A Letter to My Parents

9 Mar

I love you so, so much. I want you to know that I have to tell you something. This something is not a rejection of you. It’s not a rejection of the person you raised me to be. I will try my best to answer any questions that you have. If I don’t have the answers,  I will find them for you.

I’m going to become a Catholic. I really hope you’re not as surprised as I think you’re going to be. Most of all, I hope you’re not disappointed in me. I don’t want this decision to hurt you.

Please know that I’m not making this choice lightly. I started researching the history of the Catholic Church almost a year ago. Research turned into questions. My questions turned into a visit to the church in town. My visit turned into a meeting with the pastor, Father Pat. That meeting turned into book recommendations. Those turned into more questions which led to more visits.

It was so gradual. I don’t know at exactly what point I decided that the Catholic Church is the one I want to call Home.

When I first started, I didn’t tell you because I thought you would think I was going to join the church and I didn’t want to worry you unnecessarily (which is ironic in hindsight). I thought it was just a phase of curiosity.

But then I started finding things out. I started connecting the things I’d grown up learning with the things I saw in the Catholic Church. I saw how Biblical the Catholic Church is.

I want to be a part of a body of believers that is not going to split up over something stupid. I want my leaders to be held accountable to someone. I want to take Communion every Sunday and not once a quarter. I want worship to be about something other than the guy with cool glasses playing a guitar. I want to hear teachings on every part of the Bible, and not just one person’s favorite passages and topics.

I know that you have questions and I’m guessing you probably have some arguments too. I know that Mary, the Saints, purgatory, and infant Baptism are going to be some hot topics. I’m going to do my best to help you understand.

I love you guys, and I want you to be okay with this.

15 Responses to “A Letter to My Parents”

  1. Lyn March 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    This is a very respectful and well written piece. I will be praying for open hearts and unity between you and your parents.

    As a parent of adults who sometimes make choices contrary to the way they were raised, I can tell you, I still LOVE each of them deeply, and rejoice when I see them seeking God on their own, thinking through and walking out their faith. I have complete confidence that God will guide them, as they seek His will for their lives. We may not always agree, but we always, always love. I pray this is the case with you and your parents as well.


  2. SR March 9, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Have you sent it to them? I will be offering Mass prayers for you tonight. Love you and God Bless, SR

    • elliejaneohara March 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

      I have not sent it to them. I’m going to give it to them when I see them in a few weeks. That way we can talk about it after they read it.

      • SR March 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

        If you need any help answering their questions let me know. Mostly they are about the Saints and the Blessed Mother. Some have issues with Jesus being present in the Holy Eucharist. I can tell you what I say. Let me know what you think you may have problems with. God Bless, SR

      • elliejaneohara March 9, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

        I think they will also be very concerned about my wedding and my future children. If my fiance does not convert then I will be then I will be the only Catholic in my wedding, which would make the situation more than a little strange. My parents also have some pretty strong beliefs about infant Baptism…which is something that I have yet to tackle for myself, so I’m not even sure how to explain it to them haha. Since marriage and a family are at least a year or two away for me I haven’t felt the need to worry about them quite yet. But I’m anticipating those two things being a the forefront of my parents’ minds.

  3. Francis Philip March 9, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    Very cool 🙂

  4. SR March 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    I have a friend who is a devout Catholic, but her husband is a Protestant. They were married in his Church, as his family would have it no other way. (Been married 20 years by the way.) A Priest was there also. So that is how you will handle that one if it comes up and is a must on the other side. My husband is a Protestant also, so it can be done!

    Infant Baptism: Where in the Bible does it say “You have to be a certain “age” to be baptized? No where! The Apostles would baptize entire families, do you think there were no infants in those families? So parents had the right to make these choices for their kids. When John the Baptist was baptizing many came. Don’t you think they brought their children with them? Also with John the Baptist, Christ had not yet died! People were being baptized before He died. So it has nothing to do with us accepting the Cross. Go to Scripture and look it up, so you can show them. Baptism is a washing of original sin from our lives. It is a welcoming into the family of God, it has nothing to do with us “accepting Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.” That is not in one single place in the Bible. In other words what baptism does for us, is give to us a clean slate as we no longer have “orginal sin.” There had to be some way to get rid of it’s stain on our lives. Jesus was as pure as pure can be, but He did it, to leave us an example of what to do. Now think about it. If baptism meant that we were accepting Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, don’t you think Jesus would have said so. What you will learn eventually, is when people who are “Sola Scriptura” come at you with these things, make them prove it to you in Scripture. If it is not in Scripture then their very belief of “Sola Scriptura” is false. They believe many things that are not in the Bible. They just do not think they do. Also when we are baptized the Holy Spirit descends on us, just like He did Christ. Thus being born of the “water” and the “Spirit.” Baptism fulfills this Scripture.

    Kids: You will have to promise to raise them Catholic. God Bless, SR

    • elliejaneohara March 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      That’s good to know about having a Priest at my wedding!

