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  • I am blessed to have been raised by my mother who has always been a devout Catholic. My grandparents laid a rock foundation for mom which would prove later to be monumental. I went away to college and like many people I fell away from my faith. I continued to go to mass and I would always have a prayer life but I became a cafeteria Catholic, I would pick and choose what I wanted to believe. My two brothers stopped going to church and became angry about our faith. My mother would continue to pray for each one us over the years.
    I married a cradle Catholic and we would go to mass off and on over the years. When we started a family we started going to mass more regularly. Something in me was missing, I had a wonderful husband and two healthy children and I felt unfullfilled. We moved to NY from OH in 07 for a job change. My husband grew up in NY and his father needed help. My mom told me God had a plan. Little did I know what God had in store for my family. My brother died of an accidental overdose after fighting an addiction for 15 yrs. He came back to his faith and was getting his life back on track when he relapsed. My world caved in, my family was all in OH and I felt so alone. This started my reversion back into our faith. I started teaching CCD and going to Thursday mass at the kids school. Over the next year I joined many ministries within our parish. Advent last year we started reading the daily gospel in the morning. I started praying the rosary, it did not happen over night but we changed many spiritual habits in our family. Lent last year I was in Adoration and picked up Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. I could not put the book down, you see in Part 3 of his book he speaks of the Seven Pillars of Spirituality. Our family over a years time had acquired each of those seven habits. Our lives change when our habits change.. My families life is forever changed. My brother was my ah ha moment. It has been 19 months since my brother has been gone. My life will never be the same. There has been beauty in our suffering. I feel fire in me that I have never felt before. I know now how important it is to raise our children in the faith and teach them how to live it as their own. The Catholic faith is waiting to be Rediscovered, what will be your ah ha moment? I challenge everyone this Advent to read Kelly's book. Change your habits as a family and let it transform your life... We are on a mission, as Francis of Assi said "preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words." We need to teach this generation the richness of our faith and how to live it in our everyday lives. May you Never Let Go of God's Hand : )
    - Christie T., Getzville, NY United States
  • Born, raised, attended Catholic school, married and raised 2 children in the Catholic faith. Left the Catholic faith, the Holy Eucharist for a worldly life and attended non denominational churches for years. Something was missing, but I could not pin point it. In 2005 the Lord gave me 3 separate locusions and I returned to the church. I promised to learn all that the church taught and if I wasnt' convinced I would leave the church for good. God took me on a spiritual journey for 3 months where at the end I fell on my knees, tears streaming down my cheeks and gave Him the rest of my days on earth. Seek the Holy Eucharist. Seek the One Church Jesus began on the Foundation of the Rock. Seek the Authority by means of the keys, given by Jesus to Kepha. I can't wait to see this series on EWTN. Thank you for taking us on a journey few could ever take on their own. May God continue to richly bless you!
    - Janice S., Lake Arrowhead, CA United States
  • My wife, Mary Jo and I had twin premiee girls in January 2002, at 1 lb 6 oz (Therese) and 1 lb 9 (Kathryn).

    When the girls were placed in the NICU area of Cincinnati's Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, we were offered a "healing touch practioner" service that is alien to our faith. Here is the verbatum description from the handout:
    "What is Healing Touch and How Does It Work? Healing Touch is a spiritual energy based approach to healing. First the healing touch practitioner sets an intention for healing. A healing intention can be thought of as a positive affirmation, visualization or healing prayer. For example: "May the baby progress toward good health; have strong immunity and good weight gain." Then using gentle tough or soothing movements a few inches above the body, the practitioner directs healing energy to the baby. With traditional medicine, healing touch promotes a calm restful state and relieves discomfort, which helps support the body's natural healing process."

    Although we understood that some parents would want to try ANYTHING to help thier children we declined the "service" and asked for the intercession of Fr. Solanus Casey instead. I understand that only God can heal and the Saints obtain miracles from God. Humans (and even the saints and holy souls) can not "direct" healing energy, they must ask for it from God. Isn't this pratice of a healing practicioner (we saw no mention of GOD on the rest of the handout) in conflict with the Catholic faith and scripture?
    The rest of the story:
    Our seven older children at home prayed. Two days later Therese died [after baptism], (at the same time Kathryn reached up and pulled out her tubes). Later that day Kathryn was baptised. My wife was in the worst shape I had seen her in our 18 1/2 years of marriage. Then the pictures of the baptism came back. A bright white light was present from above my Kathryn in the picture. The staff and nurses at the NICU could, and still can not explain it. They never saw anything like it before.

