UK: Church Studies Ministry to Fallen-Away Catholics

Invite to Mass Not Seen as Best 1st Step

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LONDON, MARCH 31, 2011 (Zenit.org).- As part of a program to follow-up on Benedict XVI’s visit last year to the United Kingdom, Church representatives gathered Saturday to consider how to minister to fallen-away Catholics.

A statement Tuesday from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales reported that three bishops, representatives from 19 dioceses and from a broad cross section of Catholic organizations were among nearly 90 delegates who came together to pray, share experiences and good practice.

The focus of the day was the needs of those who are baptized Roman Catholics and who for whatever reason never or rarely participate in parish life.

Benedictine Father Christopher Jamison, known for his BBC appearances, gave the main address.

The director of the National Office for Vocation and former abbot of Worth, Father Jamison spoke on «Purpose Before Pews: What Does the Church Offer?»

His reflection emphasized that the starting point for this area of ministry should not begin necessarily with an invitation to attend Mass, but rather the offering of support to help people to find their purpose in life.

Bishop Kieran Conry, chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, organized the study day.

«It is very encouraging to see so many representatives from the dioceses and other Church organizations filled with enthusiasm for this area of the Church’s mission,» Bishop Conry said. «In this address Father Christopher challenged peoples’ assumptions about what our aims should be and asked if our first questions should be about what our society means by happiness and spirituality.

«A day well spent. I would strongly urge people and parishes to examine and use the resources being made available.»

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On the Net:

Papal Visit Legacy Programme 2011:

www.catholicchurch.org.uk/Catholic-Church/Media-Centre/press_releases/Press-Releases-2011/Papal-Visit-Legacy-Programme

Sites where resources will be posted:

www.catholicchurch.org.uk/Catholic-Church/Home-Mission

www.catholicchurch.org.uk/non-churchgoing

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