The Power of a Warm Welcome

Many listeners say that Relevant Radio® has helped them learn more about the Catholic faith. This has led them to pray more, attend Mass more, and also share their faith with those who criticize the Catholic Church. With several call-in shows like The Patrick Madrid ShowGo Ask Your Father™and Father Simon Says™Relevant Radio listeners can grow in their knowledge of Church teaching, Church history, and apologetics so they can share and defend the Catholic faith.

And while knowledge of the faith and apologetics is very important, Patrick Madrid recently shared a story that shows an unexpected but powerful way to defend the Church against those who criticize her.

“Let me tell you a story. Something I witnessed years ago,” he began. “I was doing a weekend parish seminar, like I had done hundreds of times before all around the country. And during the Q&A period, a man got up.

Patrick explained that the man looked to be in his 70s, and when he got up to the microphone he explained that he was Catholic most of his life when he was younger. However, decades ago the man got in a verbal confrontation with somebody in the Church, it made him mad, and he wound up leaving the Church over this argument.

“He described how for the next 35 years he was not only anti-Catholic, he was bitterly anti-Catholic,” Patrick explained. “And he would take every opportunity that came his way to harangue a Catholic. If he met a person and found out that person was Catholic, he would harangue that person with arguments about why the Catholic Church was so evil, why you should leave, and so on and so forth.”

Patrick continued sharing the man’s story by telling how the man one day met a young man who was Catholic, and started in on his usual rants and criticisms. But this time, something different happened.

“The guy didn’t argue with him, he didn’t get angry, he didn’t seem offended,” Patrick said. “He didn’t engage with him. He listened, but he didn’t say anything until the man was done with his potshots at the Catholic Church. And then the man described how this other man, this stranger he had just met, he put his hand on his shoulder and he said, ‘Well, I don’t know what to tell you about all that. But I can tell you that you can always come home to the Catholic Church. The doors are open, we’ve left the light on for you. And we would welcome you back in the Catholic Church.'”

“Instead of getting angry, the other guy just invited him back home, and this man who was telling the story at the microphone at the seminar, he just broke down and he started crying,” Patrick recalled. “And as he started composing himself, wiping away the tears and getting a little choked up, he said in that moment, ‘It was like all the ice around my heart melted. It was as if a dam burst.'”

“He said he just realized that he didn’t need to be out of the Catholic Church. And all of his efforts to try to tear down and attack Catholics was his way of venting all of this internal toxicity that he had for all those years. So he said he went and he found a Catholic priest that very day, he made a good Confession (the first Confession he made in 35+ years), and he came back to the Catholic Church.”

But Patrick shared this story not simply because it was a feel-good moment, but because it was something everyone can learn from. He said, “One thing I learned from it, I share this with you. The Bible says, ‘a gentle response can turn away wrath.’ It’s easy when somebody gets in your face and starts insulting you to you face, criticizing the Catholic Church, or telling you why you’re a doofus for believing Catholic teachings, etc. It’s easy to get your dander up. It happens to all of us.”

“So the lesson I learned from this gentleman was to not be going into battle mode and responding angrily to somebody, as tempting as it is,” he explained. “And it is tempting. But he may well never have come back to the Catholic Church had it not been for the gentle response. He said, ‘I never expected anybody to invite me back to the Catholic Church. And when that guy did, that’s all it took.'”

Listen to Patrick tell the full story below:

The Patrick Madrid Show airs weekdays from 9:00 – noon Eastern/6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.