Man shares journey from evangelical pastor to converted Catholic

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El Católico de Rhode Island spoke with Ely Batres, a recent convert who visited the Diocese of Providence for an interview that will air on the Spanish digital radio program “Un Pueblo Que Camina.”

PROVIDENCE — A little over a year ago, Ely Batres was an associate pastor of an evangelical church. He was going through a process of several years of personal discernment, searching for the truth that led him to discover that the Catholic Church was the only church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.
This year, Batres — along with his entire family — joined the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil Mass at Saint Patrick Church in Providence, after completing the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).
“My wife and I had emigrated from Guatemala and we were having marital problems. My stepfather invited me to get involved in a local evangelical church, and that helped us improve our relationship as a couple. Little by little we became involved serving the Lord in many ways.”
Batres shared that after many years of service and improving his relationship with God, he was appointed associate pastor of the church. He thought that he had found the truth.
A few years ago when Pope Francis was elected, Batres felt God encouraging him to pray for the Holy Father with all his heart.
“In the Evangelical Church we were taught that Catholics worship idols and I was looking for a little more information about this. When the Lord asked me to pray for the pope, in my search I found a video of Father Luis Toro speaking on the Catholic Faith. He explained how Catholics do not really worship idols but rather look to symbols that remind us of the heroic life of the saints. I learned that we pray for the intercession of the saints just like we ask members of our churches to pray for us.”
Soon after, Batres and his wife watched all of Father Toro’s videos together and developed a greater understanding of the Catholic Church.
“We came to the realization that the church we were participating was not the church that Christ founded, but one of many communities that arose due to divisions among men.”
Batres explained that there came a time when the preaching of his pastor no longer touched his heart and he and his wife made the decision to enter the Catholic Church.
“We called the central offices in the Diocese of Providence and they told us that according to our address the church that was closest to us was Saint Patrick and that is how we first visited the church. After Mass, we spoke with Father James Ruggieri, who facilitated the process of preparing us to receive the sacraments and officially enter on the Easter Vigil.”
“I feel like I am on a honeymoon,” said Batres who is very passionate and thirsty to learn more about his discovered faith and open to what God has in store for him and his family.
Along with Batres, some of his close relatives and friends also accompanied him in his process are now attending the Catholic Mass with them.

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