An Invitation to inactive Catholics to "Come on Home"
Our Mission Statement
We, as Catholic Christians of Annunciation Church, being committed to Eucharistic celebration and worship of the Triune God, affirm our commitment to reach out to all our brothers and sisters with Christ's love. In patience, understanding, and humility, we welcome with warm embrace all who would join us on our pilgrim journey to new and eternal LIFE.
Catholics Returning Home is a "no-strings-attached" support-and-information resource for inactive Catholics who have an interest in reconnecting with the church. If you have wanted to resume your participation in a faith community, but feel uncertain, confused, or discouraged about your status, this group may be jsut what you have been looking for.
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Lapsed Catholics called back
Theresa Callahan hadn't been active in the Catholic church for years, but when her daughter turned 7, Callahan decided it was time to baptize her and prepare her for her first communion.
Now, after returning about four years ago to the faith of her childhood, Callahan, the faith formation director at Our Lady of the Annunciation Church in Florence, is helping to welcome others back into the fold. The parish center will offer a six-session program for Catholics who have been away from the church for a while. The 11/2-hour sessions will begin April 3 and will be held weekly.
St. Mary's Church in Northampton will also offer two similar six-week sessions, beginning April 4 and May 9.
"One of the areas we thought really needed attention was people who had been away but were interested in coming back and getting their foot in the door," Callahan said. "This is a ministry. We know there are people out there who feel sorry they're cut off from the church."
Callahan said many "lapsed Catholics" drifted away from the church in their 20s, but want to return when they marry or have children. Grandparents who ask, "You're going to get that child baptized aren't you?" are an impetus, Callahan said.
The sessions will provide updates on changes within the church and ease the return, whatever people's reason for leaving, Callahan said.
As a returnee herself, Callahan said she has a different take on the phrase "recovering Catholics."
"I'm recovering the faith I grew up with," she said.
With the recent stories of priests sexually abusing children, Callahan conceded that the program's timing is difficult. But the parish had already decided to offer it last year.
"I haven't heard anyone say they were leaving the church over this," Callahan said. "The people who are coming back aren't coming back because of the institution of the church. They want to come back to the things that are familiar to them. All of us feel comfortable coming home."