April 23, 2017 by eneubauer
Easter is such a wonderful, inspiring time of the year and remains an important Holy Day celebration within the Catholic Church and the wider Christian community. Easter Sunday is also a time when new Catholics are received into the Church and infrequent church attenders find themselves back in the pew, sitting among family and friends. A hearty welcome to all.
On Church Attendance:
The influence of secular culture has created an indifference to church attendance and is reflected in this statistic, “The share of U.S. Catholics who reported attending Mass at least weekly fell by nearly half – from 47% to 24% – between 1974 and 2012.” I am grateful that Easter remains a draw for many and I remain hopeful that this day and season will be catalytic for new Catholics, regular attendees and those estranged from the Church – let’s all draw near to God, together!
For me Easter is both an important reminder of the suffering, death, burial and resurrection
of Jesus Christ and the anniversary of my conversion to Catholicism. Alongside my wedding day and the birth of my children, this moment was one of the most important events in my life. Coming into the Church was catalytic to the rejuvenation of my faith, a launching pad for learning and a reminder that we are called to live the faith outside the four walls of the sanctuary.
I have the privilege of teaching sessions at the Right of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) at my local parish. As a convert, the RCIA community remains important to me. This is the space where I received my welcome into the Church and served as a training ground for understanding the Catholic faith. RCIA taught me that learning the faith is a life-long journey and a purpose of faith was to share it with others.
“Faith in Christ is not a private commitment to be shared with a select few. Our Catholic faith is intended to purify self and simultaneously to act as a light for all to see. Through YOU faith points people to Christ!”
If this is true then we must become familiar with our faith so we have the necessary tools to live and share it with those we come into contact with. I often state while teaching, “If all you do is come to class, hear the message and do nothing with it once you leave, it will eventually have little to no effect. However, if you take what is learned and, using the tools at our disposal, familiarize yourself with the Catholic faith then living and sharing it becomes natural, comfortable, and second hand.”
Finally, I remind folks why familiarization with “the tools” (list below) is important. Conversations will happen where the answer to the question is unclear or unknown. If we know how to use the tools the Church gives us then we will be able to journey with the questioner and find the answer(s). Because knowledge of the faith is important I am using this space to share tools and resources I have found to be most useful.
Tools of the Trade:
- Early Church Fathers
- Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship
- Devotional Practice: Liturgy of the Hours & the Rosary
- Confession (Regularly)
- Mass Participation – (Regularly) Grab a prayer card & booklet – have fun!
- Connecting to Community – We don’t live out our Christian faith in isolation. Friends are important. Participate in parish life.
- Spiritual Direction – Look for and find a priest or religious that can meet with you from time to time about your journey of faith. So much fun.
- Love your Family & Friends – Stick together. Rough waters and smooth sailing ahead.
Questions, comments and your thoughts are always welcome!