If a newcomer walked into your parish today, curious about the Catholic faith, would someone actively welcome him? Introduce him to others? Who would help him answer his questions?
I certainly hope that someone would. (And without trying to add to the workload of our already very busy and very active permanent deacons, I hope that our deacons would be the ones answering the questions. They’re knowledgeable, personable, approachable and faithful.)
Our parish (like many others) hosts an event during Advent and asks parishioners to invite their families, friends and neighbors who have wandered away from the Church. I don’t deny that this is a good idea–in theory. But year after year I listen to our pastor describe this event as having a “non-threatening atmosphere” (yes, he uses those words) and I wonder: Is non-threatening the best we can do?
If that’s all we can manage, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and not just in conjunction with that one Advent program.
If we want people to move beyond trust, to be curious, we have to show that our faith is compelling rather than non-threatening.
Just this morning, the Pope tweeted: “If we wish to follow Christ closely, we cannot choose an easy, quiet life. It will be a demanding life, but full of joy.”