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.
FYI, if you didn't know, grace means something quite diferent to catholics. It's a measurable quantity that one keeps in sort of a "grace account". You can make deposits with good works, reciting scripted prayers over and over, or making gestures. Small sins eat away at the balance. A mortal sin wipes you out - bamkruptcy, AKA straight to hell. The "sacrament" of confession to a priest puts you back in the money.
If you have a balance in your account when you die, you pay of the rest by hard time in pugatory. I guess there is some amount that makes you fully funded, and if you are, you go straight to heaven.
I suppose "fully graced" to catholics means she got her grace account fully funded, and since catholics believed she never sinned, she never chipped away at the balance during her life. Thus, they reason, not only did she go straight to heaven, it only "makes sense" that she didn't even die but was beamed up.
Read the opening chapters of the gospel of John. Mary did not “produce” the second person of the Holy Trinity. He was with the Father always, since beofre time began, with no beginning.
Nope. He was wholly both. Mary was not.
It's known as sola Cauvin.
Your theology is as bad as your math.
Mary is not dead.
Going to lunch; back later
I don’t think I was implying that. I think I was stating that directly. Any theological system that suggests that we have contact with departed humans is in conflict with the Scriptures.
It's hard to blame someone with a redacted Bible for a misinterpretation like that.
“Or rather, Mary WAS, since she is dead now these several thousand years”
Wow, do you ever need a tune-up on basic theology.
1) mary is a saint, and therefore, according to her Son, alive in heaven.
2) Mary left this earth less than 2,000 years ago. Where are you getting this bizarre “several thousand years” idea?
3) Women give birth to persons, not “forms”.
So, you agree that Jesus was wholly Man and wholly God. Mary gave birth to Him, her creator, she didn’t give birth to only the “man aspect” of Jesus (as Jesus was and is wholly Man and wholly God). Hence the term Theotokos, Mother of God. That in no way signifies that Mary created Jesus or was the originator of Jesus, nor that she in any way is equal to The Godhead. It just states a fact that she was the vessel by which Christ came to the world.
Thanks for the explanation. I suppose we must simply ignore Mary’s remark in Luke 1:47 that her spirit rejoiced in God her “Savior”. Whereas a normal, mortal woman would need a Savior just like everyone else, Mary has been idolized so much by the Catholics that, rather than “favored”, she now conducts operations on the earth, works in men’s hearts, and performs spiritual duties like the Spirit of God. Sounds blasphemous.
Your understanding (or lack thereof) of Catholic theology is pitiful, i.e. deserving of pity and sympathy.
Get a Catechism, or this book, which I highly recommend:
and find out the truth for yourself.
I'm a convert, and before I was a Catholic I heard all sorts of crazy stuff that people swore was Gospel truth. Thankfully I had the sense to go and find out for myself, instead of just believing the pulpit-thumpings of somebody with an axe to grind.
I don't go around trashing Evangelicals' beliefs, especially if I don't know what I'm talking about. At least get your theology straight if you want to criticize it.
Just so that you know:
- That Christ preexisted Mary His Mother, as well as all Creation is Catholic teaching, alongside the fact the she is Mother of God. “Through him all things were made”.
- That Christ is also Mary’s Savior, to Whom she owes here blessed state is Catholic teaching.
I wish I could understand the perverse pleasure Catholic-bashers take in savagely attacking things about which they know so little. Like a schoolyard bully, deep down inside they must feel very small, and this behavior somehow ameliorates their feelings of inadequacy.
Certainly you do. I am not an “Evangelical” but the RC view publicly despises everything that Evangelicals say is the true Gospel. Ask yourself if you do not trash salvation by grace alone, through faith in Christ. Ask yourself if you do not trash the universal, invisible Church of Christ. Etc.
My theology is straight from the Book. The RCs have mixed the traditions of men (such as revering Mary and praying to her, like this guy did) and claiming all of this is somehow Christianity. Piffle (I love that word).
“Salvation by grace alone, through faith in Christ” is Catholic teaching, Eph 2:8.
The “universal, invisible Church of Christ” is extracriptural fantasy that the Evangelicals invented, deserves trashing.
The God of Israel is building His Church with the Chief Cornerstone, Jesus. Rome, as it reveres its own significance, is outside wailing and gnashing, strutting and pounding chests. The believers in Christ shun such Pharisaism.
Luke 20:46, “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes and love respectful greetings in the market places and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets. who devour widows houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
Are you saying that the Gospel of Matthew is not part of Scripture?
Matthew 27:51-53 -- At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
I think many of them are spiritual children and react they way children react when challenged - nuh - uh!
I think this is also why it's so difficult for them to have a conversation with someone with whom they disagree. Many just don't have the tools that come with spiritual maturity.
I think it's less a source of pleasure for them as it is a childish need to attack in order to maintain their arrested development.
There is no need to trash sola fide. It is a false tradition of men whether it is criticized or not.
It is not made false by criticism, it is in itself inherently false.
The force of that statement is that Catholics are not believers in Christ, for Catholics do not shun His Church (which you label 'Pharisaism').
Are Catholics "believers in Christ"...I mean, in your view?
An excellent and valuable warning.
It has nothing to do with the Catholic Church, but it is a fine warning nonetheless.
“My theology is straight from the Book. The RCs have mixed the traditions of men (such as revering Mary and praying to her, like this guy did) and claiming all of this is somehow Christianity. Piffle (I love that word).”
“Mary has been idolized so much by the Catholics that, rather than favored, she now conducts operations on the earth, works in mens hearts, and performs spiritual duties like the Spirit of God. Sounds blasphemous.”
Holy Mary has not just been honored by Catholics - you should read your early reformers had to say about her.
So, we have mixed up traditions? I suggest you read your early church leaders...Luther, Zwingli, Wesley, nor Bullinger et al, changed the “traditions” of the Blessed Mother of God. So who did?
Martin Luther, the founder of the reform said this:
“St. Paul says ‘God sent his Son born of a woman, These words which I hold for true, really sustain quite firmly that Mary is the Mother of God.” (Martin Luther, Martin Luther’s Works, vol 7, pg 592)
This doesn’t mean that Mary’s title “Mother of God” infers that she existed before God. Jesus is present from the beginning of time. “In the Beginning was the Word” (Jn 1.1). In the Old Testament, Jesus was the “rock in the dessert” (Exo 17:6, 1 Cor 10:4).
Sola scriptura is a snake eating its own tail.
Looks like somebody needs to spend more time reading the Scripture, and less time reading the catechism.