New Commercial in Production: “Heavy Burdens”

Dear Friend of CatholicsComeHome.org,

Catholics Come Home® is blessed to announce another new evangomercial and a family coming home story!

Catholics Come Home® announces production of a new evangomercial: “Heavy Burdens”!
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “The New Evangelization begins in the Confessional.” Taking that to heart, Catholics Come Home® is in production of a new website dedicated to Confession and will start production on a new evangomercial called “Heavy Burdens” this November, to be released on Ash Wednesday. Please keep our production process in your prayers! This effort is also inspired by our dear friend Jeff V. Jeff, who was diagnosed a short time ago with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), was given 2-5 years to live. He is spending the last years of his earthly life drawing near to God, frequenting the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist, and spending time with and providing for his family. We hope you too are inspired by a short clip from his recent interview with me.

Please help us fund our “Heavy Burdens” commercial!

Mary and her family return home with the help of Catholics Come Home®!
Please take a moment to read this powerful and beautiful story, sent to us by our new friend Mary from Trenton, New Jersey:

Mary_AB_family.1Our family—my husband, my three teenaged sons and I—has heard the call of Catholics Come Home and we have received this invitation. I was not raised as a Catholic as my husband had been, but became a Catholic just prior to our wedding. It was wonderful to belong and worship the Lord but I was new in my Christian faith, had much to learn and felt the draw to seek church experiences elsewhere. Just before my third son was born, we began to move away from the Catholic Church where we were married and where our first two sons were baptized. We spent some time visiting various churches, but no matter how long or in what manner of worship we tried, we just weren’t home. I had felt God leading me back to the Catholic Church but didn’t know where to begin. Our church traveling lasted for fifteen years.

I prayed for guidance and turned in faith to the Catholic School of our home parish. They welcomed us with open arms and this was the beginning of our return.

It was just a few months ago that the “Catholics Come Home” campaign had begun to catch my attention. The website was intriguing and had enough information to encourage me to visit often. I especially loved to watch the Evangomercials. I was a born-again Evangelical Christian who had finally realized that the Catholic Church was my home; it is vibrant, relevant and deeply steeped in Christian tradition. The journeys I had made through the other denominations were nice places to visit, but I couldn’t manage to make them a permanent home. The website, book (Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life) and Facebook page “Catholics Come Home” have been instrumental in guiding me back, in guiding my family back.

As I have made my full circle journey back home to the Catholic Church I now find that my love for the LordMary AB Solo is complete. The Bible tells us to” Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” and seeking has brought me back to the Catholic Church and my family with me. We are no longer searching for spiritual fulfillment but have found our hope, our comfort and our faith in the Catholic Church once again.

Returning was easy, I walked into the rectory office, explained that we were moved by the “Catholics Come Home” campaign and would like to return. To my surprise there was no questioning, no condemnation or accusations, there was simply…welcome back. You can go home again and it is my heartfelt desire for people to come to know Jesus Christ and His Gospel, to place their faith in Jesus and experience Him through the Catholic Church. Thank you for the invitation; this Catholic has come home.

GK Chesterton once said, “The difficulty in explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.” Let us continue to pray that more souls like Mary and her family will rediscover the goodness, beauty, and truth of Catholicism. With your help, we can continue airing Catholics Come Home® evangomercialsTM, particularly our newest “Heavy Burdens” ad, which will help souls all over our country find the peace and healing that only comes from God!

As always, we thank you for your continued support of our mission to invite Catholics and non-Catholics home to the Catholic Church.

Reasons People Avoid Confession by Lorraine Murray

Published: June 7, 2012 in The Georgia Bulletin

A priest once mentioned that the loneliest time of his week was Saturday afternoon when he sat in the confessional waiting for parishioners to show up. Although his comment was humorous, it points to a real problem. And here are some reasons many of us avoid this sacrament:

1. We may be afraid of looking foolish because we haven’t been to confession in a long time—and are uncertain about what to do. If you fall into this category, you can ask your confessor to guide you—or check this website for a refresher: www.catholic.org/prayers/confession.php.

