Seth Moore of Bainbridge Island, WA knew more existed; he didn’t know where to find it. Raised Protestant, he adhered to his roots. He achieved a degree in Audio Production, which he used in broadcasting sermons from a well-known Protestant/Non-denominational church in Seattle, WA. He handled the Sunday worship audio–a job for which his degree had prepared him. He, however, began to feel burnt out and fed up with the assembling he witnessed. He states, “As a volunteer on the inside, I started to have more questions about communion. I didn’t see the reverence it deserved, and that bothered me. The bread and wine were in the back room, and we were told to take it by ourselves if we wanted.”
“What this church was doing felt like a production; it was great for the attendees, getting the name of Jesus out and changing lives—but it was happening at the expense of the volunteers and servers.”
The worship must go on, and Seth found himself wanting something that didn’t feel like a production; he wanted something more personal and authentic. So he left that church.
At the next non-denominational start-up church he attended, he experienced the first-hand discomfort with Evangelical Protestantism’s lack of Magisterium. His pastor heard about the Sunday evening lectures Seth and several close friends were having. The pastor strongly disagreed with two of the lectures he listened to that had been recorded, one of them being on Communion's different views. He said that the study must stop, for it looked like an emergent church to him and conflicted with his teachings.
Seth loved the spiritual self-education of those Sunday evenings and the close community that had been built, and for the first time in his walk with Christ, he realized that he had no one to whom he could appeal the Pastor’s decision. When he emailed the church planning network to inform them of his situation, their response was, “It sounds like you have had ample conversations and meetings that have resulted in not being able to find common ground with [the pastor] who is the Lead Pastor, theological gatekeeper, and final authority within [the church]… I would encourage you to continue to check your heart and this meeting you are having to Scripture and be faithful to what you feel God is calling you to.” The pastor gave Seth the choice of submitting to church authority or leaving, so Seth left that church too, wounded and distrustful of “church” with the thoughts of, “I don’t know where I belong.”
It wasn’t until he began listening to EWTN on his night shift as a watchman for the SAM (Seattle Art Museum) that he began to covet what he heard. His Mother, Dixie Moore, had recommended EWTN to him since she was learning about Catholicism. Listening very early in the morning, Seth heard Catholics expressing their joy in their Christian faith. He stated, “I found myself hearing person after person saying how much they love being Catholic; I’ve never heard someone say ‘I love being Presbyterian.’ ” He added, “I envied the depth of feeling and emotion these people had in their love of God and other people. These were solid Christians who understood their place in the world, and I wanted that. I also learned about the Catholic World View and the consistency of the Church’s teaching; it all held together and made so much sense—things like why abortion and contraception are wrong.”
His next move was to a new apartment in Ballard, WA. Three blocks down the street was St. Alphonsus Parish, and still never having set foot in a Catholic Church, he called the office number to find some answers.
Months later, on Easter Vigil 2014, after a full course of RCIA teaching and under the sponsorship of Sister Mary Aloysius (SOLT) from South Korea, Seth Moore was confirmed into The Catholic Church. He received his First Communion—his first real communion of the true presence of his Lord. Seth states, “Most Catholics do not realize what they have; this amazing treasure handed down for centuries. The Catholic Church is such a wonderful gift, and through it, we receive the greatest gift, Christ in the Eucharist.” Seth now has the real body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus coursing through his veins and the blood of Mary too, for life is in the blood!
Seth Moore is but one of many former Protestants/Evangelicals who have come into The Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. Since the 1990s, over 600 Protestant ministers have joined, too, often with huge consequences. Most have lost their retirement benefits since they left their denominations, and many more have lost family and friends who have turned their backs on them. But why?
Why give up the comforts of the Protestant denomination for the rigors of Catholicism? Seth knows the reason well. “The Protestant minister gives a LONG sermon each Sunday hoping to give you something from it,” he says. “In the Catholic service, the main emphasis is The Eucharist.” He experienced this first-hand from a recent morning mass at his church. A dirty, disheveled, homeless-looking man sat in the church's back as Seth sat down. The man’s ratted appearance caught Seth’s eye and made him a little nervous. But as Seth watched this poor person go forward and take Communion, he became keenly aware of Jesus’s words, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Seth added, “I realized that as we ate the same bread and drank from the same cup, he ceased to be just some homeless guy, and I saw that he’s my brother, and I felt real love for him. We’re in the same family because communion unites people in the deepest way possible."
Perhaps one of the most remarkable testimonies I have ever witnessed about the Hand of God on His Church is the fact that our Saint Cecilia Catholic Church Parish (my church) grew over this past year without a full-time priest since our pastor, Father Emmett Carroll, died in July 2013. Within the Protestant Church, I have never seen that occur, for the minister and his/her sermons are the focal point of each Sunday. Christ and Him crucified and risen from the dead within the Catholic Church is the sole purpose. Partaking of the Consecrated Eucharist is the main reason for each mass. In the Protestant church, it is a man’s or woman’s thoughts: in the Catholic Church, it is The Man. So it is no wonder that watching old, new, blacks, whites, Asians, and Indians go forward and receive Jesus through the Eucharist produces such a feeling of gold and riches. The bottom line is: If you are reading this, “There is GOLD in them their hills, and as The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The Church is the goal of all things…” (CCC 760)
Now Webster’s Dictionary defines pay dirt as “soil, gravel, or ore that can be mined profitably.” That is the gift we have in our Catholic Church. However, it is up to the miner (us) to take our mining tools and sift to find precious gold. The ore is there: the miner has but to go after it. As a former atheist, Jennifer Fulwiler stated upon her search for faith in The Catholic Church, “I was looking for a church where I saw the hand of God.” In the Catholic Church, she saw His Hand running through it, sustaining it for over 2000 years. So get your tools and start digging. Catholic, you possess pay dirt. Go after the riches you’ve been given and treasure them.
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.