Friday, July 9, 2010

Each summer the people of St. Mary Roman Catholic Church invite their friends and neighbors in the Manchester, Michigan area to a gathering to explain and clarify what the Catholic Church is and what it is not. Deacon Dennis Walters of St. Mary’s, who will lead the sessions, asks inquirers to consider a quote by Bishop Fulton Sheen, the famous television priest from the 1950s. “There are not 100 people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are many who hate what they wrongly think the Catholic Church to be,” he once said. Walters says the sessions will address common misconceptions such as thinking that Catholics don’t have to read the Bible, don’t accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, practice human traditions rather than God-ordained worship, worship Mary, or follow a religion of rules and regulations rather than faith in Christ. Walters states these notions are “all wrong” and that even Catholics would reject a church that taught them. I think this is a terrific idea especially in light of the Church's current situation on the world stage. It extends the call by Jesus to go out and spread the word as individuals. Many of us do not feel equipped or prepared to carry out our discipleship duties. This method provides a nice starting point that leans heavily on the leadership. I am praying that the folks in Manchester become so empowered by the sessions that each of them takes their show on the road. In addition, I am praying that this effort be duplicated the world over. We can do this, we just need to take the first step.