It’s Never Too Late: A Story of Confession After 40 Years Away from the Church

The most common prayer request we receive at Relevant Radio® is from listeners asking us to pray that their loved ones return to the Catholic faith. With more than 10% of Americans identifying as ‘former Catholics,’ it’s likely that you know someone who was raised Catholic and no longer practices their faith.

As a part of the New Evangelization, Relevant Radio works each day to bring Christ to the world through media. And that particularly includes baptized Catholics who have ‘lost a living sense of the faith’ and ‘live far removed from Christ and His Gospel.’

While this work is accomplished partly through the work of many Relevant Radio hosts, associates, donors, and listeners, the main actor in this work of evangelization is the Holy Spirit. And if you have a loved one who has been away from the Church for so long that you have given up hope of their return, then a recent episode of The Inner Life™ will show you that nothing is impossible for God.

During an episode focused on the Holy Spirit, a listener named Janet called in to share how the Holy Spirit used Relevant Radio to bring her back to the Church after 40 years!

Janet told The Inner Life host Chuck Neff and spiritual director Fr. Don Sawyer, “Thank you for this program. I did have the Holy Spirit move me in a profound way. After 40 years of not going to Confession, after listening to Relevant Radio for four years and learning more about my Catholic faith, one Saturday I was in the car and I had this overwhelming need to go to Confession.”

Janet shared that this instance happened six years ago, but she remembers it clearly because it had such a profound impact on her life. Despite being away from the Catholic Church for decades, she stumbled upon Relevant Radio one day and was hooked.

“I remember how I first learned about Relevant Radio, getting lost on the tollway and seeing your sign that said, ‘Talk Radio for Catholic Life,'” she said. “I was lost and then I turned on the radio and I didn’t shut it off since. But it took about four years for me to do that. And many times, listening to your program I would have to pull over because I would just have tears in my eyes. It would just make me cry.”

Janet explained that after listening to Relevant Radio for years, one day it reached a tipping point and she felt that she needed to go to Confession and return to the Catholic Church.

“I couldn’t get it out of my head. I knew I had to go to Confession,” she explained. “That day I must have called five churches to see if there were any Confessions available. I had one priest that answered the phone and I told I hadn’t been in like 40 years. And he said, ‘Just come.’ And I went and I had probably a 2-hour Confession with him. And it changed my life.”

So if you have a loved one who has been away from the Church for some time – don’t lose hope! The Lord works in mysterious ways and Janet’s story shows that even someone who has been away from the Church for decades can find mercy, peace, and grace through the working of the Holy Spirit. Despite the obstacles, the Lord can find a way. Let Janet’s story be one of hope to you.

“I hadn’t been to a church in 40 years. I didn’t even know who to call. I just picked up my phone and looked for Catholic churches and started calling. I am a total practicing Catholic now. I go to Confession regularly. But this compulsion to go – I had to go. I had to go that day. There was something driving me and I had to find the Church.”

Do you have a loved one who has been away from the Church for years? Or are you someone who has been away from the Church, but found your way back through Relevant Radio? If so, consider becoming a partner in our mission of evangelization by supporting our Reach Out and Respond Pledge Drive this week. Relevant Radio has been an instrument of the Holy Spirit in the lives of many listeners, and you can help continue our life-changing work by making a pledge today!

Listen to Janet’s full story of Confession below:

The Inner Life airs weekdays at noon Eastern/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.