The most common prayer intention we receive at Relevant Radio® is that loved ones who have stopped practicing their faith would come home to the Catholic Church. It is especially a heartbreak for many parents that their children rejected the faith they were raised in, and that the seeds of faith they sowed did not take root.
That’s why it is such a blessing to have so many Relevant Radio listeners call in to tell us that they were once that fallen-away child, but the Lord drew them back into relationship with him and the Church. These stories are a great source of hope and joy, and show that the Lord is always calling his children back to himself, even if the journey home takes a while.
Recently on The Cale Clarke Show a listener named John shared his incredible story of how he came back to the Church – after being away for 45 years!
John explained, “I left when I was 18. I went to Catholic school from K-12 and was taught by the Benedictines, but I left the day after I graduated high school. But I had sort of a Holy Spirit moment 45 years later, when I was 63. I’m 68 now and have been back in the Church for five years. I’m very active in my parish and in 12 days I will graduate with my Masters degree in Theology and I hope to teach.”
It was no doubt painful for John’s mother to watch her son not practice the Catholic faith he was raised in, but her faith and example played an important role in his conversion. Cale asked John to share about the “Holy Spirit moment” that brought him back to the Church.
John told Cale, “I have a friend who is in a 12-step program, and he was celebrating his 20th anniversary of sobriety. That 12-step program was held in the back room of a Catholic Church, and he invited me, and I went. The meeting started 15 minutes after 4:30 Mass lets out on Saturday, and I got there early.”
“Mass was still going on, and it was May and the recessional song was Immaculate Mary, which was my mom’s favorite song of all time,” John recalled. “I heard a female voice – I don’t know if it was my mom, the Holy Spirit, or the Blessed Mother – but it said, ‘It’s time to come home.’ A week later I went to Confession and the priest said, ‘Welcome home.’ And here I am now.”
John’s story is a testimony to the impact that a parent’s prayers, faith, and witness can have on their fallen-away children, even after their death. The Lord never stops pursuing his children, and we should never stop hoping and praying. But it is also a testimony to how easy it is for a fallen-away Catholic to come back to the Church.
Cale pointed out, “If you are a Catholic who has wandered away from home, it is so easy to come back. It’s so easy. You’re just one good Confession away. No matter what you’ve done, you can come back home. The Church will welcome you back and God will welcome you back with open arms and embrace you with his forgiveness.”