Never too Late, a Conversion Story

 We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.   My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe

Never too Late, a Conversion Story

 By George Thatcher

George Thatcher is a remarkable man.  After a successful career in publishing and banking, he has continued his active involvement in helping others. Three times he was recognized as the outstanding citizen of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As an author, his fourth book, A Decade of Beach Walks, is a compilation of his daily newspaper columns in which he demonstrates his delightful Thoreau-style appreciation of nature.

          As a fifth generation Episcopalian, he has been an international church leader, serving as Honorary Lay Canon of St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Anglican Diocese of Northern Malawi, Africa,  and heading for ten years the Bishop’s Fund for World Relief.  Then he recently converted to our Roman Catholic Church.  Here is his story:

           For me, traveling the road to Rome has been a long spiritual journey, beginning many years ago when an Anglo-Catholic rector, brimming with liturgical riches, came to the parish. Then there was the reading of Newman and Chesterton and Merton, of Muggeridge and Graham Green, of Teilhard and Dulles, and many more.  These were the days of the old American Church Union (does anyone remember?) of which I was a member. There we share a dream of the reunion of the Episcopal and the Roman Churches.

          In recent years the Lord’s call to me became frequent and more insistent. After much prayer, numerous retreats, consultations with family and friends, now an old man, I made the well-considered decision to spend the last years of my life as a Roman Catholic. I could have remained in my parish protected for a time from the drama that is unfolding elsewhere in the Episcopal Church. But I fear the wave of change sweeping the church endangers all of us who hold firmly to traditional beliefs.

          Why is it that modern churchmen devise new ideas, rejecting the teaching of the early Church fathers?  Does one of the modern revisionists have a mind or faith comparable to those of Athanasius or Augustine or Aquinas?  Yet they are eager to discard centuries of orthodox Christianity for contemporary materialistic philosophies.

          With wide open eyes, I see that the Roman Church in the U.S. is beset with problems, too, but it affords me an orthodox haven. This pope and the next assure continuation of church stability, rooted in Biblical verity and traditional values. In my new church I will simple be one of more than 50 million members in the U. S, and one of the nearly 2 billion worldwide. The catholicity appeals to me, and the spiritual leadership offered by the pope. the diocesan bishop, the pastor and luminaries like Cardinal Avery Dulles, Fr. Richard John Newman and others is something I need and want. In my 81st year, I embark on a new religious journey!

         (What is your story you would like to share?)


Interesting sayings 

More blessed is the person who greets his neighbor than the one who waits to be greeted by a neighbor or stranger. Don’t tell a person what it is to be a Catholic. Show by your joy and enthusiasm for the faith and your love for all of God’s people. Christianity is caught more than taught.

                                                Brother Ed Adams, F.S.C.


The Savior becomes all things to all, according to the need of each. To those who ask for joy, he becomes the vine; to those who wish to enter, he becomes the door; to those who are under the weight of sin, he becomes a lamb, a lamb slain for them. He becomes all things to all, but he remains nonetheless what he is.  

                                                Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (386)

I am ready to meet my Maker — but whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

                                                Winston Churchill (1965)

Oh most merciful One, teach me to throw a party for the unworthy, knowing that I may be the guest of honor.

 Sister Macrina Weiderkehr, O.S.B.



Mother Teresa’s seven steps to spiritual achievement:

1.     Slow down

2.     Make some room.

3.     Open your eyes

4.     Put great love into the small things

5.     Do not tire

6.     Remember — it’s faithfulness, not success

7.     Leave the rest to Jesus.


My new blog friend

Thomas Peters, who lives in Washington, DC, is a splendid young lay Catholic with graduate degrees in theology. He edits the excellent American Papist blog, which I strongly endorse.  For your enjoyment, check it out. 


News flashes

–  Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is placing 3 to 1 odds that the Pope will resign because of the allegations of child abuse in Germany. (Comment: Paddy, you ought to stick to horse-racing.)


Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of  Washington has close its 80-year-old foster care and public adoption program to avoid the risk of having to accept same-sex couples as foster or adoptive parents. (Comment: This is like a kennel keeper who decides no longer to care for his hundred pedigreed dogs because he might have to accept a cur.)

–   In New Zealand the Atheist Bus Campaign is fuming because of the rejection of its ad, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”  And here in USA, Annie Laurie Gaylor, of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, is protesting the issuance of a Mother Teresa stamp. (Comment: Annie Laurie, don’t you have something better to do, perhaps like empting the dishwasher?)

