Matters of Faith: How do I become an active Catholic again?

My faith is just not what it once was - How do I become an active Catholic again?  - My children won't go to church  - My parents won't take me to mass  - Why get confirmed?  - I would like to become a Catholic

How do I become an active Catholic again?

Go to mass! On any Sunday, on a weekday. Alone, with a friend or family member. Sit in the back or up front - or in the middle! Participate or just sit there! Or just sit in the quiet of church when there isn't any service going on.

Showing up, of course, is most often the first way to get involved with many activities. Showing up gets the thought out of our head and into our senses (simply hearing, seeing, being present, even smelling!). The sensory information is very important - it triggers both new thoughts and old memories. The sensory information can even stir up feelings. The mass - often called the Eucharist (a Greek word meaning blessing/thanks, our essential act of worship) or the Liturgy (another Greek word meaning "the work of the People (of God) signifying this as our most important activity) - is the place to begin because there we celebrate how the Lord feeds and nourishes us as much as how and where we offer to God our joys and sorrows, our successes and failures, our hopes and sufferings. And at mass we are not alone.

The second thing to do is to seek out someone you trust to talk about your feelings. A priest or deacon (one you know or who has been recommended), a religious sister, a trusted friend or family member. This might take more than one conversation or person. Talking out your desire - and your hesitations - is an important part of the process.

Finally, pray and read the Bible. Pray - from your heart or using formal prayers. Reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and reading the Psalms are very good beginning points in the Scripture. Go to mass, talk about your interest, read the Bible and pray. Trust that your desire to become more active in your faith is itself God's gift to you, inviting you to respond!