PEP Newsletter


July, 2017



A Simple Invitation

While visiting St. Margaret Mary Parish in Winter Park, Florida, I noticed the front cover of their bulletin for Pentecost Sunday.  It featured a red door with the words, “Welcome Home” scrolled across it.  Next to the picture was a statement entitled, “A Simple Invitation.”  It read, “Statistics show that a simple invitation is the most effective way that people feel welcomed to return to the Church.  Is there someone in your family or circle of friends who has been away from the church?  You would like to invite them back, but you don’t know where to begin.  Below are some frequently asked questions to help you get that conversation started.”  These words, and those that follow, were co-authored by Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, OP, the Adult Formation Director at St. Margaret Mary, and her associate, Jeanne Smith.



What can I do to help someone discern about coming back to the Catholic Cburch?

Just listen.  Don’t defend or try to make amends for the reason they left the Church.  Remember, it is their journey and there is nothing for us to fix.  However, you can share your own faith journey and see if it adds value to their discernment process.



What do I say to someone who feels angry or betrayed by the Church?

Without excusing or minimizing what causes this anger, we can share that even in our families, we want to care about all members, even those who have hurt us.  We work towards reconciliation and pray for mercy and forgiveness.



What are some practical ways to share my faith?

Invite them to share in your ministry or to a social event at church.  Share online resources such as, apps like Laudette or Living With Christ, and some books or articles that you have enjoyed on your faith journey.



Why should I encourage people to come back to the Catholic Church?

It is our baptismal responsibility to bring others to the faith and walk with them on their spiritual journey.  Encouraging them to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ through the sacraments is a gift beyond measure.



I’ve invited my friend/family member to church many times but they never come.  What should I do?

            Remember that finding your way back to the faith is a process.  As Catholics we can plant seeds and hope that they will grow.  Try not to get discouraged.  Be sure to share the joy you receive from your faith as a witness to the love of Jesus.



Their Concluding Remarks:

Pentecost season is a perfect time for welcoming people who may have been away from the Church.  Next week at all of the Masses we will hear witness stories of parishioners who have journeyed back because of a simple invitation from others.  May we all take our baptismal call to welcome others seriously.  Together, as a community, may we say to them by our words and actions. . .



Tom Sweetser, SJ