2. We may have bought into the notion that we can confess our wrongdoings directly to God—and thus don’t need this sacrament. This belief goes against Catholic teaching, however, and it is not scriptural. Christ instituted the sacrament of reconciliation when he said to his apostles, the forerunners of today’s priests and bishops: “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven. Whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

3. We’re uncertain about what to confess. One solution is getting a good examination-of-conscience guide to help us discern our sins. Many parishes provide these guides in the narthex, or you can ask a priest or deacon to suggest one. An excellent one for teens can be purchased at the Life Teen website: http://store.lifeteen.com/comeclean.aspx. A good examination of conscience for adults can be found online following my column at the Georgia Bulletin website.

4. We are embarrassed to mention our sins to another person. This is a common feeling because it is hard to admit our failures out loud. Praying ahead of time for the grace to be honest and courageous will help. It also helps to realize that the priest acts in persona Christi, which means that he is standing in for Jesus Christ, who knows our hearts so well.

5. Many people have been taught there is no need to confess venial sins, and they have not committed any mortal sins—so they don’t go to confession. However, according to the catechism, confession of venial sins is strongly recommended, since it helps us fight against evil tendencies.

6. Perhaps we struggle with the same sins over and over, and we are ashamed to admit this. It is true that part of a good confession is promising to avoid sins in the future—but we may fall short of the mark. Confession reminds us that God’s well of forgiveness is infinitely large.

7. We may need more than just a few minutes because we require spiritual counseling about our sins. In this case, it is best to make an appointment to see the priest in his office.

8. We are afraid of shocking the priest. Keep in mind many priests have heard thousands of confessions over the years. They surely won’t be astonished by what we confess. In fact, most priests are overjoyed that people are coming to confession, and they are eager to offer absolution.

9. We may be hesitant to tell our sins to someone we also socialize with at church suppers. The confessional has a privacy screen, but if this isn’t reassurance enough, you can always confess to a priest at another parish. Keep in mind that priests will never divulge to anyone what you have confessed.

10. We may be afraid the priest will ask us to make changes in our lives. For example, a confessor may tell a couple engaging in pre-marital sex that this is a mortal sin, or tell a married couple that using contraception is a mortal sin. It is hard to face the truth about ourselves and often it is difficult to change. But if we avoid doing this, our souls are in grave danger.

News Story: People returning to Confession because of Pope

“In Latin America, during Holy Week many people who hadn’t confessed for many years” returned to the sacrament because of things they had heard Pope Francis say…

“Many young people, men and women in these church groups have not only rediscovered the faith they lost along the way or a faith that had become sterile and indifferent, but they have undergone a real conversion of their lives,” Archbishop Fisichella said.

Read more here!

Have you been away from the Sacrament of Confession for a while? Learn more and come home!

New Orleans Continuing the Catholics Come Home Outreach with Archdiocesesan-wide Confessions This Sept 14th

Archbishop Aymond of New Orleans announced that there will be Archdiocesan-wide evening confessions available on September 14th to continue the outreach associated with their recent Catholics Come Home® diocesan partner campaign this past Lent.

Read excerpts below from The Clarion Herald, Official Newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans:

clarion_blog_header

Archdiocesan-wide confessions set
for Sept. 14

Written by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond Every church in the archdiocese is scheduling confessions for Sept. 14, beginning at 7 p.m. How did this archdiocesan initiative come about?
It was the result of two discussions. When we were talking about the Catholics Come Home program in Lent, we wanted to make sure that people who had been away from the church not only felt welcomed back to the family table but also to the sacrament of penance and to all of the blessings of the Catholic Church. There is great power in the sacrament of penance. God touches our brokenness and heals us and gives us new life. We were talking about how the number of confessions across the archdiocese probably would increase. That led into a discussion that sometimes we may not be making confession available at the most convenient times for people to come…But the question is, how can we make it more available, given that it is such an important part of our tradition and such an important practice that Jesus calls us to. He calls us to bring our brokenness to him.
What suggestions would you have for Catholics who have not been to confession in quite awhile?
I think they should go into the confessional and simply say, “Father, I haven’t been to confession in a long time, and I might need some help. Could you help me examine my conscience? Could you help me go through the sacrament step by step because it’s been a long time?” All of us as priests have had those opportunities, and it really helps for a person to get that out. We as priests need to help them to feel more comfortable. That puts more responsibility on priests, but that allows us to walk with them.

