Thanks for your generous support of Missionary Fr. Noel O’Meara, CSSp. You contributed more than $3,200, enough to buy seven camels which, as Fr. Noel predicted, will soon be seen crossing the desert with flags on their hump saying, “Transfiguration.”
In last week’s bulletin I urged you to be alert to inviting home those who have left us for a while. I promised some ideas on how as a parish we might do that. First, some guiding principles: We are inviting people who may be interested in returning to the Sacraments. We are not trying to persuade anyone to switch parishes. ”Always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have,” says the First Letter of Peter (3:15), “but give it with courtesy and respect….” We are not judging others or intruding in their lives. If opportunities arise, we invite. Pope Francis says, “An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral.” Our witness is to be people of joy!
Here are some possible approaches:
1. A good conversation opener can be something that Pope Francis says or does. He says the first step is “personal dialogue, when the other person speaks and shares his or her joys, hopes and concerns for loved ones….”
2. Be a good PR person for your faith and parish. When appropriate mention how important your faith is to you or something that impresses you at Transfiguration: the prayerfulness of the liturgies and the church, the choir, Communion to nursing homes weekly, friendliness, outreach to the needy in many different ways.
3. If someone mentions a Catholic relative who is sick or homebound, ask if the person would like to receive Communion and/or the Sacrament of the Sick. Offer to contact a priest.
4. Invite a new neighbor to come to Mass with you or the Scripture classes or the Men’s Club or Willing Hands & Prayerful Hearts Knitting Group or to help at Francis Outreach or the Fish Fry or any Christian Service project.
5. If you know someone who used to come to Mass, tell them that you miss them. No pressure.
If you have returned to the church after being away for a while, share your story with me and why you decided to return. Without using your name, I can use your experience to invite others. Your suggestions are welcome! [[email protected], [email protected]]