Monday, July 2, 2007

Just why does a Baptist Minister become a Catholic Deacon?

In a word the EUCHARIST.
First off it takes a long time, a life time I guess you could say. I am never sure where to start when I am asked to tell this story. There are several starting points and picking one can make it a short funny story or a long journey. I will try to give you the short version. Tom went into a Baptist seminary right out of high school, he felt God was calling him and he answered the phone. From the very start Tom had problems with what he was being taught. For example – the teacher stated that Baptist could trace their roots back to Jesus time. After some investigation Tom was unable to substantiate this claim. Baptist did not show up by name until the 1600’s. He discussed it with his roommate and his roommate said “there is no way these teachers can be wrong, they have been teaching for years. Maybe Baptist was called something else to being with”. “Yes”, Tom answered” we were called Catholic”. It was much like that for 4 years. Why did he stay you ask – what else was he to do? God had called him and when he got out of seminary he would have his own church and could do things HIS way. Tom was not familiar with just how big of a part the Southern Baptist Conference played in how he would RUN his church. For 14 years Tom was the pastor of 3 churches and a missionary for 2 years. He often tried to change things – liking asking the congregation to come down to the front of the church to receive communion. Needless to say that was not a success. There were many different attempts to “change” how his congregation perceived communion. After a long and heartbreaking time in his life Tom made the decision to leave the only profession he knew and a calling he felt deep within his soul. His words – “I can no longer run a church like it is J.C. Penny’s (after all it was a business) and I am tired of feeling like Johnny Carson (he was expected to entertain them for an hour a week)”.
What does an unemployed Baptist Minister do? He could teach school but having tried that before he knew that was not the answer. He was either over qualified or under qualified; finally he landed a job as a dispatcher for a Heating and Air company. He worked his way up and became a project manager. Tom remains in that position to this day.
Going to church was a hassle – if they found out Tom was a former pastor the current pastor was sure he was there to take his job. If they were secure enough in their position they worked him to death – hey free labor is what every church is looking for. Years were spent drifting from one church to another. Tom held fast to his Baptist roots. Not me I had been ready to chop those suckers loose for a very long time. I was raised a Baptist, my Dad was a deacon and we were at church every time the doors opened. I had not been buying what they were selling for years. For the most part I had kept my feelings to myself. What was I to say – My Dad was a deacon and my husband was a pastor. So, for the first time in my life I felt free to EPLORE. I think I went to every denomination know and some that were not on the map yet. After a short foray into the Unity Church, I came home one day and Tom announced that we were going to become “Catholic”. Catholic, well now that was one I had not tried – so what the heck!
Tom had read the entire Catechism and made questions. He made an appointment with a Priest at a nearby parish. We spent almost 3 hours with Fr. John and he was able to satisfy most of Tom’s question. Fr. John suggested that we attend a RCIA class. We did – and the rest as they say is history. We went to class for almost a year. The priest tried to get Tom to skip the process as they felt 6 years of seminary had prepared him. Tom declined and I was so very happy that he did. For the first time in my life I was able to embrace belief’s that were mine – NOT my Dad’s or my husband’s. We came into the church at Easter; Tom waited 3 years before he started the 5 year training process to become a Deacon. He was ordained Feb. 22, 2007.
Tom has always believed that John Chapter 6 is a true statement - that Christ is present in communion (Eucharist). Now every time he receives the Eucharist he is able to live out a lifelong belief.
I will throw in a little tidbit here – Tom was baptized Catholic the day he was born. You see his Mom was a lapsed Catholic marrying a previously married Baptist. Tom was born with cerebral palsy and was not expected to live, his Mom had them call in a priest and Tom was indeed baptized. Tom did not know about this until he started his journey into the Catholic faith. Tom’s Mom died many years ago, her younger sister filled in all the details.


  1. Just wanted to say that I enjoyed your story. I was looking up how long it takes to become a Deacon and was somehow led to your post. Just wanted you to know that someone read it!


  2. i am very touched by your story. i myself have been wanting to become catholic for about a year now. However I have been living with my mom and she is baptist. She will never let it go, and has even told me she will dis own me.