Skip to comments.Catholic convert from Oregon coast becomes a priest (former Evangelical)
Posted on 06/17/2009 9:48:34 AM PDT by NYer
.- He grew up an evangelical Protestant in Oregon, suspicious of Marian theology. Now hes a Catholic priest and a physicist. Dominican Father Raphael Mary Salzillo was ordained last month in San Francisco and will take up an assignment at the University of Washington Newman Center and Blessed Sacrament Parish in Seattle.
Born Wesley Salzillo in 1976, he grew up in Florence, a small coastal town. The family converted to Catholicism in the early 1990s.
"My family raised me with a strong Christian faith and a very clear sense that Christ should be the most important thing in my life," Father Raphael Mary recalls, explaining that his faith after conversion remained "generic."
"I was not fully open to the truth that the Catholic faith has to offer," he says.
But when he was 16, a spiritual experience at Mass gave him the strong feeling he was being called to priesthood or religious life. He was not open to it at the time, so tried to convince himself it was just his imagination.
A top graduate from Siuslaw High, he went on to Caltech, earning a bachelors degree in applied physics. He attended graduate school and there he felt his vocation being clarified. At the same time, this scientist wrestled with turning over his will so completely.
"I wanted to choose my own religion rather than accepting the Catholic one as a coherent whole," he says, aware that many people today pick and choose within a body of faith. "In a way, choice had become a God for me, as it has to so many in our society."
Through study of church history and theology and deepening prayer life, he discerned that his own intellect and judgment alone could not fulfill his deepest yearnings. He decided to trust Jesus and the Church fully.
"It was through submission of my power of choice in matters of faith, that I came to know Jesus Christ in a much deeper way," he says.
The last part of his faith to fall into place was an acceptance of Mary. That spiritual movement allowed him to love Jesus more, he explains.
"It was Mary who brought me to finally accept my vocation, and it has been her who has sustained me in this life," he says.
He chose the Dominicans for their emphasis on doctrinal preaching and study, as well as their strong community life with "a streak of monasticism."
He studied philosophy and theology in Berkeley, Calif. and also served at the University of Arizona Newman Center.
Seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.
“It was Mary who brought me to finally accept my vocation, and it has been her who has sustained me in this life,” he says.
No doubt. It certainly was not the God of Israel.
It's funny, the guy preaching the revival services at my church this week was studying to become a priest, and then got saved and converted to Jesus Christ, and has now been a fundamentalist Baptist preacher for 30+ years.
Mary is the mother of God. She leads all men to her Son.
What exactly are you implying? Catholicism is not of God?
Wow this is great news as he is from our area, just south of.
Here is Fr. Salzillo in his own words.
Nothing like a nice, gentle conversion story to expose anti-Catholic ignorance and hatred.
With a good Italian name like Salzillo he had no business NOT being a Catholic.
So you think that the woman who said "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to thy word" and "all generations to come shall call me blessed" is today busy doing things contrary to the will of God?
Interesting theology you have. Interesting, but not Scriptural.
Thanks for posting the link!
The final part of my faith that I finally accepted (though not without a fight) was Mary, the Mother of God. Having been raised Protestant, and mildly anti-Catholic, it was a hurdle just for me to accept the Church's teaching on Mary's maternal intercession. Taking it to heart and making Mary a part of my life was something else altogether! And yet, eventually I did, and that (more than any thing else in my life, save the Holy Eucharist) taught me to love Jesus.
One of the best examples of this truth is the conversion story of Roy Schoeman, a Jew. His initial struggle was to accept christianity.
I found myself in the immediate presence of God. It is as though I "fell into Heaven." Everything changed from one moment to the next, but in such a smooth and subtle way that I was not aware of any discontinuity. I felt myself in the immediate presence of God. I was aware of His infinite exaltedness, and of His infinite and personal love for me. I saw my life as though I was looking back on it after death, in His presence, and could see everything which I would be happy about and everything which I would wish I had done differently. I saw that every action I had ever done mattered, for good or for evil. I saw that everything which had ever happened in my life had been perfectly designed for my own good from the infinitely wise and loving hand of God, not only including but especially those things which I at the time I thought had been the greatest catastrophes. I saw that my two greatest regrets when I died would be every moment which I had wasted not doing anything of value in the eyes of God, and all of the time and energy which I had wasted worrying about not being loved when every moment of my existence I was bathed in an infinite sea of love, although unaware of it. I saw that the meaning and purpose of my life was to worship and serve my Lord and Master, in whose presence I found myself. I wanted to know His name, so that I could worship Him properly, so that I could follow "His" religion. I remember silently praying "Tell me your name. I don't mind if You're Apollo, and I have to become a Roman pagan. I don't mind if You're Krishna, and I have to become a Hindu. I don't mind if You're Buddha, and I have to become a Buddhist. As long as You're not Christ, and I have to become a Christian!"
And for one year he prayed each night, asking God to tell him His name. Then ....
A year to the day after the initial experience, I went to sleep after saying that prayer, and felt as though I was woken by a gentle hand on my shoulder, and escorted to a room where I was left alone with the most beautiful young woman I could imagine. I knew without being told that she was the Blessed Virgin Mary. I felt entirely awake (and my memory is as though I had been awake), although I was dreaming. I remember my first reaction, standing there awed by her presence and grandeur, was wishing I knew at least the Hail Mary so that I could honor her! She offered to answer any questions I had. I remember thinking about what to ask, asking the questions, and her answers. After speaking to me a while longer, the audience was ended. When I woke the next morning I was hopelessly in love with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I knew that the God I had met on the beach was Christ, and, and that all I wanted was to be as much of, and as good a, Christian as possible. I still did not know anything about Christianity, nor the difference between the Catholic Church and any of the hundreds of Protestant denominations. It took me another two years or so to find my way to the Catholic Church, guided by my love and reverence for the Blessed Virgin Mary.
How ironic that in his case, it was Mary who helped him break through his prejudices about christianity and, as she always does, led him to her Son, Jesus. The expression in Latin is Ad Jesum per Mariam - To Jesus through Mary.
My God existed always. Mary is the very human mother of Jesus' human form.
Or rather, Mary WAS, since she is dead now these several thousand years
If he thinks he’s already saved he’s wrong just as Scripture teaches.
What have you got against a lady who is overshadowed by the Most High, whom a mighty angel addresses as “completely graced,” and who says to us “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” ??
Not as a human being He didn't. Mary, whom Scripture intructs you to call blessed, is the mother of the Word made flesh.
Christ is truly God and truly man, and Mary is the mother of Christ in ALL his being, both God and man. That is why in the early Church she is called qeotokos - God-bearer.