Why Choose Catholicism In 2018?
By Ryan “Athanasius” Hicks
About two and a half years ago, I became a Christian again, after a fifteen year period of agnosticism. This decision to follow Christ has led me to some pretty unexpected conclusions. At first, I attended some Baptist churches in Tokyo, and then I found my temporary home in an Anglican church. My faith in God was definitely nurtured in these places, but I still felt that it was not enough. I felt unsatisfied.
Raised in a Protestant home in Alabama, Roman Catholicism always came across as strange and possibly even idolatrous. To be frank, if you had told me a few years ago that I would be joining the Catholic Church, I would have called you crazy.
However, it is my duty to follow my conscience, reason, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to wherever the evidence leads. I began to read the writings of scholars like Scott Hahn, G.K. Chesterton, Rodney Stark, and Edward Feser. These were very helpful in convincing my intellect of Catholicism’s plausibility. On the faith side of the coin, my study of Catholic Miracles such as the apparitions at Guadalupe and Fatima, as well as the revelations given to St. Faustina and the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, did much to make me feel that Catholicism offers a living, vibrant faith. Finally, St. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body completely changed the way I thought about what it is to be human. After much study, prayer, and careful contemplation I became convinced that the Roman Catholic Church indeed has the fullness of the Truth.
And so on September 16th, after much patient teaching from Sr. Flor and Adelfa, I received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and undertook the Rites of Conversion. I was officially accepted as a member of the Roman Catholic Church and given a new name: "Athanasius" (for St. Athanasius the Great, my patron saint).
I am aware that I am returning to the Church during one of its most contentious periods in modern history. I see the latest abuse scandals and other issues plaguing it, not as my cue to flee the faith, but as a call to action. In the coming months, I hope to work closely with the Tokyo Catholic community to see what concrete measures we can do to assist in the renewal of the Church. Over the course of its two thousand year history, the Church has undergone many similar cycles of corruption, cleansing, and renewal. I am deeply humbled to have been called by God at this particular time so that, in some small way, I can be a part of that process.
The Peace of Jesus, our Savior be with us all!
Note: For those interested to know more about Ryan Hicks’ researches on the Catholic Faith, please refer to: