Sunday, June 10, 2007

Surf's Up: Is a Catholic Revival in the Work?

I enjoy talking to people who call about one of our programs. And yes, it helps when people that call actually order the programs ... because that helps me to relax, and believe (for a little while at least) that I'm obeying God's will in this endeavor. (See blog post, "Trust and Obey.") The stories are piling up, so I thought I'd share a few with you.

Actually, on an early post (EWTN Apologetics) I shared a few stories. But here are some more.

"The Church Has It All Wrong!" but He's Still Watching EWTN

Frank (I'm changing all the names) has written twice now to tell me in long letters that Dr. Ray's confusion, which Ray mentions at the beginning of Why Be Catholic? (Frank's watched the presentation on EWTN), is the result of listening to different church leaders instead of just reading the Bible. Frank writes:
If Dr. Guarendi would just go farther back and study the Bible, and stop listening to all those different churches, he wouldn't be so confused.
Frank not only distrusts the Roman Catholic Church, but also every other church he's ever attended. It's interesting that Frank continues to watch EWTN. The long letters he writes, I suspect, is the result of God knocking on his door. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Called to the Priesthood...Still Searching
On Friday, Bob, a Congregational Minister from Georgia called. He's been watching Dr. Ray and Fr. Fete's What Catholics Really Believe series on EWTN. We had a wonderful discussion. He says (and I'm paraphrasing what I remember from these conversations):
I believe I was called to the priesthood when I was 5-years old. I'm not even sure why I fell away from Catholicism, but I did. Got married, divorced, stayed single for a long time because I believed what the Church taught about marriage and I didn't want to commit adultery. But eventually I remarried and recently was asked to pastor this church here in Georgia. But, you know I just don't feel fulfilled. I long for The Eucharist. I'm not there yet, and I want to be.
Pray for Bob. He says he watches EWTN and is fed a great deal by Fr. Benedict Groeschel and
Fr. John Corapi, and now Fr., ooops,....Dr. Ray Guarendi.

Dr. Ray in Slovakia (?)
Several weeks ago, we received an Internet order for a copy of Why Be Catholic? from Slovakia. As is usually the case, the buyer (and I'll use his real name here, Michael King) didn't click on the Global Priority shipping button which would have added the international postage. When we asked for that by e-mail, Michael asked if we couldn't send the DVD by some slow boat to save the cost, as their little "ministry" is always hard up for cash. We paid for the Global Priority shipping and a few days ago I received an international letter package from Michael thanking me for our generosity. Enclosed were several newsletters from his ministry. Michael, his wife, and children were Protestant missionaries from Germany, to various places on the globe for over 40 years. Thirteen years ago (c. 1994) they began traveling through Europe with their children and living out of a trailer, home schooling their children in the morning, and then, in the afternoon and evenings, singing on street corners handing out Gospel tracks, and ministering one-one-one with individuals that would stop and talk to them. They performed concerts in churches, and regularly arrange for humanitarian aid (food, clothing and plumbing supplies) to be shipped in from Germany to the poorer Eastern Block countries that they minister in. Soon, two other families joined them. They stay in a country for about a year before moving on to another, doing their best to minister with their gifts to the poorest areas of Eastern Europe. Then, in 2000, all three families converted to Catholicism. But their ministry remains very much the same. You can read about their fascinating ministry at The Internet Service they use is probably free and thus you'll have to wade through some pop-up ads. But the extra "work" is worth it, for here you'll catch a glimpse of an evangelization ministry that is a model for all of us. And the DVD we sent them? Why Be Catholic? is being used as part of a Friday evening English Club that Michael's extended family puts on. People come to practice their English and listen to Dr. Ray tell them about Catholicism; and we've given them limited permission to convert the DVD into PAL and give it to individuals that are serious about investigating the Church. I tell you, St. Paul has noting on these missionaries.

A Daughter Comes Home

Closer to home I had a chance to talk to Glen, who came into the Catholic Church 6 years ago and is now a coordinator for his parish's RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) class. He ordered a copy of What Catholics Really Believe
for use in their RCIA class. As we were talking I told him about the Common Ground project. In shorthand, here's what he told me:
I have an adult daughter that is a Christian, but after I became Catholic she would not talk to me about Catholicism at all. It was real hard on our relationship. Then he happened to see Common Ground. It totally changed her perspective on the Church, and she started going to St. Anastasia, Fr. John's church, where she is now in RCIA. And on top of that , her husband is in RCIA as well, and she's convinced her sister to do the same her husband. So, I've not only seen Common Ground, but I have a copy that I loan out to friends.

Mrs. Pope
In this next story I have to use her real last name (changed her first name) and you'll see why.
Patricia Pope (in her 60s I would guess) called from a little town in the Panhandle of TX (that's a sunset over the Panhandle, by the way). In recent years she has reluctantly got involved with prison ministry. She teaches a catechism class at the local men's prison every Friday. I don't know what Patricia looks like but I imagine this little gray-haired lady teaching Sunday School with a class of over-sized, muscle-busting, hardened criminals. At the front of the class, Mrs. Pope stands unwavering with a bloodied ruler in her right hand, a Bible in her left, and the Catechism text displayed on an overhead. Look out guys, judgment is coming sooner than you think. So, pray for this Pope as "she" teaches Catholicism to those in prison. (St. Paul has to love this woman! God bless her!)

But more interesting is how she got her last name. She married a Baptist. Pope was his name. And with a name like that, and marrying a Catholic girl, he couldn't stay Baptist for long. Yes, he converted, and has now spends his "spare time" with the rest of the saints in heaven.

Mrs. Pope ordered Dr. Ray's DVD Why Be Catholic? from us a while back and used it with the men at the prison. She said
That Dr. Ray ... his style is really needed because the Evangelicals at the prison are always hassling the Catholics and the Catholics haven't known what to say in response. But Dr. Ray as a way of talking, and the men were rapt with attention.
I bet they were -- or she rapped their knuckles -- I suspect.

So, on the night she called, she had just caught the second episode of What Catholics Really Believe on EWTN and was excited. She ordered a Study Guide and will download one as well so she can be sure to make copies for all the men in her class. Nothing like a captive audience. (Groan!)

Now this from Pam...

That Guy Really is Smart!
I took a call from a southern-accented Baptist man who did not want to leave his name or order anything from us. He just wanted to ask "that psychologist" some questions. I asked if he wanted to ask me, since Dr. Ray was not available... : ) So, he asked the normal Baptist-type questions about Mary, saints, annulments, etc... and thanked me very much for my time and answers. Then he asks: "By the way, did that psychologist ever become Catholic?" I said, "Oh, yes." Then he said:
That guy really is smart! I really like listening to him. I have a college degree and I was in the Navy, so I'm no dummy. He's really good. I even turned up the volume all the way, I liked it so much.
To Dr. Ray, we are just so thankful for you -- that people who are seeking or in need of support for their faith have such a good source for encouragement and truth. God bless you, and our best to your whole family-I'll never forget my romp in the snow with your kids when I was there. It was the last good chance of the season to play in the snow, and I loved it!! : )

-- Pam Williams

As I mentioned several of these stories to fellow-producer and apologist Steve Ray he wrote back: "From the crest of one wave to the crest of another. Surf well my friend!"

Indeed. Surf's Up! (Sounds like a theme.)

No comments:

Post a Comment