“Rob Bell is an evangelist and pastor – a leader in this emerging church movement. He’s written a book called Love Wins and it’s a book about eternal life. And he stakes out a more or less Universalist position meaning everyone get’s saved, so in the end, everyone gets to heaven. And it’s kicked up a controversy…Watch and listen to Fr. Barron’s commentary discussing ‘Is Hell Crowded or Empty?’” at IntegratedCatholicLife.org!
“She came to a nation who was once invincible, yet now a broken and broken-hearted people. And she called herself “your Merciful Mother.” In calling herself thus, our Lady reveals her message of compassion and her solidarity with all of that which is weak, broken and humbled within us. She spares nothing of herself in coming to us: neither her garments nor her skin are spared in this extravagant gesture of love toward her children – a tender embrace wherein we are caught up in the crossing of her arms and in the folds of her mantle. It is here, in her very bosom, where she gathers up all of the scattered fragments of our lives into a single unity in love. In this tender exchange every heart finds solace, strength and renewed hope. Yes, even the most sinful and dejected heart can lay claim to the merciful love of this noble Queen. Thank God! Thank God!…”
As the Archdiocese of Atlanta prepares to bring CatholicsComeHome.org Commercials to TV screens locally this December, Atlanta’s Deacon Mike Presented a Homily at Mass Encouraging parishioners in the pews to reach out to their loved-ones away from the faith. His homily is posted on the IntegratedCatholicLife.org E-News Magazine Site:
Posted October 2, 2010
Inviting Catholics to Come Home
I sometimes wonder why I don’t have more faith. I bet you sometimes wonder the same thing about yourself. If only my faith was stronger, I think, what amazing things I could do for the Lord. Right!
It seems the apostles were sharing the same thought in Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 17:5-10). And in a sense, that was good. After all, they realized that they had a long way to go to become good and faithful servants, even after spending more than a year following and supporting the Lord’s public ministry. They approached Jesus and asked that He increase their faith.
But reflect on how Jesus replied to them. Imagine Him smiling as he said that the faith they had was a gift from Him and that if they but embraced and accepted that gift, they would do mighty works for the Kingdom. All of us Catholics have received the same gift of faith from Jesus. Do we realize what a treasure it is? If we did, there would be no power that could prevent us from sharing it with everyone we encounter in this life, both family and stranger.
St. Paul, writing to St. Timothy, a Catholic bishop he had appointed and consecrated, reminded him of this responsibility that comes with faith. Each of us shares in this gift and responsibility by virtue of our baptism. He told Timothy, and he tells us, do not ever be ashamed of the gospel you believe in and testify to. (2 Timothy 1:6-14)
Let me ask a question… What is the largest religious body in the United States? It is the Catholic Church. More than 72 million people identify themselves as Catholics. Some estimates based on polling data indicate that only about 35 million of those Catholics attend Mass on a “somewhat” regular basis. And that number falls to about 25 million who attend Mass weekly or more frequently. The next largest group of self-identified non-Catholic Christians in the United States is the Southern Baptist Convention who number about 17 million according to the latest statistics available (I have seen some estimates that have that number above 20 million). The next largest group is fewer than those with no religion at all… about 13 million who indicate they follow no religion. Any way you slice it, the second largest religious group in America is that of non-practicing Catholics who either do not practice any faith or who have joined other, non-Catholic religious groups… maybe 37 million or higher.
Is there someone in your family who has stopped practicing their Catholic faith? Do you know friends and family members that are practicing another faith or maybe no faith at all? What can we do to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church with them?
The Atlanta Archdiocese is launching an evangelistic outreach to invite Catholics to come home will entail a campaign to saturate the airwaves of both network and cable TV with the powerful ads that have demonstrated their effectiveness. The Catholic Church in Georgia is not the first Catholic Church to use these messages. This campaign is powerful and it works. For example, the Catholics Come Home campaign was run by the diocese of Phoenix, a diocese of 700,000 members, which is similar in size to the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Eighteen months after running these ads, more than 92,000 Catholics had returned to Mass and the practice of their faith.
These ads will begin running here in December of this year during Advent as we prepare for the coming of the Christ-child. Imagine the positive, spiritual impact on our local Church were more than 100,000 local Catholics to return to the active practice of their faith. Imagine the return of your own family members.
Take a look at CatholicsComeHome.org, the organization that produces these media messages. You can learn how to invite your friends, neighbors and family members back to the Catholic Church. I encourage you view their ads and support their work. And if your diocese has not yet begun such an effort, introduce your bishop to them.
Thank you Deacon Mike! We hope that many souls away from the faith in Atlanta, state-wide in Georgia, and across the United States find their way “home” to Christ’s Catholic Church this December, and always!
Dr. Kreeft points out: “All God’s signs should line up, by a kind of trigonometry. There are at least seven such signs: (1) Scripture, (2) church teaching, (3) human reason (which God created), (4) the appropriate situation, or circumstances (which he controls by his providence), (5) conscience, our innate sense of right and wrong, (6) our individual personal bent or desire or instincts, and (7) prayer. Test your choice by holding it up before God’s face. If one of these seven voices says no, don’t do it. If none say no, do it.”
You can also listen to the Catholic Answers LIVE audio: Discernment: Is it God or Just Me? by Father Thomas Dubay. In the program, he helps us to discern whether or not God is guiding us at times, or if it is just us…
The Catholics Come Home team is praying for God’s will to be done in your life today and always!
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Happy Feast of Blessed Antonio Lucci from your friends at CatholicsComeHome.org.
Check out Chris Findley’s short reflection on Devotion: What Really Matters at the IntegratedCatholicLife.org, reminding us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:12).
“Earthly goods are not bad, but they are debased when man sets them up as idols, when he adores them. They are ennobled when they are converted into instruments for good, for just and charitable Christian undertakings. We cannot seek after material goods as if they were a treasure. Our treasure is Christ and all our love and desire must be centered on him.” -St. Josemaria Escriva