Following Holy Spirit to Catholicism

By Charles Albert
The Sooner Catholic

About five years ago, Brian Cornish, a Baptist minister with a master’s degree in divinity, started to explore questions about the origins of the Christian faith. His journey would include much research and would culminate with him resigning his job and joining the Catholic Church at Easter 2017.   

Cornish, with his wife Kristen and five children, are now members of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Lawton. He is employed as the maintenance technician at Saint Mary Catholic School in Lawton and also serves as the youth director at Holy Family Catholic Church.

Father Phil Seeton, pastor at Holy Family, said he believes the parish is blessed to have Cornish as the youth director.

“Brian brings new and fresh ideas to youth ministry. Often we Catholics lag behind non-Catholics in methods and expressions of youth ministry.” 

Prior to moving back to Lawton to be near family, Cornish was living in Beaumont, Texas, had begun doctoral studies and was enjoying his 13th year in Baptist ministry.

Cornish was brought up in a very active Baptist family in Lawton. His dad is a lifelong Baptist minister. His only contact with Catholics as a youth was on the softball fields in Lawton. He recalls the Catholic teams “crossed themselves when batting.”

Cornish thought, “That isn’t going to help them in softball.” Reaction to Cornish’s conversion from family and friends ranged from shock to anger to sadness. His father is supportive, though remaining firm in his own Baptist commitments.

What motivated Cornish’s conversion to Catholicism was extensive research into early Church history and the writings of Catholic converts such as Christian Smith, Francis Beckwith and Scott Hahn.

Cornish concluded that Protestantism, although having many positive points, had deviated from the faith handed down from the days of the earliest Apostles. He goes so far to say, “If you believe the Holy Spirit blessed the Apostles and the early Church, it doesn’t make sense that the Holy Spirit would withdraw his guidance until Protestantism came along 1,500 years later.”

Cornish is aware of the faith crisis facing the youth of most Catholic families in society.

“It is not just a Catholic issue but a Christianity problem, across every denomination. Children will follow the example of their parents; Christ must be the most important part of a parent’s life in order to serve as an example for each child in this society.”

Cornish and his wife acknowledge God’s faithful provision and are grateful for the love and support shown by their RCIA class during their transition.

Father Brian Buettner, pastor at Blessed Sacrament, said, “Brian Cornish is a man of deep faith and conviction in the Lord. It has been great to welcome Brian, Kristen and their children to our parish. Their family came to us just after entering the Catholic Church and it has been great to see their enthusiasm continue to grow and slowly spread throughout the parish.”

Charles Albert is a freelance writer for the Sooner Catholic.