Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/7/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation.

'To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood'

St. Peters in Rome

St. Peters in Rome

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/7/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: converts, reverts, Catholics Come Home, Evangelization, RCIA, catechesis, evangelization, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - I am a "revert" to the Catholic Church. Though I was baptized into the Church as an infant and received the other Sacraments of initiation, I wandered from the faith as a teenage "hippie" in search of truth. Fortunately, like Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz" I discovered there really is "no place like home" and came back into full participation in the Catholic Church. That is what is meant by the term "revert", someone who returned home to the Church.

We hear the term "cradle Catholic" used to refer to Catholics who were raised in a Catholic family. However, though one may be born into a Catholic family, it is not the cradle which makes one Catholic but the Sacrament of Baptism. For most of us, that happened for us when we were infants. The Sacrament presumes an ongoing cooperation with grace which will lead to continuing conversion. 

I became what I call a "Catholic by Choice" at the age of 18 when I questioned my way through the early fathers and back into the heart of the Catholic Church. Since then, I have sought to live my life within the Church. I experience the grace I need for ongoing conversion through the Sacraments. I seek to renew and reform my mind through her continual instruction as it comes to us through the Bible, the Book of the Church, and the teaching office called the Magisterium.

The Gospel of St John records this beautiful promise given to the disciples by the Lord before he ascended: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.

"I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you." (John 14: 15-20)

Over the years I have become profoundly grateful that one of the ways in which the Lord fulfilled that promise is the gift of the teaching office of the Catholic Church. In an age of compromise and confusion in so many Christian circles, the Catholic Church speaks clearly and courageously in defense of the truth. We are fortunate to be instructed by her as a mother and teacher.

The Church is not "Some - thing" but  "Some - One", the Risen Body of the Lord Jesus Christ continuing His redemptive mission in the world until He returns. Let me share a few salient quotes from Patristic sources which underscore this vision of the nature of the Church:

"Let us love the Lord our God; let us love His Church. Let us love Him as our Father and her as our mother" (St. Augustine) "No one can have God as his Father who does not have the Church as his Mother" (St. Cyprian) "For where the Church is, there the Spirit of God is also; and where the Spirit of God is, there the Church is, and all grace. And the Spirit is truth." (St. Irenaeus of Lyons)

Do you experience the Church as a "mother"? Do you believe that you live in the Church and are sent on mission into the world? Catholic theology teaches what the early fathers, Saints and Councils throughout the ages all affirmed; to belong to Jesus is to belong to His Body. Our membership in the Church is a participation in the life of God; what the Apostle Peter referred to as a "participation in the Divine nature". (2 Peter 1:4)

The Church is also not some "thing" which we try to "change" in the sense of remaking it into our image. The Church is a relational reality, a communion within which God's Image and Likeness is formed in us and revealed to a world waiting to be born. The Church is a communion with the Trinity - and with one another - in Him who is its Head. Living in that communion we are called and capacitated to love the world as He does. He continues to love the world through us.

Through our Baptism the Church became the privileged place in which we live our lives in Christ. To perceive, receive and live this reality requires ongoing conversion and continual instruction in the Christian way of life. In its treatment of this "mystery" called the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

"To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled."

"She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood." (CCC#845).

I teach and help lead the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process in the parish to which I am assigned as a Deacon. Over the years I have worked in this area it has become all too clear that many Catholics know little about their faith. When they are introduced to its fullness and beauty, the grace of their baptism comes alive and they fall in love with the Church, renewed in their faith. 

I have also found many "former" Catholics or "non-practicing" Catholics are just waiting to be invited to come home. One of the great defenders of the Catholic Church, a man whose cause for canonization has now been advanced, Bishop Fulton Sheen, once said in a radio reply, "There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church." Sadly, the truth of the adage is verified in my work as I find Catholics who have not been evangelized or properly catechized.

There is a growing movement underway of Catholics returning home to the Church. The greatest effort promoting this homecoming is called "Catholics Come Home", led by Tom Peterson. I met Tom Peterson several years ago at a Catholic Leadership Conference. I remember the year because I had pneumonia and almost did not even attend. However, after persevering through the long trip because the conference is always a highlight of my year, I knew I simply HAD to meet this man.

I had seen my first "Catholics Come Home" commercial months earlier and became convinced that the work of this non-profit media apostolate was going to become one of the most important resources for the New Evangelization in my lifetime. "Finally," I thought to myself, "someone is using the new integrated media with excellence to tell the real story of the greatest treasure in the whole world, the fullness of the Christian faith as found within the Catholic Church."

On the first day of the conference I found Tom in the crowd. I walked up to him, introduced myself, and told him that I believed the work the Lord had given to him was one of the greatest resources we had in this new missionary age. Those who know me know that when I believe something is anointed by the Spirit and effective, I am blunt and right to the point. However, in retrospect, I was visibly very sick and anything but laid back in that encounter. I probably would have scared myself if I were Tom Peterson.

