So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Conversion Story: Pentecostals become Byzantine Catholic.

The National Catholic Register has the following story: 
Pentecostals Come Home to Rome — Eastern Rome, That Is

Through studying the Church Fathers, an Arizona pastor leads part of his congregation into Catholicism.

Nicholas Wolfram Smith

TUCSON, 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.
Laudetur Iesus Christus!

Ordinary Form Catholics can learn much from our Eastern brethren. That is, if the Sacred Liturgy is presented with dignity and reverence, and the teaching is orthodox, God will lead people to the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

When was the last time you heard a homily that quoted the Church Fathers? If you attended a Traditional Latin Mass, or the Divine Worship of the Ordinariate, you probably heard this Easter Day, i.e., today, a chorus of quotes from the successors of the Apostles who spoke and wrote in the power of the Holy Spirit about the Faith we have received from God!

Perhaps you are moved by a love of truth and a desire to serve God more deeply and to worship Him in the way Jesus revealed that Holy Thursday night as the way to worship God in spirit and in truth. Perhaps your story is similar to that of one of the new converts?
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.
The Holy Spirit draws all people to unity with the Church that Jesus Himself founded. This recent example is a beautiful testimony to the action of the Holy Spirit speaking to people through the unchanging teaching handed on by the Apostles. May we all be so open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

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