How this Episcopalian’s own book convinced him to become Catholic

The Petiprin family with Fr. John Hammond. Courtesy photo.
The Petiprin family with Fr. John Hammond. Courtesy photo.

.- An Episcopalian priest set out to write a book on finding and understanding the Gospel’s truth. Now, after he and his family have converted to Catholicism, he says they have found it.

Andrew Petiprin, his wife Amber, and their two children Alex and Aimee were confirmed into the Catholic Church on Jan. 1, at St. Patrick’s Parish in Nashville, the city where they have lived for the last 18 months.

“I am grateful for 16 formative years as an Anglican, and 8 as an Episcopal priest, most recently as Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Tennessee. But I am thrilled that the Lord has called me, my wife, and our children into full communion with Rome,” said Petiprin on Twitter.

Petiprin told CNA that his conversion was heavily influenced by questions raised in the process of writing his book “Truth Matters: Knowing God and Yourself,” which was released last April.

“Even though I was writing about doctrines that applied to different Christians in different traditions, finishing the book was a real emphasis to examine the questions again about whether I should be Catholic.”

The book discussed foundational elements of Christian doctrine: the Trinity, Christology, the Holy Spirit, atonement and salvation. Petiprin said that after the book’s completion, a major question arose – where does the authority come from to verify the truth of these subjects?

“It really forced me back into questions I had been asking myself for a long time, namely, where is truth ultimately to be found?” he said.

“For me, it came back to the papacy, it came back to the Church…The Roman Catholic Church is [the] primitive Church that the doctrine has developed faithfully within over these centuries.”

Petripin had set out to write the book as a project for his parishioners, but his goal for the book have since changed. He said he now hopes that it will lead people to seek out more catholic resources.

“Now, I really hope that people read the book and then they get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that they begin exploring the Catholic faith.”

“I intend to write a follow up to it called Catholic Truth Matters and explore some particularities of why it’s not enough to be just okay with Christian doctrine but also to see how the practices of the Catholic Church are the place where Gospel is lived out at its fullest.”

Petiprin told ACI Prensa that he was heavily influenced by the death of Saint John Paul II, and more recently, by devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“In 2005 when Pope Saint John Paul II died, I had a very strong feeling that I was connected to him and to the Church and that I would one day be Catholic. It turned out to take more than 13 years,” he said.

“Over the past several months I have begun praying the Rosary and asking for Mary’s prayers. Loving Mary is all about loving Jesus. Her maternal love for me inspires a deeper love for her son, my savior.”

Petiprin said he is “overwhelmed with the welcome I am receiving from Catholics. Their faith is real, and they can’t help but pour out enthusiasm for people like me who have been called to share it with them. I hope in time that I can share that same level of welcome with others coming into the faith.”

While married Anglican ministers who convert to Catholicism are permitted to pursue the priesthood, Petiprin says he has not yet decided if he will seek ordination.  

“I am open to discernment about eventual formation for the Catholic priesthood, but I am eager now to find good employment and live the Catholic faith with my family as a layman.”

Tags: Catholic News, Conversion, Andrew Petiprin