    When Kathryn was getting eye surgery at Children's Hospital prior to coming home, I took my wife for a break and suggested we get Kathryn a doll as a gift. Mary Jo looked around and did not see anything at first. Then she picked up a leprechaun doll thinking it had the tune "Danny Boy" on it {as the one she had recently bought for one of our son's godmother). The song was "When Irish Eye's are Smiling."
    Kathryn is now pushing 12 lbs, off oxygen, steroids (for her lungs), and just like a "normal baby." The retinas are 100% attached and the blood vessels have retreated as the doctors hped at the back of the eyes. No scar tissue can be found where the surgery was.

    Brother Richard of Detroit, who works for Fr. Casey's cause has been kept informed and provided the "picture" that helped my wife (a Catholic school teacher for 20 years) live through this most difficult and sad event.

    I find comfort that Padre Pio said that it is a parent's job to raise future citizens of Heaven. That is our comfort on losing Therese, but Heaven gaining another saint. She is with us in prayer all the time.

    Answer by Fr. John Echert on 07-29-2002:
    A truly touching story of faith and family. The handout you describe was non-Christian and I am glad that you opted for an appropriate way of seeking healing, through prayer and the saints. The "healing touch" you describe is not what many Catholics have in mind when they speak of it in conjunction with sacramentals and some charismatic person such as a priest. Praise be God for the activity of God in your family.
    Father Echert
    PS : A younger brother was born five years later, with no problems, due to the intecession of Padre Pio.
    - Michael E V., Goshen, OH United States
  • Emotionally stirring!!!
    Our parish is just completing the series CATHOLICISM and without exception, those who attended have moved by it ALL!!... the message, the music, the images, the people... this is truly a remarkable expression of our FAITH!!!
    WE are now going to do a double re-run a) as an introductory viewing and b) as an indepth study series.
    Many people have expressed an interest in the emotionally stirring music that underlines each episode. When will there be a soundtrack available?
    May God continue to bless your ministry!!!
    - Deacon David C., Perth, Ontario, Canada
  • Born Catholic, raised Catholic, remain Catholic because I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God! Father Barron has made a wonderful documentary, I ordered my complete set today. I was only able to see the EWTN releases and am looking forward to seeing them all. I have joyfully raised my three kids in the catholic faith but it has been difficult due to the sex scandal. To paraphrase Churchill, never before has so much damage been done by so few to so many. I plan on showing my kids this series over the Christmas holiday to re-inforce to them the beauty and Holiness of the Church. We need Catholics to trust in God's providence and assent rather than dissent. Only by understanding the mystical body of Christ can the Church be understood as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostloic, this is not blind faith but like Peter I answer, to where shall we go, you have the words of eternal life. Christ lives today and always in His mystical body the Church. God love you all.
    - joe d., waco, TX United States
  • I was raised in a home where God was never spoken of. My parents wished I found my own religion on my own and never wanted to "force" me into a religion. As a teenager I was invited to a few of my friend's churches, but the services felt superficial to me. I never felt a true connection with God. 

