From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy:
In the last few weeks, Fr. Allen has been conducting a question and answer session about the Catholic faith. He has been willing to address any questions or concerns people may have about the faith. One of the purposes of these sessions is to encourage Catholics who have left the active practice of the faith to return to their spiritual home. I think it is fair to say that most of us have friends, relatives, siblings, co-workers, or neighbors who have fallen away from the Church. But no matter how long they have been away, they can always come back. They can start coming to Mass. They can start becoming part of a parish community. They can start participating in the life of the Church. As disciples, we are challenged to assist those who are considering a return to the Church. They need our guidance; they need our support; they need our encouragement; they need our prayers.
The Catholic publication, Our Sunday Visitor, recently cited many reasons that influence the decision of people to return to the practice of the Catholic faith. Some return because they have acknowledged mistakes and seek forgiveness and spiritual healing. Some return because they want their children to have a sound spiritual and moral foundation. Some return because they want to be part of a faith community and to have a sense of belonging. Some return because they truly want to help others and realize that the Catholic Church offers many opportunities to touch the lives of others. Some return because they believe that the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth and grace. Many return because they feel an intense longing for the opportunity to encounter Christ in the Eucharist. They yearn for the spiritual nourishment that comes when they receive the Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharist has been cited as the number one reason people come back to the Church.
As disciples of Christ, we are challenged to truly live our faith. As we begin this new year, one way we can do this is by inviting and encouraging our loved ones and friends who have fallen away to return to their faith. We can pray for them, reach out to them with a helping hand, and welcome our brothers and sisters back to the Church we love.