There’s just something about a conversion story.
Some are dramatic, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus, or the deathbed conversions of the likes of John Wayne or Gary Cooper. Some are simple — brought on in the quiet of prayer or through the example of a friend. All, however, have the power to captivate and inspire.
Perhaps it’s because conversion isn’t something for only a few of us. Each of us is called, by God’s grace, to a deeper conversion — to draw closer to Christ and his Church. Though not everyone is going to have St. Paul’s “flash of light” moment, each of us has a story to tell. Even Pope Francis in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”) reflected on the pontiff’s own call to conversion:
“Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy,” he wrote. “It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization” (No. 32).
For the past several years, OSV Newsweekly has highlighted the conversion stories of our readers who have converted (or re-verted) into the family of the Faith. We’re continuing the tradition this year, and I invite you to submit your personal conversion stories for consideration for publication in our April 20 (Easter Sunday) In Focus.
Submissions should not exceed 250 words, and they must include the reader’s name, city, state and date of entry (or re-entry) into the Church. Readers can submit stories by mail to Our Sunday Visitor Conversion Stories, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (please put “Conversion Stories” in the subject line). It would be preferable if readers could also include a photograph of themselves. The deadline is March 26, but early entries always are welcome.
Continuing along the theme of reader participation, we have another opportunity for your input. A few weeks ago, I wrote about an African priest who meant a great deal to me and had influenced my life considerably. In response, many of you wrote to tell me of the priests in your own lives who had helped you grow in faith. I was so touched by your comments that the newsweekly staff decided to put out an official call for our readers to share the stories of the priests who have made a positive impact on your lives. We will select the best submissions and compile them in an upcoming issue this spring.
As with the conversion stories, please keep submissions to a maximum of 250 words, and include your information, as well as the full name and parish and diocese of the priest about whom you are writing. If you are emailing, please note “Priest Profile” in the subject line. The deadline is April 16.
Questions? Email email@example.com.