We have heard from time to time of efforts to bring lapsed Catholics back to the practice of their Faith. WDTPRS thinks this is very important.
To that end, I read in – of all places – The Guardian that the Bishops of England and Wales will launch an effort to bring Catholics lapsed in the Faith back into the fold. Re-Evangelization?
My emphases and comments:
Catholic church plans campaign to re-evangelise inactive members
National tour of talks and workshops to help clergy and parishioners reach out lapsed membership of five millionRiazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
The Roman Catholic church in England and Wales has launched its first outreach campaign to get people back into the pews, with its lapsed membership thought to number as many as five million.
It started at the weekend in York with Crossing the Threshold, a national tour of talks and workshops to help clergy and parishioners re-evangelise friends and family. Around a million people regularly attend mass on Sundays, but church leaders say there are many more who are baptised but do not go to church. Kieran Conry, bishop of Arundel and Brighton, said no-shows were more likely to do with laziness and children’s extra-curricular commitments than controversies surrounding the pope or clerical sexual abuse scandals. Conry said: “We have something we’re trying to market and we’re just reminding people there’s something that can bring you happiness, satisfaction and friendship.” [Not to mention salvation.]
“There are probably people out there who would like to come back but don’t know how to go about it. There is a fear of standing out, of doing the wrong thing.” [A good point.]
The tour will also take in Birmingham, Crawley and Cardiff. Catholic churches could be intimidating places, said Conry, and it was important for those taking part to offer a personal invitation to lapsed Catholics to come back. [And there it is. The Personal Invitation! I have mentioned this many times in these electronic pages. Moreover, the great Fr. Finigan, p.p. of Blackfen, His Hermeneuticalness himself, in preparation for the patronal feast of his parish, Our Lady of the Rosary, asked his flock to invite people to come with them for their celebration. He said that the turnout this year was bigger than ever. It works. Invite people!]
“Some congregations can be entirely white, middle-class and wealthy and if you don’t fit in you might not feel comfortable. I don’t think clergy are always friendly and sometimes Catholics appear quite cold. [On the other hand, some people do like to be left alone.] We had a tradition of not speaking out of respect: you said your prayers and minded your business. We have to be careful about that.”The York event attracted around 140 people. Topics for discussion included how to reach out to someone and how to make “small, effective gestures in parishes“. One of those attending was 73-year-old Shelagh Preston, from Sheffield. “It’s important to discover why people don’t go to church, to listen. Most of they time they can’t be bothered, they’re doing other things. It’s not about hating God.
“Some people do come back and they have to be welcomed back. We’re not as good as we should be at that.”
Evangelisation was not about standing on the corner with a Bible or knocking on peoples’ doors, she added. [Hmmm.]
Last year the Pope opened a new Vatican department to try to reinvigorate belief among Catholics in developed countries where church attendance has dropped.
The Church of England, along with other Christian denominations, heavily promotes Back to Church Sunday, an annual event to reconnect with the lapsed.