“Divinely sent to the nations of the world to be unto them “a universal sacrament of salvation,” the Church, driven by the inner necessity of her own catholicity, and obeying the mandate of her Founder (cf. Mark 16:16), strives ever to proclaim the Gospel to all men. The Apostles themselves, on whom the Church was founded, following in the footsteps of Christ, “preached the word of truth and begot churches.” It is the duty of their successors to make this task endure “so that the word of God may run and be glorified (2 Thess. 3:1) and the kingdom of God be proclaimed and established throughout the world.” Thus begins the document “Ad Gentes” (To the Nations) from the Second Vatican Council.
Every time I preside over a baptism, I am reminded of the call of Jesus to “go make of all disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And in a concrete way, each fall, I am reminded of the ‘how’ of that instruction – the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. (RCIA) By instruction and formation, by prayer and reflection, and by becoming a small faith community, candidates and catechumens and sponsors grow in the knowledge and love of God and, God willing, are accepted into the church during the Easter Vigil Celebration.
On my part, I am happy to line up the volunteers, organize the syllabus, coordinate the classes, and prepare the nuts and bolts of the process. However, you can have the most amazing program set up, the most wonderful sponsors, the most powerful prayer services all lined up to be put into practice, but if there is no one to teach, then that part doesn’t matter so much. This is where you come in.
You are the ones who know the relative who is married to a non-Catholic spouse who might be interested in learning more about our faith. You are the ones who live next to the neighbor who is un-churched, or perhaps is in that ‘seeking phase’ for a community of faith to land in. You know the co-worker or friend who might be open to the process of becoming a Catholic Christian. Now is the time to invite them. Perhaps you can begin by pointing them to this link: archstl.org/catholicscomehome/noncatholics.
But in a more direct way, you can invite them to attend (with you) a ‘no obligation’ session – kind of an overview if you will – of the Catholic Faith, entitled: “These are a few of my Favorite Things” on Wednesday night, Sept. 5th, at 7p. This session will be held at the Catholic Newman Center. It will last for one hour. You can RSVP to me or to Pat Marstall at the rectory with the names of those attending. Hope to see you then.