⟲ Go back home

Jennifer Mays

Simply put, God used Bishop Barron and the Word on Fire apostolate to bring me back home to the Catholic Church. My story is probably similar to those of the many “former Catholics” I have encountered over the years. I was born and raised Catholic, but never had a real understanding of the deep, fundamental, and unchanging truth of the Church. I had no idea who God really is, no idea that He was pursuing a relationship with me, and no idea that He was the very One that my heart was longing for.

Because I didn’t have that understanding of the Church as the means of encountering Christ, I looked outside of the Church for my faith formation. As a college student and later as a young adult, I began to be influenced by my Protestant friends, many of whom had a deep love for Christ, a knowledge of the Scriptures, and a sense of belonging within their Protestant churches. I saw what they had and I wanted it too. I wanted to be engaged in Bible studies and discussion, I wanted to have a group of fellow Christians to walk alongside me in my faith, and I wanted more than anything to have that “personal relationship with Jesus” that Protestants talk about.

And so I left the Church. Not only did I leave the Church, but I began to develop very anti-Catholic sentiments and arguments, especially regarding Marian doctrines, the saints, purgatory, and the sacraments. This went on for about fifteen years, during which time my husband and I, along with our three children, attended an Evangelical Anglican church. We were actively involved in adult Bible study programs, youth ministry, and women’s ministry, and our family was consistently attending the contemporary worship service at the multi-campus church.

My husband was raised as a Southern Baptist, but he had already begun to question some of the theology he had been taught as a child. As a researcher and a PhD, he digs deep and studies answers to the big questions in his work. This also spills over into his understanding of God. He wondered how there can be so many different interpretations of various key passages of Scripture that even the various Protestant denominations don’t agree on. Topics such as predestination, salvation, grace, faith, and works were all topics that he began to prayerfully study in an effort to find the truth.

So he went back to the early Church, the Church Fathers, and the original interpretations of Scripture, which ultimately led him to Catholicism. When he told me that he was considering Catholicism, he also told me about Robert Barron and the Word on Fire ministry. He asked me to watch the YouTube videos for quick yet thorough and engaging answers to my big arguments against Catholicism.

I reluctantly agreed. I watched the videos and I was hooked. I found Bishop Barron’s style to be intellectual, yet accessible; engaging, but not overwhelming; and concise and direct, yet loving and ecumenical. He makes no apologies in stating the Catholic Church is the true Church that Christ established, but he does so in a way that is loving towards the Protestant traditions.

So, after a year of prayerful consideration, I joyfully returned home to the Church and I have never once regretted that decision. Bishop Barron continues to be a source of inspiration for me, and his ministry through Word on Fire has helped shape and form my spiritual life. Today, three years later, I am a better Christian because of my Catholic faith, and I love the Lord more and better than I ever have. I’m sharing my faith with others and have even joined the staff of a national Catholic women’s Bible study program. Thanks be to God for Bishop Barron and the Word on Fire team!

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⟲ Go back home