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Personal conversion stories shared on the web

12 marzo 2012

March 10, 2012. (Romereports.com) Nowadays it’s not really hard to find religious websites…the challenge lies more in actually  finding one that many people can relate to. Seminarian David Rider says, a website called whyimcatholic.com, does just that, by relying on the power of personal testimonies.

David Rider
Seminarian North American College (Rome)
“When you read these stories, you are not reading about theories or doctrines, you are not reading a Tretus on the Church’s teaching on some issue, you are reading about a person who was a certain way, whose life was in a certain darkness who had an encounter with Christ in some way and whose life was transformed afterward.”

The website shares the personal stories of people who converted to Catholicism. Everything from Buddhist, Protestants, Jews and even atheists.

The website was created by Steven Lawson, a 24 year old American from New York. He says he was inspired after going through his own spiritual journey, which included losing his faith in God and even becoming agnostic. Eventually, he found God again, in the Catholic Church. He then looked on the web, trying to find stories he could relate to, but he couldn’t find any.

David Rider
Seminarian North American College (Rome)
“The way Christianity spread in the early centuries of the Church, it spread because individuals told other individuals about their experience of being transformed by the risen Christ. So it was one person telling his story to another person.”

The website is based in New York, but its impact traveled all the way to Rome, Italy.  Rider has been attending Rome’s North American College for two years now. He randomly came across the website and was struck by its simplicity and its powerful message.

David Rider
Seminarian North American College (Rome)
“Its a way of gaining encouragement. If you are living in, or working in an environment where the church is being attacked, or where things seemed demoralized, or where many people are loosing their faith, this website is a way to plug into the stories of people whose faiths is very active and very vibrant in their lives.”

Rider says reading the website, deepened his priestly vocation, by highlighting just how much impact one person and one testimony can have.

David Rider
Seminarian North American College (Rome)
“This just shows you why the Church is trying to capitalize on social media, social communication. We need to use the web. It’s being used for bad things, and we need to use it for good things.”

With so many reports about the decrease of practicing Catholics, Rider says it’s refreshing to read stories about people who actively choose to join and in some cases even re-join the Catholic Church.

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