Father Richard John Neuhaus, formerly a Lutheran pastor, was received into the Catholic Church on September 8, 1990. He went on to become one of the most prolific writers and religious commentators of our time. His sponsor, Father Avery Dulles (eventually Cardinal Dulles), himself also a convert, told him, “No matter how long you live, to Catholics you will always be a convert priest.” Neuhaus rather liked the association.
One distinction that surprised Neuhaus, however, was the difference between the way that many “cradle Catholics” experienced the Church, and the illuminating discovery he and fellow converts like Dulles had made. Often, he encountered Catholics more than willing to question and dissent from particular Church teachings. He described how many perceived Catholicism as “a constellation of inherited beliefs and practices to be treated respectfully in the process of outgrowing it.”
The Church today is still basking in the glow of numerous joyful souls that have been newly baptized and received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Committing their entire lives to this fresh encounter with God and His Church, they number among the thousands who embraced the Catholic faith, celebrated across our diocese and throughout the country. They remind us, in the most engaging and practical way, that Catholicism is not simply a set of rules and restrictions to be followed. Our Catholic faith is nothing less than a discovery of the Pearl of Great Price, and a life-changing encounter with God at the wedding banquet of the Lamb.