    One night, around two in the morning my friend and I were running around the streets of Grand Rapids, Michigan when we stumbled across a Catholic church. The doors were unlocked, so we decided to go in and look around. As we entered the church, I was overwhelmed with God's love and grace. I began to cry. I immediately knew that this is where I was supposed to be, there was no doubt in my mind. I could feel God pulling on my heart to return to this church. I had never felt God's presence like this in my life before, it consumed me. At eighteen years old I took religious education classes at that same church and was later baptized, took my first Eucharist, and Confirmation.  I am truly blessed that God decided to take that single moment in my life and make it the moment that changed my life forever. My husband and I were married in a Catholic church and still practice today. We are truly blessed. 
    - Michelle K., Phoenix, AZ United States
  • I was baptized into the Catholic Church on April 30, 1989, but was raised in a Protestant home. On April 23, 2011 I came home to the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil Mass, receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Interestingly enough, I received these Sacraments at the very same church I was baptized in. I discovered the truth of the Catholic Church over six years of studying on my own. Once I began to study about the Catholic Church, my eyes were opened and I knew there was no turning back. In death, Blessed John Paul II first called me to study and learn about the Catholic Church. Along the way St. Ignatius Loyola met me in the stillness of retreat to affirm the decision to be Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church is my spiritual home here on earth, and I hope to serve Christ through the Catholic Church all the days of my life.
    - Robert R., Mansfield, OH United States
  • My story: Raised a passionate Lutheran, but became a Roman Catholic a year before I married my Irish husband. Thinking I could handle being Catholic however the culture change was horrendous - lay people were treated like they didn't exist or at best ignored. Became an active Catholic. Tom and I were the Bishops representative to the Diocesan Pastoral Council. For the last 20 years I have been the Bishops Liaison to Charismatic Renewal. I have taught Religion classes for 35 years. I have tons of certificates completeing years of study in Scripture, History of the Church - plus other stuff. And needless to say, much of my cultural problem has been resolved - because I have a big mouth, yet we still treat our parishioners as if they are psychologically absent - devoid of feelings. When are we going to "love thy neighbor as thyself" We shoot ourselves in the foot and wonder why we limp?? People don't leave the church because of teachings or rituals, they leave because they are not being psychologically cared for. This drives me crazy because I love our gifted church, yet we don't do the obvious - and this wouldn't cost a dime in our budget. I remember as a Lutheran kid, the pastor would say at the end of the Service, "say hello to ten people you don't know today!" We could do that, but we don't! Not because we are not good people and not because our hearts aren't in the right place, it's because, we don't know how! And because our leadership don't have even one person in their life that they are personally responsible for! But if our pastors had to literally monitarily support just one person, they would have a better handle on life and caring for another person. Then their focus wouldn't always be on self.
    - Janice C., Dassel, MN United States
  • I grew up in a family with a mother who practiced Catholicism and regularly went to church. My Dad attended sometimes with her although he was basically Agnostic. I always loved the feeling of sitting in the beautiful church we attended and all the rituals and formality of the Church. I would wear a dress with white gloves! How times have changed though. Many churches today look like auditoriums and even if there is a decent minister, it's hard to get inspired. When I first attended a Protestant church with my husband who grew up Methodist, I was shocked at the informality and the casualness of it all compared to the formality and distance of the priests. I've stayed away from church for a number of years frankly because I don't feel inspired -- I do a lot of good works volunteering, etc. This series is incredible! I found it while flipping through the channels one night and was awestruck! Father Barron talks to us like a good friend - not a distant priest who is "higher and mightier" than we are and he has gotten me interested again in the Catholic Church. The series is incredible and inspirational and mostly informative! I love the journey Father Barron is taking us on --showing us not only the beautiful places of worship around the world and those who practice it, but the true meaning and history of Catholicism! Can't wait to see the next program! Thank you Fr Barron!
    - Barb A., Denver, CO United States
  • I am Catholic, raised, and will die Catholic. I left the Church as a teen, 18 years later returned, now been back 18 years. The series Catholicism brought tears to my eyes, especially about purgatory, so humbling. Thanks, Father!
    - Anthony F., Bedford, OH United States
  • After having been away from the church for 30 years, I returned two years ago. It was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I would not miss Mass for the world and all it contains. During this time so much joy and peace has entered my heart. And, yes, there have been hard times and doubt as well. A bump in the road. I must thank our priests who are so reverent and giving, even when they are rushed. All those who are "away", open your hearts and really listen to God.
    - Gail S., Bridgeport, CT United States
  • Thank you for the Catholicism series. It provides a candid description of what the Catholic Church is and is not to respond to it's critics, it is beatiful in imagery and in meaning , explains the contributions the church has made to improve the human condition, and the importance of the need to understand what isin is and why salvation in Christ is worth living and dying for.

    - Daniel F., Plymouth, MI United States
  • I am cradle Catholic, born and raised in Germany until I immigrated to the US in 1964.
    For a while I drifted but something always pulled me back. I married a great woman who converted to the Catholic faith and I must admit was a better Christian Catholic than I was. Cancer took her from me in 1995 at the young age of 45. As a great and Holy priest (Capuchin) told me "you have your own saint in heaven"... I had three children with her, one who died in infancy and two who make me proud and I pray that they stay with their faith
    I met another great lady with whom I had a daughter. This lady too converted to Catholism and brought me deeper into my faith.
    I especially appreciate Father's series. He brings the Faith to light like I have never heard before.. I only wish I could relate the faith to those who are getting ready for confirmation.
    God Bless you for this series - it is an experience of Faith of our Holy Founder and his bride the Church
    - Michael H., Colorado Spring, CO United States
  • I was raised in a large Catholic family in Chicago and my faith has always been most important in my life.I have found little opportunity for adult education in my parish and most of that has been obtained through the Archdiocese through the Called and Gifted Program and the Chicago Catholic Scripture School. I am so proud of my Catholic identity.

    When I began to hear about the Catholicism series, I became very interested. I then heard Fr. Barron speak at Drury Lane in Oak Brook, IL and became more excited. I had already downloaded the book and have read it. I even purchased several as gifts for my adult children. After watching the PBS episodes and now the EWTN episodes, I am literally on fire about this series. Another parishioner and I have been petitioning our parish administrator to be allowed to present the series here in our parish and we have been heard. The series has been ordered and we will begin in Advent.

    Thank you, Father Barron, for the journey you have made in this endeavor, for listening to the call, and being guided by the Holy Spirit.
    - Nancy G., Chicago, IL United States
  • I'm a cradle Catholic with advanced degrees in philosophy--Aristotle and Thomas--and I have grown so weary of the liberal/conservative battles in the Church, which just parallel the same tired battles in politics. This 'Catholicism' series just leaves all that in the dust and gets to the heart and mind and soul of our faith. Thank God and kudos to Fr. Barron!
    - Mary D., Cedar Rapids, IA United States
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