Dear Brothers and Sisters,

One of the difficulties converts to the Catholic faith from Protestant churches experience is the lack of “fellowship”. The typical Protestant church is filled with people who have chosen that church because it suits them best. Like consumers, they select a church that fits their lifestyle, their socio-economic class, their ethnicity and educational level. It follows, therefore, that they will have warm friendships with the other people in that congregation.

The Catholic Church is different. Because it is universal it is very diverse. I am proud to look out at the congregation at OLR, for example, and see folks from all across America and from around the world of many different ethnicities, educational levels and socio-economic levels. While we are all united in our love of the Lord and our Catholic faith, we don’t all mix immediately in warm and friendly fellowship.

In addition, our congregation is spread out over three Masses on the weekend. We don’t all meet together. We try to make up for this with social and catechetical events, but it is still not as easy and natural as it is in Protestant congregations.

Therefore, I advise converts to find a sub group within the Catholic Church where they will find like-minded folks. Maybe it is the men’s group, the choir, the women’s fellowship, the youth group or the parish school. It could be the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Knights of Columbus or the Pro-Life Team. Getting involved with a sub group in the parish will help to build the friendships and fellowship which nurtures our faith and draws us closer to one another.

Finally, the closest fellowship is that of prayer. By participating in a parish prayer group, Eucharistic Adoration or joining a parish retreat, heart will speak to heart and we share closer fellowship with one another as we all draw closer to the Lord.

Your Pastor,
Fr. Longenecker