A welcoming Church for Easter
Obeying the Third Commandment and its call to keep the Sabbath is an important part of our identity.
Yet we also know that, in our increasingly secularized world, the numbers of those who attend religious services regularly is declining. (According to Gallup, 38 percent of adults in 2017 said they attend religious services weekly or almost every week. That’s down from 42 percent in 2008. You can read more about this subject at CDmag.net/2DQnKC1.)
Despite this trend, most of us encounter people at Mass every Easter and Christmas whom we don’t see often. You know the scene: You have to leave home early to get a seat, the parking lots and pews are packed, and so forth. It might seem like an inconvenience at the time, and sometimes it leads me to be a little less welcoming than I should be. But I know that’s not the correct attitude I ought to have.
In our April 2019 print issue, Fr. Roland Guilmain, AA, provides valuable advice when answering a question about how to get relatives who have left the Church to return.
“Will you be judgmental or openhearted? Pray that with God’s help you will always be understanding, patient, forgiving, and welcoming,” Fr. Roland says.
Also in the April 2019 print issue, Lynn Wehner tells a powerful story about inviting a friend to Mass. What happened is definitely the work of the Holy Spirit!
“God wants us to know the reason for our hope,” Lynn writes. “You never know when he is going to introduce you to someone new who needs your witness.”
This Easter — and every Sunday — let’s be a welcoming people. Let’s fill our parishes with the same love that the Risen Lord showed his disciples on that first Easter. Let’s invite our fallen-away relatives and friends to experience Christ: he who is truly alive in our midst.
On behalf of all of us at Catholic Digest, I wish you and your family a most joyous Easter. Alleluia! Christ is risen!
You are in my prayers,