Fortunately, he was not put off by my manner or my coughing. He was encouraged. We conversed for quite some time and connected throughout that important weekend. I had the opportunity to see the newest commercials they had planned and to hear Tom speak. This gifted man left a successful advertising career to serve the Lord and his Church in this critical time in history.

For  those who have not yet seen a "Catholics Come Home" commercial, you need to stop reading this article and go to their outstanding interactive web site here. Watch these commercials. Read about this wonderful New Evangelization Apostolate. Get encouraged and learn to feel good again about being a Catholic Christian. But don't stop there!  Respond to one or more of the wonderful opportunities offered on this virtual media apostolate site to join in the mission.

The ads and the interactive website have reached 40 million viewers across the US and 1.5 million viewers worldwide in the past three years.  According to census statistics published by participating dioceses, "Catholics Come Home" ads have helped more than 200,000 fallen away Catholics come home to the Church.

As a part of its mission, Catholic Online is committed to providing news, views and resources which can help inform, inspire and ignite Catholics. One of our greatest hopes is to help Catholics truly choose to be Catholic and then live differently as a result, leading others home. Converts, Reverts and Renewed Catholics are a resource for the new missionary age.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Living Faith

Andrew M. Greenwell: St. Bonaventure and the Fear of the Lord Watch

Image of You want God's mercy?  Here is St. Bonaventure's advice: avoid sin and develop a healthy fear of the Lord.- Andrew Greenwell

By Andrew M. Greenwell

The Church teaches that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given us as part of sanctifying or habitual grace.  If we are in a state of grace, these gifts are present.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are similar to supernaturally-infused virtues in that they ... continue reading


The forgotten plight of Native Americans

Image of

By Tony Magliano

When it comes to the harsh difficulties many Native Americans face every day, the saying "out of sight, out mind" hits home. Many people have only a vague sense of the serious past and present injustices suffered by Native Americans.From the very beginning, starting ... continue reading


Play with your children, Pope Francis commands fathers Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While some of his comments have provoked controversy, Pope Francis in a private audience this week said something that very few people would argue with. The Pope commanded that all fathers take time to play with their children - and not be so absorbed with work ... continue reading


Archbishop reprimands Catholic lawmaker, says no true Catholic can dissent from church teaching on abortion Watch

Image of Archbishop Cordileone said in a written statement, that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a press conference on January 22 at the Capitol, was asked twice whether an unborn child 20 weeks into pregnancy is a human being. Pelosi finally replied that a woman has "the right" to abort her child. Archbishop ... continue reading


Religious persecution uniting Christians worldwide in 'Ecumenism of blood,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"In this moment of prayer for unity, I would also like to remember our martyrs, the martyrs of today," Pope Francis said as he was speaking to members of a number of Christian Churches. Gathered in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls this past weekend, ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell: Jesus is the Heart and the Marvel of the Gospel Watch

Image of Since the incarnation of the Word, the

By Andrew M. Greenwell

If pursued, and pursued rightly (that is, without moral or intellectual prejudice), metaphysics leads us to a threshold, a threshold we might call the limina fidei, the threshold of faith.  Reason takes us to a place where we know God--that He is.  But ... continue reading


Who Are My Mother and Brothers? We are the Family of Jesus Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Through our Baptism, we are invited into the very family of God. When we choose to respond to grace and live in obedience to the will and the Word of God; we enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We actually become a part of ... continue reading


St Francis DeSales Challenges Us to Live a Life of True Devotion Watch

Image of Today in our Liturgical calendar in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we remember St Francis DeSales (1567-1610). The Saints are all given as examples to emulate. They are our companions on the journey, men and women like us who responded to God's invitation to become like Jesus. They pray for us because we are joined with them in the eternal communion of love. They also put legs on the Gospel, showing us what holiness looks like.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of ... continue reading


Hey Main Stream Media - Do Your Job! Media Bias on March for Life Watch

Image of The hundreds of thousands who gatherred in Washington, DC were virtually ignored by the mainstream media because they gave a voice to children in the womb intentionally killed by procured abortion

By Catherine Contreras

What do you get when over 500,000 people attend the March for Life in Washington DC? Yup. A biased main stream media barely covering it, again. OAKLAND, CA (Catholic Online) - On the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in ... continue reading


Arlington Diocesan teachers provide English Language Learners with special support Watch

Image of Fourth-grade students work on personalized language arts activities at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington. (Christine Stoddard, The Arlington Catholic Herald)

By Christine Stoddard, The Arlington Catholic Herald

Step into Sarah Conrad's pre-kindergarten classroom at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington and you'll see the usual suspects: tiny furniture, storybooks, brightly colored posters and educational toys. But you'll also notice that laminated labels abound. ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:19-25
19 We have then, brothers, complete confidence ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:21-25
21 He also said to them, 'Is a lamp brought in to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 29th, 2015 Image

Sts. Sarbelius & Barbea
January 29: Two martyrs, brother and sister, who were put to death at Edessa ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter