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Israel: vicar of Hebrew-speaking Catholics discusses his conversion

Catholic World News - February 27, 2012

Father David Neuhaus, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics, has discussed his conversion from Judaism to Christianity.

“It was at the age of 15 upon first arriving in Israel that I made the acquaintance of one of the great spiritual figures at that time in Jerusalem, a Russian Orthodox nun who was the abbess--the mother abbess of a convent--her name was Mother Barbara,” he recounts.

Father Neuhaus continued:

I did not go to see her because I was interested in Christianity but rather because I was interested in Russian history and meeting her was truly a meeting with Jesus Christ. I did not believe in too much at that time and religion did not interest me in the least but what attracted my attention was the great joy with which she spoke about anything and it was a joy that provoked me to ask her: "Why are you so joyful? You're 89 years old, you can't walk, you can't move, you are living in a tiny little dingy room. What makes you so happy?" And that provoked her in turn to give witness to her faith. That simply trapped me; caught me.

After promising his parents, who were refugees from Nazi Germany, that he would wait a decade before converting, Father Neuhaus was baptized as a Catholic at age 26. “I was regularly going to adoration long before I could even take Communion,” he said.

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