Have you seen an increase in confessions since the Catholics Come Home program?

We asked pastors to evaluate the Catholics Come Home program, and without any hard statistics, their feeling was that confessions this past Lent were more than usual. Also, people outside of confession have said to me that they used the reminders provided by Catholics Come Home as a catalyst to go to confession. Catholics Come Home not only invited people back to the church who had been away for awhile but also reinvigorated active Catholics to become more appreciative of their faith and live their faith more deeply. In these very busy times we tend not to think of confession. Confession can take us out of our comfort zone because we go before God and another human being, who is representing Christ and the church, and we recount our wrongdoing. But confession is a rich sacrament where we experience God’s mercy.

To read the entire story, visit The Clarion Herald website

Confession: Reflections of Blessed Mother Teresa

“I must go to confession with love because I have an opportunity to make my soul clean, to become pure.”

“Confession is Jesus and I, and nobody else. Remember this for life.”

mother_teresa_“Don’t waste time on what happened before. If something is hurting you inside, preoccupying you, get it out, make a good confession.”

“It is a place where I allow Jesus to take away from me everything that divides, destroys.”

“Only to confession can we go as sinners with sin and come out as sinners without sin.”

-from Where There is Love, There is God

Have you taken the opportunity to experience the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent? If not, now is the time. Let us prepare ourselves for Christ’s glorious Resurrection at Easter by making penance for our sins throughout these 40 days.

CCH Featured Apologetics Question

reconciliationWhy do Catholics confess their sins to a priest, rather than going directly to God?

Find out the answer here on our CatholicsComeHome.org website.

Haven’t been to Confession lately? Advent is the time to go. Prepare your heart from Christ’s coming at Christmas by taking advantage of this wonderful sacrament at your local parish.

Meeting Christ in the Saints

“Devotion to a particular saint always means that the saint in question is held in high personal regard. Not only do we have particular reverence for the saint, but we are spiritually fascinated by his life, works, and virtues. Somehow weSBernard_BR2 are able spiritually to enter into his life: we seem to understand and grasp something of his unique spiritual genius. Not only that, but we want to be influenced by this saint, because the way he lived and practiced virtue on earth is viewed as a thing of compelling beauty.” (Father Michael D Griffin, O.C.D, Saint Joseph – A Theological Introduction)

Which saints do you hold in high personal regard? What about their sainthood most makes them so beautiful to you? Which of their virtues compells you to work toward your own sanctity with more fervor and devotion?

“Ah! from how great bitterness of soul have you often delivered me, O Good Jesus, coming to me!… How often has StAugustineprayer taken me on the brink of despair, and restored me to the state of soul of one exulting in joy and confident forgiveness. Those who are afflicted in this way, behold they know that the Lord Jesus is truly a Physician Who healeth the broken of heart and bindeth up their bruses” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Canticles ch.XX)

“Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you! Lo, you were within, but I outside, seeking there for you, and upon the shapely things you have made I rushed headlong – I, misshapen. You were with me, but I was not with you. They held me back far from you, those things which would have no being, were they not in you. You called, shouted, broke through my deafness; you flared, blazed, banished my blindness; you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you; I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst; you touched me, and I burned for your peace.” (St. Augustine, Confessions X:27)therese

“I have never wished for human glory, contempt it was that had attraction for my heart; but having recognized that this again was too glorious for me, I ardently desire to be forgotten.” (St. Therese of Lisieux)

CCH Featured Apologetics Question

Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest, rather than going directly to God?

reconciliationFind out the answer to this question here.

Also, check out the great articles on Confession, the priesthood, and more on CatholicsComeHome.org!

“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.” -St. Isidore of Seville

Words of Wisdom from St. Cyprian c/o CatholicsComeHome.org

confession
Today the Church Celebrates the feast day of Saint Cyprian.  May these words of his inspire you when approaching the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

St Cyprian of Carthage“To him who still remains in this world, no repentance is too late.  The approach to God’s mercy is open.”
-St. Cyprian

Are you a little “rusty” and in need of some information on how to make a good confession? Have you ever wondered why as Catholics we go to a priest for confession?  Visit the CatholicsComeHome.org website to grow in a deeper understanding and enthusiasm for the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation.

St. Cyprian, Pray for Us!