I (Hugh) never imagined that I would end up with a Catholic site for Evangelicals. It was not at all my plan. In 2000, I thought that such a thing would ruin my Christian music career, which had been primarily fueled by Evangelicals. My bass player, Dennis had just received a certificate as an Evangelical pastor; my keyboardist was a Fundamentalist, and I had a Polish Catholic drummer who was kind of lapsed, and didn't go to regular Mass. I was very active at my Parish, read the Bible regularly, and I did the Rosary every morning but I didn't know much about theology. I was more interested in the "heart" stuff than the theology. Our band became quite well recognized on the Christian music circuit and got a lot of radio airplay.
I did an international Evangelical Christian TV show. As I was preparing, 10 minutes before the show, the interviewer asked me, "where do you worship." I said "I'm Catholic." Her face dropped and she said "why?". I didn't answer. After recovering her composure she said "uh ...well I guess that's where you found Jesus...eh?" I politely nodded. She didn't ask me that question in the interview.
After a concert at an Evangelical Church, a lady came up and said, "that was so amazing, you are so much in the Holy Spirit, where do you worship?" I innocently said "Our Lady of Perpetual Help." There was a long pause, as if I had just passed some vile gas, but I could see her trying to be polite. I was kind of stymied and didn't know what to say when she started rattling off Bible verses.
Through the Christian radio station, I was introduced to a married couple who were music promoters. They booked Avalon, a top US Evangelical Christian band, to do a tour in Canada. They asked me to open the show. I was ecstatic. They came to my apartment and we spent 3 hours together talking, laughing, praying, singing, writing/recording songs, and planning the show. At the end of the night the husband said "that was terrific, what a beautiful evening, let's get together next week to work out the details. By the way, where do you worship?" I said "I'm Catholic." They looked at each other and looked at me, and the wife started saying something about the "traditions of men." As they were leaving, I asked about the next meeting for the concert. They said "we are not sure what we are going to do yet but we will be in touch." Soon after, I heard an ad for the concert on the radio, another band was opening for Avalon.
A turning point for me was when Dennis, my bass player, refused to play a big Polish Catholic gig with me for 1200 people, because he couldn't "in good conscience," endorse the theology. Being a new Christian, and having grown up in an atheist secular home, I never realized the enormity of the issues between Catholics and Protestants.
So I asked him what he was having difficulty with. I was not at all versed in my Catholic theology. I called up John Pacheco, an apologist who I had met a few months earlier, and asked him to help me understand these doctrinal things. I summarized one of John's articles in an email to Dennis, and he started asking more questions about other topics. I never knew there was such a thing as "defending the faith." I began reading authors like John Pacheco, Dave Armstrong, Art Sippo, Patrick Madrid, Karl Keating, Scott Hahn etc... I was fascinated but I found traditional apologetics a bit too oppositional to give to a friend. I amalgamated my favorite arguments and peppered them with my own analogies, jokes, and language that I had learned in the Evangelical circles. My emails to Dennis got more frequent as we hashed out the theology and I learned what my Church taught. My emails became little web pages that I carried on my Pocket PC as a reference. Every time the Catholic/Evangelical thing came up, I said, "just a second, let's see what the Bible says," and I pulled out my Pocket PC with the tiny web site of references.
To my surprise, Dennis Girard and his Evangelical wife Angelina, converted to Catholicism, and they had their marriage blessed in the Catholic Church. My drummer Tommy got serious about the Church and is now going regularly to Mass and started practicing chastity. His girlfriend, Gail, converted to Catholicism and they got married in the Catholic Church. Darren our keyboardist was very anti-Catholic, but now understands that we are Christian. All this has happened simply from learning what my Church taught and laying these things at the feet of my friends who didn't understand the Church.
A Catholic apologist friend, Justin Hanekom, had a web server and suggested I put my little web site online for the public to see. I was nervous to do this because I thought it would kill my music career, but in prayer I felt God calling me to do it anyway. To my astonishment it became quite popular and I moved it to a professional server and reserved the domain name www.CatholicBridge.com. I used the slogan "Building Bridges - Healing Division."
Many Evangelicals sent me emails saying that they appreciated being able to look up Catholic topics in an Evangelical friendly environment.
God fooled me. Instead of killing my Christian music career, the site launched it into a whole new direction. Catholic organizations found me on the web and started sending me around. I spent the several years flying to Guam, Saipan, India, Central America, Europe the US and my home in Canada.
Lately I've been resting my voice. My wife is a former Evangelical who says my website contributed to her conversion, and that it was the faith she saw on my site that attracted her to me. It has been a tremendous journey building this website, and I love the Catholic Church now more than ever.
Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way.
We have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together,
we give you absolute permission to move.