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Come Back to the Catholic Church

Thinking of coming back to Church? Not Sure? Check this out...

 

“Return to me with your whole heart…with fasting, weeping and mourning. Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting in punishment." (Joel 2:13-13 )

God doesn't tells us to return to him when we have our act together or when we're caught up on our housework or bills or when we're getting along with everyone we know. He just wants us back...however we are and wherever we are in our lives right now.

If you haven't been to church in awhile, you're not alone. If you're looking for the church where all the perfect people go and never question their faith, this isn't it. Examining your faith means you are growing in your faith and seeking a better understanding and more personal relationship with God. That's a good thing. It doesn't happen in ten easy steps...it's a lifelong process. But here at St. Monica, we have a six-week program that can help get you on your way. It's called...

Embracing Catholics Home

Summer 4-week session: Tuesdays July 5-26, 2016
Fall 6-week Session: October 11, 18, 25, and Nov. 8, 15, 22

Groups are small, typically four to six participants. We can't tell you the exact format, because much of it is tailored to your individual needs. (Don't know what you need? Don't worry...we'll talk about it.) Most people find that coming back to the Church is not an event as much as it is a process. It takes some guts, some thinking, some prayer, some discernment and a lot of letting go. Typically it also involves a little pain, mixed in with a little laughter and a lot of "what took me so long?"  

Some of the sessions are more structured, but at least two of sessions are tailored to your specific faith interests. Here's a rough overview of how the six sessions typically come together:

Week 1: Welcome/Overview/Reversion stories from two previously "fallen away" Catholics

Week 2: The Eucharist and a "Walk Through the Mass"

Week 3: Participants' Selection (prayer, Sacraments, social issues, annulment, etc.)

Week 4: Participants' Selection

Week 5: Teaching on Reconciliation

Week 6: Catechism of the Catholic Church/Parish Ministries

Come on back and see what God has in store for you. (We can't tell you what he has in store, because it's personal...only He know what he has in store for you, and when you develop that personal relationship with Him, he'll show you. )

10 Reasons Catholics Come Back to the Church

Last year one in ten Catholics who left the church came back. Although everyone comes back for their own reasons, Catholics Come Home tells us these are 10 most common reasons Catholics said they returned to the church:

Number 10: Because they want meaning in life.
In the hustle of today's busy lifestyles, lots of people suddenly realize that their lives have lost a sense of meaning or purpose. They begin to ask themselves, "What is my life all about?" Why do I do what I do?" There is widespread confusion in our culture with regard to morality and truth. The Catholic Church offers a beacon of light that gives meaning to our existence and leads to eternal life if we persevere.

Number 9: Because childhood memories surface.
Some people say childhood memories of feeling connected to God surface in later life. They begin to ask themselves, "Is it possible to recapture that simplicity of faith? Can I ever really believe that God is watching our for me?" The secularization of our society leads people away from the spiritual side of themselves. The Catholic Church offers BOTH religious and mystical experiences that feed the heart, the mind the body and the soul AS WELL AS an array of active lay ministries that interface and interact with the secular world in order to make it a holier world to live in.

Number 8: Because they made mistakes.
Some people become burdened with the weight of accumulated sin. They want to get rid of the guilt of having hurt others. They begin to ask themselves, "Will God ever forgive me? Is there any way I can start over with a clean state?" You can always tell God that you're sorry, but through the sacrament of reconciliation you have a complete assurance of God's forgiveness. In addition, you are reconciled not only with God but with all the members in the Church, the Body of Christ, (CCC 1440) and given the grace to start again with that new slate. The favorite aspect I like about this sacrament, is that for all sins I confess to the Lord {the priest representing the Lord}, I am given extra graces not to commit those particular sins I confess again. I still may struggle, but Our Lord is there to continually assist me.

Number 7: Because they need to forgive others.
Some times people hold on to anger and resentment toward individuals who have hurt them deeply. Maybe it was a family member or friend. Maybe it was someone: a sister, priest or something, in the Church.

