of Rita Kingsbury.
“It’s a great process,” Kingsbury said. “Everybody learns from one another. Most people have a rich life in God that they bring with them. Everybody becomes richer.”
One of DeFranco’s sponsors is the Rev. David Delargy of Ireland, a member of the recording group, The Priests.
For Emily Studeny, becoming a Catholic just made sense for her family. Her husband, Mike, is a lifelong Catholic, and last summer the couple baptized their baby daughter into the Church. A former United Methodist, Studeny has been attending St. Peter since 2003.
“At Christmas time, I decided it was definitely something I wanted to do,” she said. “One reason it took so long is, my family is very involved in the United Methodist Church.”
Once her mother and family gave their blessing, Studeny went ahead, saying, “It’s something you need to pray about. It’s something you have to do wholeheartedly.”
On Saturday, the Rev. John Zuzik of Little Flower Catholic Church in Plain Township led 12 converts to the faith. Zuzik said whenever he’s approached by someone about converting, he tries to discern their motive.
“I ask them if they’ve prayed about it, and why do they feel called to become Catholic?” he said. “There’s usually a couple of reasons. One is marriage to a Catholic. A lot of people like to start off their married life with the same religion as their spouse, though it’s not required in the Catholic Church.
“We have non-Catholics who’ve come (to Mass) every week for years, then one day, they come to me and say, ‘I’ve prayed about it; it’s time.’ Other times, it’s because of a traumatic experience in their life. As they say, there are no atheists in foxholes.”
At 15, Leah Wilson is one of this year’s youngest converts. The bright and personable McKinley High School freshman said she grew up attending a United Methodist church but was never baptized.
“I learned about Catholicism in the fifth grade, through some of my friends who were Catholic,” she said. “Last summer, I decided I wanted to become Catholic. I’m very excited, and my family is happy for me.”
Wilson advises the curious to do some homework.
“It’s forever,” she said. “It’s not to be taken lightly.”
With a Catholic father and an Amish-turned-Methodist mother, Leslie Foster said she felt destined to be Catholic.
“I always felt more comfortable with Catholicism than Methodism,” she said. “I feel like I’ve always known I was going to make my Confirmation.”
“I was thrilled, very excited,” said Foster’s fiancé, Joe Cole, a “cradle” Catholic. “My mom was a Protestant who always wanted to convert, but with raising kids, there just wasn’t time.”
Cole became a sponsor for his mother, and now, Foster.
“I’ve learned more about my own faith as a result,” he said.
“It sounds kind of corny, but it felt very spiritual, falling in love,” Foster added. “It just seemed a natural fit.
“I found a peace within myself and the answer I’d been searching for,” DeFranco said. “... I believe that the Catholic faith is the biblical form of Christianity and most united with Christ. They are a community that remembers Jesus.”
"Christ My Light" is the Episcopal motto of the Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J.
Upon his appointment, Bishop Murry stated: "I am honored to accept the Holy Father's appointment to serve as Bishop of Youngstown and I look forward to meeting and working with the priests, deacons, religious and laity of the diocese." Later during Mass in the Cathedral, he preached about remaining in God's love by holding on to Jesus and walking with him.
Bishop Murry was born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1948. After graduating from Catholic elementary and high schools, he attended St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland where he received a bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1972. That same year he entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus on June 9, 1979. He earned a Masters of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1979 and a doctorate in American Cultural History from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1994.
Bishop Murry served on the faculty and was dean of student activities at Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C., from 1974-1976. He was assistant professor of American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from 1986-1990, and president of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., from 1989-1994. He was named Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1994.
On January 24, 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Fuerteventura and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago where he was ordained to the episcopacy on March 20, 1995. On May 5, 1998, Pope John Paul II appointed him Coadjutor Bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Bishop Murry succeeded to the see on June 30, 1999.
Bishop Murry has served on numerous boards including the University of Detroit and Loyola Academy, both in Detroit, Michigan, St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland and Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and serves on the Domestic Policy and Education Committees. Since 2002, he has also served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services, the overseas arm of the U.S. Bishops, which provides food, clothing, shelter and medicine for those in need.
Bishop Murry was installed as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown on March 28, 2007. He succeeds Bishop Thomas J. Tobin who was installed as Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island on May 31, 2005
Not corny at all. It's a spirtual love affair that deepens and grows in intensity over the passing of time. It's a well which one can skim or into which one can lower the bucket for deeper spirituality. As one convert noted: "It's forever"!
My response is about your tag line.
It reminds me of the Sisters teaching us grade school kids to avoid the near occasions of sin.
That was great advice that helped me so far in my life. Not too many regrets.
God Bless them all!!
uh...make that HOLY WATER! geesg....I’m a hunt and pecker...sorry.
**In the Diocese of Youngstown, 406 converts have joined the Church just in time for Easter. On Saturday, 169 people received the Sacrament of Baptism, and 237 who were baptized in another denomination received the sacraments of confirmation and the Holy Eucharist. **
Wow! Those are Huge numbers!
**At 15, Leah Wilson is one of this years youngest converts. The bright and personable McKinley High School freshman said she grew up attending a United Methodist church but was never baptized.
I learned about Catholicism in the fifth grade, through some of my friends who were Catholic, she said. Last summer, I decided I wanted to become Catholic. Im very excited, and my family is happy for me.
Wilson advises the curious to do some homework.
Its forever, she said. Its not to be taken lightly.**
If this 15 year old gets it, why don’t other Protestants get it? Perhaps, because they don’t want to — and keep denying the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church???
Without a doubt a full search for the Truth of Jesus Christ will end up a journey to His Catholic Church. Alleluia!
“To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” - John Cardinal Newman
Hey, i’m saving that one!
Exactly what happened with Newt Gingrich. Everyone knows that he is a history buff. Look how it took him to Catholicism.
Every Protestant convert to the RCC is a miracle.
**Every Protestant convert to the RCC is a miracle.**
Called forth to the truth by the Holy Spirit.