The #1 prayer request we receive at Relevant Radio® is for listeners’ loved ones to return to the Catholic Church. And since about 50% of Millennials who grew up Catholic have left the Church, the requests often come from parents asking us to pray for their children. But what happens when it’s the other way around? How can children help bring their fallen-away parents back to the Church?
Melissa Guerrero recently stopped by Morning Air® to share her own story and offer advice on how children can help bring their parents back to the faith.
Guerrero, who returned to the Church in 2006, shared her faith background with listeners, saying, “I grew up very much a Catholic in name only. I was baptized, I went through my First Communion, I did Confirmation and everything. And then somewhere in my teens I just kind of fell off the wagon, as they say, when it comes to faith. I reverted when I was 21, and as soon as I saw the difference returning home made in my own life, and seeing my parents struggling, I thought I would love to have them join me back in the Church.”
As parents get older, children have many cares and concerns for their aging parents’ well-being. And for Guerrero, it was not only the physical needs of her parents, but their spiritual needs as well, that was a cause of concern.
“Just for the state of their souls, I was very concerned about that,” she said. “And when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, that’s when I really said, ‘Alright, I want my father to leave this earth being closer to God.’ And that’s sort of where my mission began.”
Guerrero explained that she started small by simply focusing on shared interests and looking for ways to incorporate faith into those experiences. She shared that she and her father both enjoy soccer, and she would often point out players who were Catholic, or expressions of faith that the players incorporated into their celebrations.
“I would try to plant little seeds in there,” she said. “And personally, I would try to fast and I would pray the Rosary and just really try to do what I could on my end to ask God to please help me get my parents back to the Church. It was mostly praying, fasting, and trying to find little windows of opportunity to really talk to them about the faith. Trying to remind them of what their childhood was like, and the beautiful memories they had of growing up in the Church themselves.”
Conversion is always the work of the Holy Spirit, and Guerrero pointed out that witnessing how important her relationship with the Lord was in her own life was helpful in opening up dialogue with her parents. She said, “I think what worked best was trying to find the common ground. Finding things that they wouldn’t normally associate with faith. And not pushing them so much, because I think if you push too much they’ll be more hesitant about returning or feel too pressured. So it’s mostly trying to gently love them back into the faith.”
If you are praying for your parents to return to the Catholic Church, Guerrero offered her encouragement, saying, “Definitely never give up. Especially with prayer. Even if you’re very busy and you only have like five seconds in the day, just get your prayers in before you pass out from exhaustion. Just say a heartfelt prayer like, ‘God, please help me be an instrument for You to get my parents back into the faith, back into the Church.'”
Listen to the full conversation with Melissa Guerrero below: