Not Just Another Product

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Dear POP Folks,

   We are rediscovering in our day the great treasure of our Catholic faith.  It is not just another product on the shelf as we shop for a church experience.  It is, rather, a gift and a solid foundation upon which to build a relationship with God and with one another.  
 
   Each of us is called to discover the richness of this gift for ourselves…and to share it with others!
 
   I borrow some of the thoughts of blogist Father Dwight Longenecker on the task of sharing our Church with our friends and loved ones who are seeking:  When someone who is considering the Catholic Church asks for advice, remind them that...

  1. The Catholic Church is not just another denomination. It’s very different from all the churches you have ever attended.  Be open to a new and different experience!
  2. Be curious, not critical.
  3. There are plenty of hypocritical, heretical, and lukewarm Catholics.  The same is true of every other religion on earth.
  4. The Catholic Church is huge.  Of course, there are some strange and crazy people here.  Check out Protestantism or Judaism or…they’ve got them, too.
  5. It may seem like you’re “not getting fed.”  Once you’re received into the Church, you’ll be fed alright:  fed the Body of Christ.  Be patient.
  6. Stop imagining that there’s a perfect church somewhere.  Wherever humans gather, even for worship, there will be conflict and imperfection.  It’s the product of Original Sin. 
  7. You wonder where the “fellowship” is.  That’s because a typical Catholic parish is huge and socially varied.  Other denominations often tend to develop congregations from the same neighborhood or socio-economic background.  No wonder they have “good fellowship”.  In the Catholic Church, you will find your “fellowship” in one of a huge number of sub groups and small communities, from the choir to the Knights of Columbus to young adults, young mothers, and young seniors!
  8. Yes, we do read the Bible.  We treasure it within the tradition and prayer of the Church.  The Scriptures are woven into the Mass and all of our worship.  Be prepared to see the Scriptures you love in a totally fresh and exciting way.
  9. Ask why you are considering the Catholic Church.  If you’re just church shopping, you still have a long way to go.  If you have come to believe that the Catholic Church really is the fullest expression of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, everything else will follow.  Being a Catholic is a grace and a gift.

     And, finally, dear Catholic, hear God’s invitation to YOU to look at your Church with fresh eyes and a hungry heart.  There is so much more to this great banquet of faith that God has prepared for us.

Fr. John Keller, PastorComment