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Fr. Claudio Diaz, Jr. is the director of the Office for Hispanic Catholics in the Department of Evangelization, Catechesis and Worship.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Come home… And stay…

It’s time to return to home for many. Catholics come home is the local Church’s initiative to open its doors to all of her children, particularly those who are troubled, confused, disappointed, misinformed and hurt. As stewards of God’s vineyard we are called to attend to the sacramental, spiritual, formative and social justice needs, among others, of the members of the Body of Christ. Not only those who are “in the house” but also those who are hurt, struggling with their journey of faith, who may have profound differences with Mother Church; those who see themselves “outside of the house.”

It is a call on several levels. Catholics coming home requires an open heart to be willing to listen to the stories of those who are struggling with ambivalent feelings towards life, God and His Church. We must be ready to receive all the children of God and assist them to re-discover that there is victory in Jesus Christ and that in the midst of a conflicting world nobody can guarantee us peace.  Only Jesus in his infinite mercy, through the Word, his Eucharist, his sacraments, our prayer, can give us the necessary light, hope and determination to keep walking toward God, despite what others may say or have done to us.

Let us take the image of the “posada.” This devotion depicts St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary asking for lodging, shelter, and protection during the time of the census by the Roman Empire in Palestine. They were rejected and most likely hurt by the lack of hospitality of others. Despite the rejection of many they didn’t give up. They knew that they had a place. Their profound surrendering and trust allowed them to fulfill God’s promises to humanity…“and his name shall be Emmanuel.” There is a place for all of us at the table and when we are absent from that table an empty space remains with our name on it. Nobody can take our place…

Scripture remind us “Come to me all those who are burdened… I shall give you comfort.” It’s time to return home. To take this opportunity and revisit the reasons why we stopped believing. It’s time to open our hearts and with solidarity and walk with those who are suffering.  Perhaps we may not be able to “resolve all the problems.” Perhaps we may not have “the perfect solution” for everybody, but we may indeed have a generous heart, an attentive ear and a brotherly-sisterly hand in an attempt to lift all our brothers and sisters to God. Catholics come home…and stay.

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Comments

Wednesday, December 09, 2009 4:02 AM

Fr. Diaz,

A very thoughtful and well written piece on the "Catholic come home" campaign. I as much as anyone hope and pray the campaign succeeds, unfortunately I believe it will take more the just commercials. This is especially true in the Hispanic community. Many of my Latino friends and acquaintances were so turned off by the sex abuse scandals that they don't trust the faith anymore. I think your office has made some wonderful strides in winning back some of their trust. But realize you have a lot of work ahead of you. I truly pray that your efforts and are successful.

Again thanks for a wonderful article

Tom Schutz

Thomas S.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009 3:48 PM

As a 40 year Catholic dad of two, married; born and raised in the "new order of the mass"; my advice for us all would be to be "lights of the Holy Spirit" by reading, studying and applying our faith in daily life plus never neglecting daily prayer! I believe this is the example the "fallen away" need to see from us. I believe the "Holy Spirit" will take over from there!

Ernest A.

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