|IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: |
Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for people who were born Catholic but have drifted away from church attendance. They might go to a Christmas Mass, but feel a bit lost and out of place. Parishioners so involved in the celebrations might not offer the welcome they should.
Come Home for Christmas is a new initiative from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales which includes resources for parishes and visitors. Posters and invitation cards to appeal to different audiences can be downloaded from: http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Features/Christmas-Outreach-to-non-Churchgoing-Catholics.
There is also a website for those wanting to explore reconnecting with parish life: www.comehomeforchristmas.co.uk
The promotion of the resources follows the launch of a national tour in York on Saturday 12 November called ‘Crossing the Threshold’ which was held at English Martyrs Church and brought around 140 people together for prayer, fellowship and discussion. The day also included a main talk and practically focused workshops.
Bishop Terence Drainey (Middlesbrough Diocese) attended the day and said: “The ’Crossing the Threshold’ Regional Evangelisation Day was exciting. It was good to see so many there, far more than were expected. It was also good to see people from different parts of our region.”
“At the end of every Mass we are told to go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. All of us who have been baptised and confirmed have been given a share in the mission of spreading the Word and building up the Body of the Church. In essence the content of the resource day showed us that the mission is on our doorsteps and we can bring the Gospel into our lives and the lives of those we meet through simple gestures.”
“One of the most important ways is by inviting people to come and see, to come and meet the Lord and also by accompanying them in friendship.”
“It was good to be in York and to be sent out to continue the great work of sharing the Good News with those who are open to and seeking their way to the Lord.”
Bishop John Rawsthorne (Hallam) also attended the day and presided at the Mass. In his homily he said: “It is important that we strive to do our best to respond to the call to reach out to non churchgoers mindful that they and all our efforts are in God’s hands. It is His work and our task is to prayerfully listen to his prompting and direction.”
Sheilagh Preston, a parishioner from Mother of God, Sheffield (Hallam Diocese), attended the day representing the National Board of Catholic Women. She said: “It was an exceptional day for all. I went away elated. I felt we were on the move in responding practically to the needs of those we love and are concerned about. Listening to peoples stories was emphasised repeatedly on the day and I think this is essential.”
Four more tour days are being offered in 2012 covering: 4th February (2012) in Birmingham, 3 March in Crawley, 28 April in Westminster and 23 June in Cardiff.
For more information and bookings please contact Home Mission Desk, 020 7 901 4818, email email@example.com Also 0770 939 1998.