Do you remember the day the world witnessed the election of Pope Francis? I remember it very well . . . Francis greeted the world with his first words, “Bona Cerra.” Good evening. He bowed his head and asked that we pray for him right then and there. He seemed kind and humble.
The news reporters, many of them hardened journalists, distant from their Catholic upbringing, seemed almost exultant in reporting the event. One after another happily confessed to the cameras that “I myself am a Catholic and I have never seen such joy, etc . . .” Or, “I was raised Catholic and this moment is very important to us.” They were almost anxious to have you know that . . . THEY WERE CATHOLIC!
Maybe it was the same feeling that “everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day”. But I don’t think so. Something deep was stirred that day. This is the Church Christ has given us, a church that is for every race and culture and country. This church is the hope of humankind in times of darkness and trial.
So you’re reading this bulletin . . . you came to mass today. What does that mean? Are you looking for God in your life? Has the Catholic Faith called out to you? What is a Catholic anyway? . . . Here’s a partial list of things that are Catholic. There’s a whole lot more to mention, like joy, peace, forgiveness, etc. But here are some basics. See if you hold to these.
- Catholics are Christians.
- We believe Jesus is the Son of God.
- Baptism begins a life of union with Him.
- Catholics believe most everything other Christians believe but sometimes more.
- Catholics believe Jesus is the head of the Church and we are the Body (So there is only one church).
- Catholics believe Jesus wanted someone to “steer the ship” through human history, so He gave us Peter and the apostles (and their successors, the pope and the bishops).
- Catholics believe Jesus gave us seven sacraments to experience God’s grace (love) when we receive them.
- Catholics follow a moral code given by Jesus and guided by the teaching of the church.
- Catholics are sinners and need God’s mercy.
- Catholics go to Confession when they have sinned and Jesus forgives them right then and there.
- Catholics have to go to mass on Sunday. Keep holy the Lord’s Day.
- Catholics believe the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ at mass. Jesus feeds us with Himself. (This part is really Catholic !!)
- Catholics are generally no better than anyone else and sometimes we’re worse! But God holds us responsible for more.
- Catholics believe this life on earth is a preparation for union with God in the eternity of the Kingdom.
So what if I’m not there? What if I don’t believe all that stuff? I was baptized but nothing much ever came after that . . . am I Catholic?
The answer is YES. The grace of Baptism will never go away for you. You are forever a Child of God with Christ as your light. But the question back to you is DO YOU WANT TO BE CATHOLIC? Do you want to start again the Catholic walk?
May I suggest something to you? Just come. Just walk right in and sit down. There is no test to pass, no money to pay. This church is just as much yours as anyone’s. Call this place your spiritual home and COME! (Perhaps you need to refrain at first from receiving Holy Communion if it’s been awhile – – talk to Fr. Tim or Fr. John about this).
God will do the rest. God will come to you with His grace to show you the way. Give God a chance ok? Listen to the music. Hear the gospel and say the prayers (ask the person next to you to help you with the book). Welcome!! You’re home. Watch now what God can do!
Thinking about becoming Catholic? Join us each Sunday in the Marian Rm. at 12 noon to discuss what Catholics believe and why. Get your questions answered!