  • "Will God ever forgive me?"

    Our modern culture condones and encourages anger and revenge. But hatred and bitterness are spiritual cancers that eat at the heart of a person. The Catholic Church provides the opportunity to seek God's help in forgiving others, even when the other person does not ask for forgiveness or does not deserve it. The ability to forgive is a gift that opens a person's heart more fully to God's love and peace.

Number 6: Because they want to be healed.
Some people carry deep spiritual wounds. They struggle with anger at God over bad things that happen -- a terminal illness, a debilitating injury, a broken relationship, mental or emotional problems, an act of violence against an innocent person, an unexplainable accident, some natural disaster, the death of a loved one or some other deep disappointment. The Catholic Church cannot change these situations or explain why they happened. But there are people in the Church who can assist in the process of spiritual healing and help you get on with your life.

Number 5: Because the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth and grace.
Many people who leave the Catholic Church are blessed by the experience of worshiping for a while in various Christian denominations. But some people come back when they realize that Catholicism has the fullness of truth and grace. The Catholic Church was not founded by a single reformer or historical movement. It is not fragmented by individual interpretations of Scripture. There are thousands of Christian denominations, but only one Catholic Church. This Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit and protected from teaching error on issues of faith and morals from generation to generation for some two thousand years. Our Lord Jesus promised: (foretold Isaiah 22:15-25) Matt 16:13-20; Matthew 18:15-18 (in this verse the word is church, not community); 1 Tim 3:15

Number 4: Because they want their children to have a faith foundation.
Some people return to the Catholic Church because they recognize that raising children in a culture that promotes "doing you own thing" can lead to disaster. Children need to experience the spiritual dimensions of life. They need a structured system of belief and a firm moral foundation that goes beyond human logic and reasoning. People return because they want a solid foundation upon which their children can build their lives.

Number 3: Because they want to be part of a faith community.
Many people seek a sense of belonging. But community is more than just friendly people, good sermons, and interesting activities. A Catholic Christian community is a group of people who gather around the person of Jesus Christ to worship God and live in the light of the Holy Spirit. Catholics come together at Mass, in the Sacraments, and in parish activities to pray, to celebrate joys, to mourn losses, to serve others, to provide support, and to receive strength for daily life. A Catholic parish offers all of this - and much more - to people who recognize the importance of walking with others toward union with God.

Number 2: Because they want to help other people.
There are lots of opportunities within the secular world to volunteer. What's missing is the spiritual dimension that service within the Catholic Church provides. It's more than just a "feel good" activity. It's part of the "great commandment" (See Mark 12:28ff) to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. In reaching out to others, Catholic volunteers become instruments of God's love. The Catholic Church offers opportunities to touch the lives of people at home or around the world.

Number 1: Because they hunger for the Eucharist.
[The Eucharist is the number 1 reason that people come back to the Church.]

Many people come back to the Catholic Church because they feel an intense longing for the Eucharist. Sometimes it happens at a wedding, a funeral, a baptism, a First Communion, or a Confirmation. Sometimes it happens when people are alone or facing difficulties in life. They describe it as a deep hunger for the spiritual nourishment that comes when they receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. This hunger for the Eucharist triggers a recognition of the presence of Christ in other Sacraments, which draws them even more deeply into the practice of their faith. It is, without exception, the number 1 reason that people come back to the Catholic Church.

Still here?

Hey, if you're still reading this, chances are, you're already feeling a strange inner pull. That pull is a spiritual longing...God trying to draw you back to Himself. But God never forces. God only invites. Whether or not you return to the Catholic Church is a decision that only you can make. And no matter how long you've been away, you can always come home. You can start coming to Mass. You can be active in a parish community. You can enter into the faith far more deeply than when you left.

If you want to find out more about Embracing Catholics Home, click here or contact Sr. Anna Marie Megel in the parish office at (317) 253-2193. Come on home!

Catholics Come Home is a national organization founded by a former advertising executive who left the advertising industry to create a ministry to help call Catholics home to the church. Click here to learn more about this program.