Nothing defines the work of evangelization so much as the Easter Season-particularly the reception of those Candidates and Catechumens into the Church, either to receive the sacraments of initiation fully for the first time, or to complete initiation after baptism.
While we certainly need to reflect on how these new Catholics continue their growth as disciples in their new Catholic lives-I continue to hear stories of converts who do not stay with the Church after baptism-we also need to recognize what an invitation these folks provide for us already-baptized Catholics.
We see, before our eyes, the effect of living Catholic lives openly and strongly. Everyone who joins the Church does so because of a Catholic she or he has known and admired. Everyone joins the Church because of the lived witness of a Catholic. Often this happens through family connections-particularly married people, often after years of marriage-but people are drawn to the Church as well by the lives they see in their neighbors and friends.
This time of year is an excellent time to have our new Catholics, or to have active Catholics, give simple witness to their faith. It can reinforce the faith of active Catholics, send an invitation to less-than-active Catholics, and touch the hearts of seekers who are wondering if the Church has something to offer them.
I am also hearing that Pope Francis is stirring up a lot of positive questions for former Catholics and seekers. Here’s another great opportunity we cannot afford to let slip by.
Frank DeSiano, CSP