Today, my fourth (and final) Called to Witness column was published in The Catholic Post. I have enjoyed this writing project, and might pick it up again in the future. However, at this time, I am getting ready to serve as the President of the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. With my added duties, I had to set something aside.
This column focused on the Back to School season. Many families are settling into a routine, and it is my prayer that Church attendance be a part of that. This article is written with my Catholic perspective of course, but I pray for all families to return to the beautiful tradition of Sunday morning worship. If more of us did that, imagine how much better things would be!
Below is my article, but feel free to check out the entire publication at this link (I’m on page 22.)
Over the last few weeks, I have seen countless “First Day of School” pictures posted on Facebook. I love seeing the smiles of young ones headed off to learn new things. With the new school year upon us, let’s embrace new opportunities to evangelize.
- Here, as always, I encourage you (and myself) to invite someone to join you for Sunday Mass. Many families get a bit more settled in after Labor Day. Help them nestle worship time into their schedules. Statistics tell us we are losing this battle; I say let’s not give up! Mass is where we receive the Eucharist, and it is too beautiful, too important not to be shared. Let’s fill the pews!
- Be sure to greet people personally each time you go to Mass. While you may not serve formally as a greeter or usher, we can all extend a “Good Morning!” and handshake or hug. If you notice an unfamiliar face, try to catch up with her after Mass and introduce yourself. Be careful not to assume this person is new; perhaps she attends a different Mass most weekends. You can just say something like, “Hi, I don’t think we’ve met before. My name is Kim, and I enjoy meeting new people!” Research tells us that if people feel welcomed they are more likely to return.
- Talk with your pastor and parish council about placing Order of Mass brochures in the pews. Many people have been away from the Church for years, but they may be inspired to return because of something they heard from Pope Francis, or about the canonization of Mother, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta. We should never assume people will just remember how the Mass goes, especially since some liturgical texts have changed.
- Don’t forget home life! Study habits are important for growing in knowledge, whether you are studying mathematics, chemistry, or Catholicism. Be sure to have a Bible and Catechism of the Catholic Church readily available. Include 15 minutes of Catholic “homework” each day with your kids, or on your own as adults. Remember that the family is the Domestic Church! (If you don’t have these books, check with your nearest Catholic bookstore or parish library.)
- One way to evangelize is to share how God has moved in your own life. If it’s difficult to remember these great stories, consider keeping a “Gratitude & Attitude Journal.” This idea, from the National Council of Catholic Women, is perfect for individuals or families. Simply get a notebook (decorate it, if you like) and write entries each day. Suggestions include: “Today I am grateful to God for…” and “I pray for God’s help and guidance in…” and “I find Joy in…” Tracking these daily thoughts keep our minds and hearts on the Lord, which equips us to share with others.
The richness of our faith means there is always something more…more to learn, more to share, more to experience as disciples of Jesus Christ!