Cardinal Invites Catholics To Reach Out To Lapsed
posted on 03 September 2007
A national initiative is being launched to invite Catholics to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of people in England and Wales who have been baptised but very rarely, if ever, attend Mass.
The initiative is themed “Where are they now?” and is designed to raise awareness among the Catholic community of the integral role that each person plays in inviting their friends and family back to Church. The campaign will begin on Home Mission Sunday which falls on 16 September 2007. It is being resourced by the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE), which is an agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Resource packs have been sent to every Catholic parish and religious house.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, addressing Catholic parishes, said: “My dear friends, I urge you to take part in this initiative. All of us know someone who no longer attends Mass. This is a great sorrow for so many of us. In a non-judgemental way, as the Body of Christ, let’s go out to the lost sheep with a message of love, acceptance, welcome and reconciliation.”
Dean, now in his forties, lapsed when he was a teenager and came back after recently reading the novel the Da Vinci Code. He said: “I was away from the Church for 26 years and during that time only came back for ‘hatches, matches and dispatches’. Ironically a work of fiction called the Da Vinci Code reignited an interest in my faith and religious history. Shortly after finishing the book I went to Confession and haven’t looked back. I now realise God loves me and the fact that I’ve been away from Church doesn’t matter. If anyone else is thinking of coming back, please don’t hesitate. There are loads of people ready and waiting to help you.”
Home Mission Sunday
Home Mission Sunday is a special day when Catholics are invited to pray for and support the work of evangelisation in England and Wales. Parishes are invited to take a collection to help fund CASE’s work. Materials provided include: bidding prayers, homily notes, a “welcome home” booklet, poster and sample outreach leaflet. More resources are available online: www.caseresources.org.uk
The September initiative will climax at the beginning of Advent when a national media campaign will be launched called Come Home For Christmas. It is hoped that parishes will issue invitations and put on local events; the September launch therefore gives parishes three months to prepare, supported by CASE’s materials.