      Thank you so much for that explanation of Baptism! I’d been doing some reading about it today, but they were all from more “Cradle Catholic” perspectives, which would not be easy answers for my parents to swallow (and they also seemed a bit lengthy for my purpose). I feel like I can convey what you said to them and (with time) it may alleviate their discomfort.

      The more I read the Bible and research history and doctrine the more Sola Scriptura makes absolutely no sense to me. Which is ironic because I used to adamantly demand Biblical proof for every thing. My answer to Sola Scriptura now is “Show me Sola Scriptura in the Bible. Show me where it says that every tenant of a church must come directly from the Bible.” The other funny thing about Sola Scriptura is that in my own personal experience the Catholic Church has been more based in the Bible than many of the Protestant Churches I’ve attended.

      As far as kids go, my fiance himself brought up sending them to Catholic School when I talked to him earlier this week, so even if he doesn’t come into the Church I think he will be more than fine with raising them Catholic.

      • SR March 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

        It is getting late, but tomorrow I am coming back and tie all of this in for you. What it is going to boil down to with your parents is your salvation. Salvation is not a one time event, and I will prove it to you and you can tell your parents. Protestants tie in everything with the “Salvation of the Cross.” What St. Paul said was, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” I will tie it all in for you, simply. Being an ex-Protestant I know where they are coming from, which makes it a lot easier for us, then cradle Catholics. I have learned over the years, the more simple the better with Protestants, when it comes to the Church and her teachings. I highly recommend you get this book as you are going to need it. The Biblical Reasons for the Catholic Faith by Mike Aquilla. (I think that is how you spell his last name) Get that book and read it before you go and see your parents!!! You will have all the defense you need when you do. God Bless, SR

      • geloruma March 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

        My sister married an Anglican (non-practicing) in the Catholic Church. Catholic churches are lovely settings for weddings so your future husband might just comply (l.o.l!) Good to hear he is o.k. with bringing the children up Catholic – I know I wouldn’t want anything “less” for mine…
        Will be in prayer for you and your family.
        God BLess.

      • geloruma March 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

        P.S. good advice from SR on the book by mike aquila…

  5. SR March 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Okay I finally made it today.

    The first thing you are going to have to realise is that your parents are going to think you now have a straight ticket to hell. You are praying to dead people, who are not dead if they are in heaven, you are bowing to statues, etc… What they are in fear of is your salvation. They misunderstand the Cross and salvation.

    The Cross: What the Cross did was reconcile us to God. It made a way that we can now get to Him. We now have the grace to repent, have sorry for our sins, and ask for forgiveness. To me I always say, “God has to look through the eyes of the Cross to even look at us, and this is what the Cross opened up for mankind.

    What the Cross did not do, is give us salvation. It did however open the door for it and this proves what Paul meant when he said, “Work out your own slavation with fear and trembling.” We are redeemed by the Blood of Jesus, but salvation for man did not happen as an one time event when Christ died. It is an ongoing daily process. Many things save us in the Bible: hope, faith, baptism, etc…. So we see just from this alone, the word “save” is lengthed to many things, not just the Cross.

    What is going to get us to heaven? Scripture tells us it is our “works” that are going to be judged and make the difference between the sheep and the goats. The sheep are going to heaven and the goats to hell. Paul said more or less our works are of no value. What Paul was speaking of is “works under the law.” James said, “Faith without works is dead.” James was speaking of works under grace. Our works count very much to God!

    So to simplify this as much as I can: We see from Scripture alone many “things” save us, so to believe that faith in the Cross is the “only” way to heaven is wrong. Jesus said, “Many will say Lord, Lord, and I will say I never knew you.” Paul uses the word “own” in his Scripture. So our “salvation” is truly our own to figure out. It belongs soley to us. Paul also places the responsiblity of our “salvation” in our “own hands,” not the “Hands of the Cross.” If salvation was a “one time deal” there would be no need for us to confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, or have a contrite heart over them, now would there? Why do we have to do this? Because Holy Scripture tells us, “Christ died for all “past” sins.” Now did you get that? Not present and not future, for all “past.” This is why we have to repent and confess our sins, as God does not forgive sins which have not happened yet. So the belief that all sins, past, present and future were hung on the Cross is wrong. What the Cross did was make the way for present sins to be forgiven. Thus, making “salvation” our “own” to work out in fear and trembling.” Jesus nor Paul EVER SAID, “There is nothing else for you to do, did they?” We have to obey the Commandments of God, give alms, be good to others, love others, help the widow and the orphans, repent and confess our sins etc.. So to say that “salvation” was a “one time event on the Cross” is wrong. We have to work it out and we have to work for it. Hope this helps and you need to get that book and let your folks read it! God Bless, SR

  6. singingjaniebird April 3, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Perhaps you’ve heard of these books before, but just in case you haven’t 1) Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism by Scott and Kimberly Hahn (a protestant minister and his wife.) 2) Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church. by Stephen K. Ray.
    P.S. Welcome home!


  1. Well…the Catholic cat is out of the proverbial bag… | Catholic Lite - April 3, 2013

    […] I sent my parents an e-mail this morning that said this. […]

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