January 26, 2012

Catholics Come Home

By Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi *
Perhaps you have seen the commercials. These commercials have been played during December and January on several national television networks. They are entitled "Catholics Come Home."

Beautifully prepared, they point out facts about our Catholic Church:

• Our family is made up of every race.

• We are young and old, rich and poor, men and women, sinners and saints.

• Our family has spanned the centuries and the globe.

• With God’s help, we have established hospitals and orphanages.

• We are the largest charitable organization on the planet bringing help to those in need.

• We educate more children than any other scholarly or religious institution.

• We developed the scientifi c method and laws of evidence.

• We founded the college system.

• We defend the dignity of all human life and uphold marriage and family.

• Cities were named after our revered saints.

• Guided by the Holy Spirit, we compiled the bible.

• We are transformed by sacred scripture and sacred tradition which has consistently guided us for 2,000 years.

• Jesus Himself laid the foundation of our Church when he said to Peter, the first Pope, "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church."

• We are over one billion in number and for over 2,000 years we have had an unbroken line of shepherds guiding the Catholic Church with love and truth in a confused and hurting world.

In this world filled with chaos, hardship, and pain it is comforting to know that some things remain consistent, true, and strong-our Catholic faith.

The commercials end with an invitation: If you have been away from the Catholic Church we invite you to take another look.

If you have missed these commercials, they are available at the website: catholicscomehome.org.

How blessed we are to belong to the family of God, the Catholic Church, which Jesus Himself founded. It is for us to invite others to be active members of the Church. Perhaps we know people who have been away from the Church or perhaps we know people who are not members that we could invite to join.

The story of salvation history, contained in the bible, is God calling His people together. In the Old Testament he established a people and made a covenant with them. In the New Testament God gathers His followers into the Church. Always, God brings us together. Even when God calls individuals, it is to entrust to the individual a mission to be brought back into the community.

Sadly, there is an increasing tendency in modern society for people not to be active members of God’s family. We increasingly have become a society where many are a "church of one." We seek to live our faith as an individual and not as a member of the family of God.

I remember speaking some years ago with a man in Mississippi who had not always been a Catholic. I asked him what he used to be and he told me that he did not used to be anything at all. But he told me that he realized one day that no one preached to him except him; no one taught him right from wrong except him; no one told him what was important, true, and lasting, except him. He told me that he realized that he had become (in his words) "my own personal religious cult." He said that he knew that he had to become part of something bigger than himself and needed to belong to the Church; so he became a Catholic.

Commercials can be very effective, but even more effective are individual invitations. Please invite others to come back or to become part of the Catholic Church. God wishes to use us as His instruments of grace and faith. Please reach out and invite.

Reprinted with permission from the
Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.
Most Rev. Rodi is the archbishop for the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.

* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.


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