Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Louisiana High School Catholic Convert Has A "Baptist" Zeal

I saw this in the latest edition of the Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Newspaper. It is on page 14. It is in PDF form and there is a picture of this young man. I will post in full below.

Who says I can't post positive stuff :)

Catholic High School senior Joe Gipson, who converted to the Catholic faith this past spring, said he has been privileged to see the heart of two faith denominations before choosing the one which he believes is best for him.

Although Gipson was raised in the Baptist faith, he and his two brothers, Jimmy, 27, and Jonathan, 20, have been educated in Catholic schools. He is the only one of the Gipson siblings to become Catholic.

While he was a student at St. Alphonsus Ligouri School, Greenwell Springs, Gipson was treated with respect even thought he was not Catholic.In second grade he started learning that different faith denominations have differentdoctrinal ideas when the Catholic students prepared to receive Communion.

He asked his parents, Barry and BillieGipson, “Do I need to get ready for first Communion?” and they explainedthat receiving first Communion is a practice of the Catholic Church.
Gipson said that when he attended Mass at his school, he thought, “Wow, I get to see all this,” meaning the mystery of the Mass. Yet he also thought of himself as “looking in from the other side of the glass.”

When Gipson became old enough to join a church youth group, he participated in both St. Alphonsus and Comite Baptist youth group activities.

He attended services at Comite Baptist Church inGreenwell Springs and St. Alphonsus on Sundays.

Gradually, Gipson became more involved with the St. Alphonsus youth group. When he began high school, Gipson conveyed his interest in becoming Catholic to his parents and others. He assuredthem that he was not abandoning a faith, but wastaking on a new one.

Gipson said after he decided to become Catholic,the question was when. Then he entered his junior year at Catholic High and saw other youth at St. Alphonsus and Catholic High getting readyfor confirmation, he knew the time had come.

He went through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program and received thesacraments of initiation at theEaster Vigil.
A member of the St. Alphonsus Youth Group for four years, Gipson participates in the Catholic faith with “Baptist zeal.”

He joined in mission trips to Mexico with other youth of the diocese, which has inspired him to consider pursing a medical career; attendedWorld Youth Day in Australia, where he experienced “the best feeling of the world” andhe joined 500,000 other youth attending a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI. He also learned about Catholic leadership at youth conferencessuch as Abbeyfest and Stuebenville in Thibodeauxhas helped organize retreats for eighth-grade students as a member of the St. AlphonsusYouth Board.

At Catholic High he is parliamentarian of the student council; a member of the HI-Y Club, he was elected the state’s Hi-Y lieutenant governor. He is also a studentambassador.
Having many friends, Catholic and Baptist, Gipson said he often answers questionsand clears up misconceptions Catholics and Baptists haveabout each other.

He helps teens who have been Catholic all their lives appreciate their faith more.Catholic teens sometimes ask him why he was drawn from a faith denomination whose services generate excitementwith uptempo music and zealous preaching to a religion that “says Mass.”

Gipson said, “I look at them and say, ‘You guys don’t realize how lucky you have it to have been born Catholic and be part of a global faithcommunity.’”

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