A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
NOTES FROM DEACON PAREJA
November 16, 2019
July 23, 2015
This is a great time of year, especially for us who live in Minnesota. I would say we ar probably among the best at packing in all the outdoor activities we can into this one fleeting season we call SUMMER! Besides the grad parties, weddings and anniversary celebrations there are ball games and marathons, fairs and church festivals, family reunions and vacations to fill our days. The months of June, July and August provide us with time to re-connect with family members and friends, and perhaps around a picnic table or campfire, provide opportunity for some heart to heart talks. Heart to heart conversations have the potential to influence how we live life. We may be challenged by them or we may welcome those conversations as a blessed time to discuss important life issues.
Over the last number of years as I have assisted priests in the pastoring of people, the conversation about loved ones who no longer participate in Church has, in my opinion, increased considerably. Is the lack of church attendance just a sign of our times? Is it that we now live in a world more interested in consumerism than in our relationship to God? Or, like so many say, “Just because I don’t go to church, doesn’t mean I don’t have a meaningful relationship with God.” That may be true and it certainly is not our job to judge others or decide for them what they need. However, as Catholic Christians and disciples of Jesus, it is our responsibility to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Does that mean you are required to preach to family and friends whenever you are with them about how they need to “get back to church” or return to the practice of their faith? I would caution you against that. In fact, what I would advise is that you take your concern first to God in prayer, asking him to provide a “right” time and place to speak to loved ones or friends. And when you are gifted that time by our loving God, speak gently and with love inviting the people you care about to become part of the Christian community by actively participating in the Eucharist and parish life. Dare to share from your heart what being Catholic means to you. Then, offering any assistance they might need, encourage them to have a heart to heart with God and let them know you will be there for them.
It is important for you to know that the Catholic Church can offer much needed guidance to someone who has “been away” for a while. Often people feel that they would not be welcome or that somehow they are not “holy enough” to be part of the Church. What they need to understand is that none of us are holy enough, that we are all sinners making an effort to become who God intended we be. The Catholic Church, through the practice of attending Mass and receiving the sacraments invites us to become one with God. We who do attend Mass and receive the sacraments regularly are not better than anyone else; we have simply been gifted the way to God through the love and invitation of others. We need to extend that love to all of God’s people.
If a heart to heart with one you love includes the invitation to return to the Catholic Church or to seek membership with the Church, please know that the RCIA process is available to all who desire it. This is the Rite of Catholic Initiation of Adults. Please contact me after August 1st for more information. Classes will begin again at the end of September. If you desire help in your “heart to heart” about our faith, I am here and willing to assist you.