In recent years, as my interest in my Catholic faith grows with each passing birthday, I have come to realize how little I know about the Church I was baptized into as a baby. It’s the proverbial, “the more you learn, the less you know.”
But today gives me and other Catholics longing for a deeper faith life a great opportunity: The “Year of Faith: Seeking the Face of Jesus,” begins Oct. 11 and goes through November 2013.
This past weekend, our parish priest announced that a number of sessions would be held to help us learn more about our faith. I hope to make this into family affair, in which my husband and I can bring our daughters along with us to learn together.
Maybe I could take it a step further and invite a friend who isn’t a Catholic. I’ve recently been told an invitation into the Church is the best way to introduce others to our faith.
Here’s a good example: In parishes across the country, it’s easy to dismiss the announcements for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes starting in the fall. It’s common for those baptized in the Church to think they have no part to play in RCIA.
Think again: Most people who enroll in a RCIA program are invited by a member of the Catholic faith. That could be any parishioner that would invite a friend, relative, or any acquaintance who has expressed an interest in learning more about Catholicism. Or maybe they haven’t even mentioned the faith, but you could share the idea of RCIA.
During this “Year of Faith” consider inviting a person or two to your parish’s RCIA program –or to any special sessions being held at your church. Take it a step further and accompany them to classes. Discern whether you could be an RCIA sponsor. It’s amazing to share your faith and deepen your faith at the same time.
Along with inviting someone to an RCIA program or being a sponsor, Catholics can go through the program – or attend some of the sessions – to enrich their own faith life. I am considering and praying about going through RCIA or the Lay Formation Institute, and serious further study about my faith is on my future bucket list.
The sincere invitations and encouraging words from a Catholic may make all of the difference when a person is considering learning more about or joining the Church. It’s a true story that a non-Catholic was attending Mass for 18 years, before he heard it suggested he join RCIA. This person was waiting for someone to invite him. Again, the main reason someone is in RCIA is because someone invited him.
At Easter Vigil Mass, RCIA participants receive three sacraments – Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion. It’s a cause for a grand celebration, and it could all begin with an invitation, maybe even from you.
During this Year of Faith, I am looking forward to my family deepening our knowledge of the Church. At the end of Sunday Mass, our parish will pray the “Act of Faith.” I would like to make a commitment with my family to say this prayer together throughout the week in the upcoming year. I invite you to try it too, and encourage you to share it with a friend. It all starts with an invitation.
“Oh, my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Catholic Church teaches, because in revealing them you can neither deceive nor be deceived.”
Copyright 2012 Kim Seidel