A former Anglican’s journey: “We look forward in faith”

A priest from the Archdiocese of Washington and FOB (Friend of the Bench), Fr. R. Scott Hurd has been tapped to be the Vicar General for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.  He’s well-suited for the job — being a former Episcopalian priest himself.  He’s also the Executive Director of the Archdiocese’s Office of the Permanent Diaconate.  To top it all off, he’s a husband, a dad, and the author of a fine book called “Forgiveness.”

Anyway: the Washington Post just published a thoughtful essay by him on his journey across the Tiber:

At a beautiful little church in a small Texas town in 1996, I celebrated my final Eucharist as an Anglican priest of the Episcopal Church. After the closing blessing, the choir and I processed out to the classic hymn, “Faith of Our Fathers.” A week later, I found myself in Washington, D.C., a layman sitting in a pew, anticipating my first Sunday Mass as a Catholic, and wondering what to expect. But when the opening hymn began, I knew that I was in the right place. The hymn? “Faith of Our Fathers.”

It was as if God was reassuring me that my entrance into the Catholic Church was simply a continuation of the spiritual journey I had begun as an Episcopalian. I still cherish the memory of that day. Not only did it confirm for me that my future rested in the Catholic Church, it also made me grateful for my Episcopal past. I am a “cradle” Episcopalian. It was within the Episcopal Church that I met the Lord, grew in faith, and heard a call to ordained ministry. An Episcopal high school is my alma mater, and it was at an Episcopal altar that my wife Stephanie and I exchanged our vows. As an Episcopal priest, I ministered in God’s name, preached His Word, and served His people.

My Anglican past is something I still treasure, even though I’ve been a Catholic for 15 years, and a Catholic priest for 11. In my mind, becoming Catholic wasn’t a rejection of my Anglican past; it was its completion. There were many good and wonderful things about my years as an Episcopalian. At the same time, I came to believe that something was missing. Namely, the authority that undergirds Catholic teaching; an authority I believe was given by God.

It was for this reason that I “crossed the Tiber to Rome,” as is joked, and became Catholic. Many people had taken this same journey before me, and many have taken it since. For leaving Anglicanism, we are labeled as “malcontents” or described as “disaffected” by some. But for the most part, I’ve found that not to be true. We don’t look backwards in bitterness. Instead, we look forward in faith.

You”ll want to read it all.

And, btw: Looking for some superb preaching?  I can highly recommend the good padre’s homilies.  He actually posts them every day at his blog. (Doesn’t this guy have enough to do?)

Comments

  1. I’m in the process of converting from Anglicanism. It’s taking a long time due to an annulment process; over a year now, and because of the delay I’ve been on the receiving of some online abuse.

    The abuse comes on two fronts. The first was a few traditionalist Catholics being ‘prickly’ with me purely on the grounds that my wife and I are going through the annulment process; even though they had no details of why.

    The irony is that the annulment is not in fact my own. I have been married once to my present wife and have never been divorced. My wife had a previous brief marriage when she was a teenager; which ended due to violence.

    The second attack comes from Catholic haters (and I’m talking about Christians) who use the delay to jeer at me.

    I don’t mind either of these attacks as it happens, the hardest part is going so long without being able to partake in the Sacraments. And it is hard, really really hard.

    But you know what; it’s all worth it.

    I refused a pastoral offer to be received in the Church before now; I made the decision to await the annulment, so as to do this formally and correctly. I want to do this properly.

    One of the primary reasons for being attracted to Catholicism, is the very fact that the Church has fixed rules and regulations for governance in accordance with the words of our Lord, that are not prone to be blown around by every wind of zeitgeist.

    To then opt for pastoral discretion in my own particular case, would for me personally, in some ways, undermine some of the reasoning of my initial attraction to the Catholic Church.

    You know what, once you have that revelation that the Catholic church is the one true original church of Christ; you’ll do anything you have to do, and whether any storm and adversity cheerfully.

    And when beautiful Catholic folk say to me: “Welcome home” that lifts me to the highest place, because that statement encapsulates exactly what it feels like.

    Oops sorry for pouring my heart out here…….

  2. Welcome Home!!!!!!! “I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”. Romans 8:18. Your journey is an inspiration to us “cradle” Catholics.

  3. Yay! Thanks so much ecb!

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