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Catholic Converts Tell Their Story of Eucharistic Reckoning

Last month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to craft a teaching document “On the Meaning of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” the draft of which they will discuss in November. 

Before the vote, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, said during discussion that, speaking as a convert, “It was really the Catholic teaching on the Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence, that drew me into the Catholic Church.” Over the years, many high-profile converts have shared the same. 

Bishop Conley and two other prominent Catholic converts — best-selling author and Scripture teacher Sonja Corbitt and theologian, author and apologist Scott Hahn — share how the Eucharist drew them to Catholicism. 

From Great Books to Catholic Bishop

Bishop Conley was a college student when his immersion in the Integrated Humanities Program, a Great Books program at the University of Kansas got him thinking about the serious questions of life, including the practice of religion. Raised as a nominal Presbyterian, he had considered himself agnostic when he entered college. Exposure to the transcendentals — truth, beauty and goodness — now led him in search of God.

“I started hopping around to different churches,” he told the Register, listing Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopalian. “Most churches I attended had some form of holy communion.”

He then took a class on the teachings of the Catholic Church taught by a priest using the Baltimore Catechism, which he liked for its simplicity and clarity. He was particularly taken by the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Eucharist. Among the churches he had visited, only Catholics believed in transubstantiation (Orthodox share similar belief), whereby through the words of consecration — the same spoken by Christ at the Last Supper — the Eucharistic species become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, although the appearance of bread and wine remain. 

“That struck me,” Bishop Conley said, “that Christ is truly present, objectively.” 

He was also moved that the Catholic Church faithfully follows Christ’s command to the apostles, “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19). “In other words,” Bishop Conley said, “continue this.”

Read more at National Catholic Register

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