                                      A Shocker

Regardless of my thoughts about pro-life and pro-choice, this account sickened me, because I recognized it as a sign of today’s materialistic me-me-me society. I learned of a woman, desperate to have a child, who finally conceived with medical assistance.  Three months later, when she found she was carrying twins, she didn’t want the trouble and expense of caring for two children, so she had one of the babies aborted.

At the Vigil Mass for my much beloved friend, Msgr. W. Louis Quinn, even though the coffin was closed, I could picture this saintly man shaking his head in protest when a member of his family (who evidently had read my column “Communion-Juicy Fruit Flavor”) chewed gum throughout the service, even while receiving the Sacred Host.


Recommended reading

 –   In the March 3 issue of America, John J. DiIulio, Jr. author of Godly Republic, informs us about our prison problem.

–    On page 56 in The Economist (March 13) there is an excellent article about the problems of the Church in Germany.

 –   You will enjoy Father Mark Plaushin’s article, “St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, 1609-2009” in the March issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review.


  (Let me and others know about a special non-profit organization you support) 


Other recommended Catholic Blogs

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (UK)

Catholic and enjoying it.

Connell Society for a Good Time

Deeps of time

Insight Scoop

Intentional Disciples

More than enough


Communiqués received 

Our mother has few weeks left and we are planning her final Mass, one that is joyful, uplifting and soothing. Mom always had an unwavering affection for the Blessed Virgin; therefore we are trying to find readings and music that would reflect Mom’s embracement of her Catholic faith and joy of life, her service to others and her strength..   


Thank you for your note, letting me know of your kind mention of our work in your blog.

                   Steve Mosher, President of Population Research Institute

As Quintanilla says there are cultural differences. However, we Catholics can be happy that the Mass in whatever language is seen and experienced permitting different Rites because it believes in cultural approach and in the enrichment of Catholic faith in different forms of worship. I belong to Syro Malabar Rite which is confined to the State of Kerala in India. When we grow in the universal faith of Catholicism giving utmost value to family and its sacredness, there will be joy and satisfaction.

                   Kalapurra Thomas

Just found your blog. Nice place you got here! By the way, last I saw, the presidential dollar coin had “In God we trust” inscribed on the edge of the coin rather than either side.

                   S. Murphy

I found young Hugo’s article about the English and Spanish Masses to be thought provoking. Let’s hope our priests conducting the English services can learn from this.

                   Adam Wentworth

Your blog is one of my favorites on BlogSpot.

                   Jim Woods “56, male, last seen 1 day ago”

Young Hugo’s article confirmed the virtues of immigration. For example, 37 of the 40 of the finalists in the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search were children of recent arrivals from China, Japan and India. What does that tell you?

Roger Bertram

My favorite religious priest, layperson or organization

Special recognition is deserved for Mark Neilson, editor of Living Faith, Daily Catholic Devotions, published by Creative Communications for the Parish.  For many years, I have started my day by reading Living Faith, which never fails to inspire me. It is like benefiting from a brief visit with some of the best of today’s theologians.  I recommend that you subscribe to Living Faith (

Thank you, Mark, for your outstanding contribution to our Catholic community!

(Now, tell me about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference.)


 The first to send the right answers to will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics.

1.     Which three disciples did Jesus take with him when he went up to the mountain where the Transfiguration took place?


2.   Who was the pope who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?


3.     Who is the patron saint of brewers?


Chuckle time

In a remote Irish parish on the final day of Lent, the parish caretaker felt obligated to go to confession.  His sin was having stolen the priest’s watch. Inside the booth, in a disguised voice, he confessed he had stolen something, and the priest said to be absolved, he had to return it.

          The caretaker said, “Instead, I’ll give it to you.”

          “But I don’t want it,” replied the priest.

          After a moment of silence, the man said, “I have offered it to the man I stole it from, and he doesn’t want it.”

          “In that case,” the priest said, “I absolve you of your sins and you can keep whatever it is.”

Special Intentions List

As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.

Juanita Caldwell, Isola Todd, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Tom Medved, Eileen Grotsky,

Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb, Violeta Zepeda, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo,

Sharon McPike, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby,Russell Edwards, Rev. Lawrence Boedt, Gertrude Goldstein,

Rev. Stephen Huffstetter, Hugh Cannon, Eric Moore, Joan Barrett,

8-year-old Michael Fotta and his parents, Lolita Alvarez\,

Camilus Musselman

As you note, because of miraculous healings, several names have been deleted and added to our Deo Gratias list.



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