Archdiocese of Chicago

Catholic Chicago Blog

Monday, July 13, 2009

Get Back to the Basics!

By Todd Williamson

In the near future, area Catholics will be hearing more about two major initiatives that will affect their parishes – one Archdiocesan and one Universal. Both of these, albeit on different levels, will have profound effects on the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist.

Catholics Come Home is an Archdiocesan initiative that will include the airing of numerous, Catholic themed commercials during prime time in the Chicagoland area at the end of this year. These commercials are aimed at those Catholics who, for whatever reason, have stopped practicing their faith and will encourage them to “come home.” The Archdiocesan Office for Evangelization will soon have information and resources for parishes in regard to this initiative.

Many Catholics who have stopped the practice of their faith will see these commercials and, through the Spirit, be prompted to call a nearby parish. Others will not necessarily call a parish; he or she will simply show up on Sunday, unannounced.

Stop reading, right now, and ask yourself: If this happens at your parish, what will that person find? What will he or she experience on a Sunday at your parish?

NOW is a time to consider again, the Liturgical Life of your parish. NOW is a time to take a good, critical look at the way your parish enters into and celebrates the mysteries of our faith, most especially the Eucharist. NOW is a time to consider the various elements of the Church’s liturgy – the environment for worship, the music that helps us to pray, the state of the liturgical ministries that contribute so much to the liturgy, the state of preaching, the way your parish does or does not live daily life nourished and strengthened by the liturgy!

NOW is an excellent time to Get Back to the Basics!

The second initiative that will profoundly affect the liturgical life of every parish is the revised translation of the Mass texts – the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. Although this is not as near in the future as the Catholics Come Home initiative, it is, nonetheless, going to happen in the next couple of years.

However, we can begin remote preparation now – this is an excellent opportunity for every Catholic to deepen his or her understanding of and appreciation for the richness and the power of the Church’s liturgy. What better way to begin preparing for the revised Roman Missal?

NOW is a time for parishes to renew the commitment to celebrating the Church’s liturgy in the very best way possible. NOW is a time to once again recall our fundamental belief in the centrality of the Eucharist to our lives of faith!

NOW is an excellent time to Get Back to the Basics!

Consider a series on the basics of Catholic liturgy in your parish. Invite speakers to come and lead an evening on continued formation. Host an evening or Saturday morning of reflection for liturgical ministers and invite all parishioners. Form a study / reflection group using a Papal Encyclical on the Liturgy (e.g. Dies Domini, from John Paul II or Sacramentum Caritatis, from Benedict XVI) - ODW has a fine Study Guide for Dies Register for one of the many offerings at the Festival of Faith scheduled for this October. Now is an excellent time!


Thursday, July 16, 2009 9:29 AM

Great article Todd! I was fortunate to be able to get a "sneak peek" of the video "Catholics Come Home!" and would you believe there wasn't a dry eye in the place! What a marvelous, compelling, thought-provoking masterpiece--It makes every Catholic stop and think-what is the end game for us all? What's the big reason for holding onto our faith so tightly? TO GET TO HEAVEN, TO BE PART OF THAT GREAT BANQUET WITH JESUS OUR LORD! AND IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO ASK FOR AN INVITATION.... The video shows people from different walks of life contemplating their lot in life and thinking about some of the reasons why they left the Catholic Church...and how they are being called to come home.... Our church is great because we are all part of the BROKEN BODY OF CHRIST! Each of us, without exception is broken to a degree, and that is precisely why we need Jesus and the Sacraments.....Just think... no matter what mistakes we may have made in the past or are making in the present, we can always come to Jesus in the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation and start a new..... Where else can you get that kind of grace in this crazy, mixed-up world we live in? Every scene is this video makes you grateful for your Catholic faith... Many of our brothers and sisters have left for many different reasons.... The main thing is to start from today to try to win their hearts over...The "Catholics coming Home" initiave, in addition to gently approaching those friends and relatives we know who have gone astray or left the church--to gently, with the love of Jesus give them good materials to read or view, talk to them about how we love our faith and what our faith has done to mold us, tell them that we have missed them... yes, tell them "we miss you very much" gentle things like that.....A wise senior Sister once told me:" If you wanna get someone back into practicing the faith, it's more helpful to excentuate the beauty and joy that awaits us in Heaven than the pains and suffering of Hell." In other words, be positive and engaging and happy about your Catholic faith.. Example is still the best teacher and it doesn't cost a dime!!!!!!!! God Bless!

Carol B.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 3:35 PM

Thank you for your comment and question, Robbie.

The Office for Evangelization of the Archdiocese (who will be the lead agent in this initiative) will be sending information and materials to parishes in the coming months. The campaign has been used in other parts of the country (e.g., Diocese of Phoenix) and it's been very successful.

This will be a great opportunity to see, in action, the evangelizing power of the Liturgy!

Todd Williamson

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 11:20 AM

Great article, consistent with the New Evangelization! Where can we, in the parish, find material on the Catholics Come Home campaign? It would be great to get some direction on how we can prepare. Thanks for all your work!


Robbie A.

Monday, July 13, 2009 3:57 PM

This is great, Todd -- thanks! I've forwarded this post to our parish Worship Commission. And to all those who've contributed to date, I've enjoyed and learned from each of these posts. Looking forward to more!

Mary M.