Has it been a while since you were here?
Do any of these conversations sound familiar to you?
After my marriage failed I felt unsupported in so many ways— by my family, people at my parish, even some of my friends. I walked away from a Church which I felt didn’t care. When I remarried, institutional religion really didn’t have much of a role in my life. But still prayed, and I guess God answered my prayers with a loving, caring partner. We’ve both rediscovered our roots in the Church, and want to find our way back. But I’m afraid there are complications with the Church’s law that I don’t understand. Will it be embarrassing to my spouse and children? What do I have to do to get reconnected?”
“I grew up in the Church. As a child, I loved the stories about great figures of the Bible and about Jesus. As I grew older, I knew they were more than stories—they embodied a way of life. I gave myself to that way for a long time, but somehow, the communities I worshiped in never seemed to “grow up” with me. I felt treated like I was part of an assembly-line religion, a “fast-food” kind of faith. I needed to be fed and nourished on “adult food,” the tough and challenging message of the gospel. So I looked elsewhere. But I still miss something. Is that message being preached in the Church today?”
“I don’t know how I left the Church. There wasn’t really any one reason. Life moved on, and so did I. Career, relationships, other concerns…perhaps no one noticed I was gone. And maybe I wished someone would have come looking for me. But lately, I feel Someone has—is it God’s Spirit within, calling me home? Where can I re-connect?”
“Some of the Church's teachings seem just plain wrong to me. How can I deny what is perfectly obvious to me just so that I can toe the Church's party line? I could not respect myself if I said "yes" to what I see as false. Besides, a lot of things have changed over the years. Who is to say that the teaching I can't accept today won't change in the future? Why is the Catholic Church so inflexible?”
Quarrel with Staff
“They say the Church has a human face. Well, the last face I saw in the Church was all-too human! I don’t know if the person responsible for my ‘parting of the ways’ with the Catholic Church back then ever knew the damage that was done. The details of the incident are as fresh as yesterday. I was insulted, hurt and left with a bitter taste each time I drove past my parish. It was a long, long time before I could even walk back into a Catholic Church—that’s how painful that experience was. But over time, I’ve begun to wonder: Should I let one person’s
action exclude me from God’s gift of faith?”
“For a long time I’ve felt I had no place in the Church. And I’ve got a lot of company, it seems. Women, people of color, gay and lesbian individuals, those of varying cultural groups—we’ve all experienced moments when the message of Christ came packaged in terms that excluded us. The very language from the pulpit betrayed a lack of sensitivity to issues and needs I struggle with. Policies and practices over history seem to have been labeled for someone other than me. Doesn’t anyone hear my voice?”
Abortion / Post Abortion
“I’m told I don’t belong. That message comes from both outside and inside of me. If there’s one clear thing I hear from the Church these days, it’s that having an abortion makes me an outsider. But I want to attend to what I feel and to tell someone how I feel. Is there a place to begin healing without being judged?” “What if I’m a male partner of a woman who had an abortion. I have a need to deal with this personally and spiritually! Can you help me do this?” “What if someone I know and love had an abortion? I have lots of confused feelings about this. Can you help me sort this out?”
“I want to find a place here, but my story is unique. My particular path has led me here. Is my story welcome?”
If you are looking for answers, guidance or direction, we encourage you to make an appointment to talk with Fr. Walsh, Fr. Shenoy, Fr. James, Fr. Anthony or any one of our staff. 407-647-3392.
Resource from www.oncecatholic.org