Here are the compelling stories of eleven "reverts", Catholics who fell
away from the Church and eventually came back home. Some of the people are very
well-known, like Fr. John Corapi, Rick Strom, Victor Claveau, and Jesse Romero, and others are
known only in their smaller circles. But each person's story of why he left the
Catholic Church and why he returned is a unique and moving tale of God's mercy,
love and grace.
There is one common denominator, though, among the writers of Welcome
Home! To paraphrase Archbishop Fulton Sheen, few hate the Catholic Church
for what she teaches, but millions hate it for what they think she teaches. The
defining moment of illuminating grace almost always came when our storytellers
began to examine Catholic teaching for themselves.
"I have no doubt that those who
read Welcome Home! will take from these
intriguing conversion stores a renewed spirit of
confidence and devotion. In it they will also find an
informative source of Catholic apologetics that will
especially attract those who have shared similar life
experiences in their sincere search for truth and
reconciliation with the Church of their youth, which is
indeed the Covenant Family of God where the One who is
Truth Itself abides forever."
—Fr. Bill Casey, C.P.M.
are approximately 17 million inactive Catholics in the U.S. today. This is not
just evidence of an epidemic crisis of faith, it is a summons to faithful
Catholics to bring these “lost sheep” back into the fold. With Welcome Home!
St. Joseph Communications has answered this challenge by compiling the stories
of eleven “reverts” in the hope that fallen-away Catholics will see themselves
in these stories and be inspired to return home to the Church.
writers are eleven ordinary Catholics from different walks of life, who honestly
and passionately recount their spiritual journeys in their own words. Although
three of the writers, Fr. Corapi, Jesse Romero, and Rick Strom, are well-known,
they are not celebrities and they are as genuine and down-to-earth as the other
eight. What makes these stories so powerful is that they are true and that they
describe the kinds of experiences which most Catholics today have lived through
or have witnessed in the lives of others.
similarities in the lives of the writers make these stories even more
compelling. Ten of the writers were born and raised as Catholics; they went to
Mass on Sundays and attended either Catholic schools or parish CCD programs.
Yet, they stopped attending Mass and drifted away from the Church after they
reached adulthood. Most of them said that their main reason for doing so was the
fact that they did not understand or even know many of the Church’s teachings,
including such basic ones as the Real Presence and the meaning of the Mass. They
also said that they had not interiorized their faith or made the practice of it
a part of their daily lives. Therefore, when they left home for college,
careers, or the military service, they were unable to defend that faith from the
inevitable attacks and attractions of the world. Four
of the writers, Jesse Romero, Joseph Ranalli, Scott F. Leary, and Thomas J.
Pillion, were lured into fundamentalist churches by friends and co-workers who
were openly fervent in their practice of a simple, biblical faith and who made
arguments against the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church which these
men were unable to rebut. John Corapi, Ann E. Krach, and Terese Norris stopped
practicing the faith because it was not compatible with their pursuit of worldly
success and pleasure. Confusion about or rejection of the Church’s teachings on
sexual morality, especially birth control, led others away from the Church.
the writers did not end their spiritual journeys here. Some of them returned to
the Church after hearing tapes or reading books by Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft,
Karl Keating, Pope John Paul II, and other contemporary Catholic apologists who
were able to answer the questions and objections they had about the Catholic
faith. Also, most of the authors credit other Catholics, especially parents or
spouses, with helping them return to the Church through their prayers, good
example, and attempts at gentle persuasion. In the end, they all believe that it
was the Holy Spirit, working through other, concerned Catholics, who brought
them back to the Church.
Home! is a valuable tool for evangelization which should be put into the
hands of as many fallen-away Catholics as possible. However, it is also a book
which the rest of us should read not only because it shows us why so many people
stray from the Church, which can help us dissuade others from doing the same,
but also because it reminds us that we are the ones who must assist the Good
Shepherd in bringing his lost sheep home."
Mary R. Schneider Cleveland, Ohio
Homiletic and Pastoral Review
“An encouragement to lifelong Catholics and a welcoming beacon for those
still outside the fold”
– Karl Keating, Author,
President, Catholic Answers
Victor R. Claveau,
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Lander, Wyoming 82520
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(307) 234-1234 if you have questions.