Awakening Faith: Reconnecting to
Your Catholic Faith
This new apostolic approach responds to the widespread impression that many pastors have: Catholics are not so much "leaving" the faith as they are weakening their identity with their Catholicism. As a result, it does not make a lot of sense to talk about Catholics coming "home" to the faith; or to appeal to people to come "back" to the faith. There was not that strong an identity for people to "return" to it.
Nevertheless, religious sentiments and a prayer life still remain as a positive force in these people; and they would undoubtedly, if asked, identify themselves as Catholics. Some of the weaker identity can be attributed to the way children grow up in the post-Baby Boomer years, with loose association with many things.
How to respond? "Awakening Faith" employs a model of structured conversations to build bonding between people, using that bonding to help people see their connection to their Catholic faith. With six basic modules, and four optional follow-up modules, people have a chance to explore faith by reacting to a short, accessible essay. Dynamics of sharing in an open and confidential way, with strong welcome and hospitality, reinforce the sense of connection. . . and re-connection.
Awakening Faith can be ordered from Paulist Evangelization Ministries, the Paulist apostolic evangelization arm (www.pemdc.org).
Go to www.awakeningfaith.org, or call 202-832-5022.
Paulist Evangelization Ministries continues to encourage a movement to invite Catholics to reconnect with their faith.
Using the large numbers of Catholics who show up for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Easter, parishes are urged to invite Catholics to become more active in the practice of their faith; Awakening Faith is available as a six week program for the weeks immediately after Easter.
The Awakening Faith website has a host of resources, including training for group leaders and explanations by me about the program.
Initial results appear to demonstrate a lot of interest in Awakening Faith, with some parishes drawing larger numbers than expected, and a mix of active and inactive Catholics. At the very least, the program has attracted numbers of inactive Catholics who are joining in the conversation and exploring a return to the practice of their faith. A few parishes wish the program had more catechetical content to it--but that's what follow-up is all about. Some parishes are thinking about using Awakening Faith as a program for their whole parish community.
Over 1100 parishes have now ordered Awakening Faith. Many have begun to use it. Feedback from parishes that have used Awakening Faith has been quite positive, showing the process is easy to implement and helps Catholic reconnect to their faith.
Awakening Faith workshops for dioceses are available
by calling the Paulist Evangelization office.
Ask for Fr. Ken or Fr. Frank.
An approach to help us welcome people to the Catholic Faith
NOW WE CAN WELCOME AND INVITE THEM ALL YEAR LONG!
"Seeking Christ" is an approach to expand our capacity to serve inquirers who ask about the Catholic faith. It provides a way for us to begin engaging people who ask about becoming Catholic at virtually any time of the year. It expands the repertoire of parishes to receive inquirers and help them explore some of the basic elements and approaches of the Catholic faith. It expands our ability to welcome people to think about the Catholic faith all year long.
Eight modules focus on some basic aspects of the Catholic faith, with a view to helping to simulate people to consider Jesus, the Spirit, the Church and conversion. Without going into a lot of the catechetical upbuilding that would be part of the catechumenal process itself, "Seeking Christ" gives inquirers some things to consider.
The heart of the process is sharing with a facilitator over particular scriptural readings which highlight the themes. A DVD presentation of a short meditation starts the session and a Take-home Reflection helps the inqurier extend his or her understanding.
This project was completed in June, 2010.
It is now available through PEM (www.pemdc.org).
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Neighbors Reaching Neighbors
Parish Invitation Tool Kit
Resources to help parishes invite seekers to meet Catholics and begin to understand the Catholic people. The "kit" is envisioned as a set of resources that evangelization teams and pastoral staffs can use to invite people to a special session designed to help inquirers break the ice with Catholics. An array of outreach resources (mail, home visiting materials, brochures, etc.) and two DVD's supplement a parish's own local resources. We are grateful for a grant from the ACTA foundation, and the Koch foundation, to help with this.