Pentecostals Come Home to Rome — Eastern Rome, That IsThrough studying the Church Fathers, an Arizona pastor leads part of his congregation into Catholicism.Nicholas Wolfram SmithTUCSON, Ariz. — The phrase “Swimming the Tiber” has been used to describe Protestants coming into the Catholic Church. But a group of Pentecostals in Arizona are coming “home to Rome” through Constantinople, leaving their Assembly of God church for the Byzantine Catholic Church.Joshua Mangels, a pastor at a Tucson Assembly of God church, felt in his heart a growing desire to join the Catholic Church, which culminated with his resignation of his position at the church in September and entering the catechumenate a month later at a local Byzantine Catholic parish. Along with him and his family came several in his flock, all taking the plunge together into the Church.
Rebecca McCloskey, a former member at Mangels’ Assembly of God congregation, told the Register that she had earlier begun investigating Catholicism and that the Wednesday night classes furthered this desire in her heart. She remembered her surprise in listening to him preach and how much it lined up with what she was learning about the Catholic faith.
“I was thinking,” she said, “Doesn’t my pastor know what he’s teaching?”
Lisa Gray, another member of the congregation, who was pursuing becoming a credentialed pastor herself, remembers how, after Mangels mentioned there were 40,000 Protestant denominations, she thought, “If there’s 40,000 denominations, are we part of the problem or part of the solution?”
“I loved pastoring; I loved preaching. I was preaching camp meetings and revivals: I was having the time of my life, but I was Catholic in my heart,” Mangels said. And the pressure began to build to make a life-changing decision.