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 | By Adam Cross

What do I say when someone asks, “Why are you Catholic?”

Imagine this: A friend, classmate or teammate asks you, so why are you Catholic? You have 30 seconds to give an answer. What do you say? Maybe you think, because my mom wants me to be, or my family is Catholic or it kinda makes sense. Maybe you describe how you have seen God work in your life or how you love learning about the saints and receiving Christ in the Eucharist weekly. No matter where you are with your faith right now, God is calling you to honestly and intentionally have an answer to the fundamental question:

Why are you Catholic?


Your hope

In his first letter, St. Peter says: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” (1 Pt 3:15) When thinking about why we are Catholic we can start with this simple question: “Where is my hope?” Do you believe things will ultimately be alright? Do you trust that your suffering matters or that God cares? These personal questions are key to knowing why we hope and trust in Christ as Catholics. They can also reveal to us areas of doubt and fear that we can take to prayer, reflection and study. Giving a meaningful witness of faith involves knowing our experiences of sufferings, joys, hope and fears, and being able to invite God into them as we share them with those around us.

Your story

When giving reasons for our hope, we can also remember that we don’t need a perfect story or a blissful life. Sometimes the best witness is one of struggle but continued faith when we don’t have all the answers. St. Paul VI

once said, in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, that “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” (#41) In this we are reminded that we can simply give people a glimpse into our lives and our faith. It can involve sharing our struggles with school, self-comparison and perhaps loneliness, and where we find comfort through God in the dark places of our lives. Perhaps this means sharing that we have been Catholic at times, “just because our mom said so,” but that we have also personally encountered Christ and his Church amid sin, imperfection, healing and hope.

In the next column, we will continue to discuss more “reasons for our hope” and ways we can witness to our faith in a simple yet profound manner.

Adam Cross is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California, and he worked as a youth minister at his local parish for 8 years. Adam loves to integrate the Catholic faith into his therapy practice.

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