About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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Using the shoddiest, sleaziest material we have for the purpose of glorifying God is not very sound theology or even very good common sense. […] (In general, when you see a diminished seventh chord in a hymn, run.) And these chords are usually used in bad hymns in precisely the same order in which they occur in “Sweet Adeline.”
— Paul Hume (1956)

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Reasons for Hope
published 5 June 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

E THINK of kids as only going to confession with their parents on Saturday at 4 PM or with their Catechetics classes. But I saw something new. At St. Peter Chanel Church in Southern California the Oblates of the Virgin Mary have 5 Daily Masses so those who work can go early in the morning or at 6:30 PM and others can go during the daytime. Taken to visit the Church on a Friday at 6:30 PM I couldn’t believe the confessional lines full of adults but also teens and also kids. Of course it’s easier for them to have confessions before and during every daily Mass because they are a community of priests, not one lone priest exhausted by the overload in his parish. Just the same it was a wonderful thing to see.

Another grace is the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. She is brought, for a week to the homes of parishioners in our parish here in Huntington Beach, CA. by the Legion of Mary. I volunteered to be part of that ministry because many decades ago the Blue Army brought her to me and I got amazing graces for myself from those prayers. I arranged to have her come to my daughter’s house here. Even though my daughter, 50 years old, doesn’t go to Mass, she loves Our Lady. She immediately suggested that we watch the famous movie about Fatima the night before and have each one in the family carry a rose in procession to the statue.

I got this extraordinary letter.

Dear Dr. Chervin,

I was doing an internet search on being raised an atheist and converting to Catholicism and I came across your story. I am heartened to hear of someone raised with a background like yours who was able to successfully find God.

I was raised in a militant atheist household – both my parents were raised as conservative Jews who became atheists in college and followed the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

I also did not fit in with any group growing up – there were no other objectivist families, and I felt alienated from all religions as my parents taught me religious people were either evil or stupid.

During my adult life (I am currently 29) I have tried without success to become religious. In the beginning I felt guilty just walking into a Church, because religion was so denigrated in my household growing up.

I’ve explored a variety of religions very superficially, but I was always distracted from becoming more involved.

I have achieved what some may call a “successful” life – I am married to a non-practicing Catholic man, have a stable job as a government attorney, and recently gave birth to my first child.

The more I achieve, however, the worse I feel. A strong connection with God is sorely missing in my life. I am also very distraught by the idea of not raising my son with a religion, thereby putting himself in the same position I was in as a child.

Recently, I have been drawn more and more to Catholicism. I hope to enter RCIA at a local church this fall. Every time I take a step towards connecting with God, I wonder if my upbringing makes it impossible for me to convert.

Hearing how you converted to Catholicism despite your upbringing gives me hope that it is possible for me to do the same.

(Please pray for this woman. I am omitting her name).

I wish everyone who reads this would consider writing your own conversion or reversion story if you have either of these experiences so that it could go on webs or other places.

A student in a class of mine turned this provocative phrase: “The scandals of the Church are like Jesus naked on the Cross.”

Someone else wrote that meekness facilitates empathy.