- Are you a Catholic who now feels separated from the Church?
- Have you felt as if you are not welcome?
- Would you like to feel at home in the Catholic Church again?
- Have you left the Catholic Church because of a divorce or remarriage?
- Were you raised Catholic but do not come or seldom come to Church anymore?
- Do you only attend on Easter and Christmas and wish to connect more to your faith?
We at "Catholics Returning Home" wish to reach out to those of you who have been non-practicing or inactive Catholics and invite you to return Home to the Catholic Church. If you are a Catholic who has been away from a Church for a while, this invitation is for you! Our faith community misses you!
No matter how long you have been away or for whatever reason, we invite you to consider renewing your relationship with the Catholic Church. Please join us and other returning Catholics for an informal listening session and update of the Catholic faith. Sessions are facilitated by parishioners and former non-practicing Catholics and will provide ample opportunity for answering your questions. Our Rockford diocese, along with the Archdioceses of Chicago and Joliet, are participating in the “Catholics Come Home” Process.
For more information about "Catholics Come Home," please click on the icon below to be taken to the main website.
Click here for the Top Ten Reasons to come back to the Catholic Church
An invitation to Non-Practicing Catholics Seeking A Path Back to the Church.
Winter/Spring 2013 Schedule
Brochure & Information (PDF)
Catholics Come Home Resource Link (Rockford Diocese)
WE WELCOME YOU HOME...
In this day and age, there are often people who have been raised as Roman Catholics and through the years have become separated from the Church. Perhaps, there has been someone in your family or even yourself, who was raised Catholic, but no longer actively participates in a Parish.
There are many reasons why people become separated from their faith community by birth. For some, it is due to a disagreement or confusion regarding Church regulations, often in the situation of divorce and remarriage. Sometimes separation occurs due to a disagreement with a priest, a religious sister, or another church member. Sometimes people are disenchanted by the apparent lack of faith or hypocrisy of some Church members. For others, a theological or moral disagreement serves as the reason for the distance that has grown between them and the Church. Some are simply shocked and scandalized that some priests and bishops have been abusers of people.
Church is Divine and Human
We understand that though the church is divinely guided, the church is people and we are all sinners. If we can in some way correct or heal or inform you in your situation, we would be most thankful to God. No one should be unjustly hurt, especially if that hurt comes from very organization that was created to live the life of Jesus. Our parish staff would be available to meet with you and do what we can do to bring about healing.
Sometimes nothing can be done, but listening. Sometimes we can be instruments of healing. Sometimes we can be not only the instruments of healing, but a catalyst to rebuilding a relationship with God, or with the Church. We certainly correct misinformation that may have be given or explain the rational about why the church believes what it believes. We can give you an opportunity to take another look at the Church that was once dear to your heart and can share the Lord's graces in the sacraments.
Hurt & Misunderstanding
We, at Saint Margaret Mary Church, are concerned with the hurt and misunderstanding that accompanies this separation. We would like to listen to your experience and clarify any misunderstanding. We believe that healing only occurs when you are able to talk about the hurt, and move beyond the hurt to a place of peace. That is why we encourage anyone who has been hurt by individuals of the church or representatives of the church to come to talk it out. This hurt weighs down the person and often drains them of life energy and prevents them from moving beyond that hurt.
Have you have been a victim of any sexual abuse from a church member?
It is most important that you report that abuse. You may download a document from the Diocese of Rockford web site indicating the steps you should take to deal with this. Abuse is both sinful and illegal and needs to be reported to the both police and the Diocese.
To report an instance of sexual abuse by clergy, religious or laity affiliated with the Diocese of Rockford, contact local police authorities and call the Victims Abuse Line: 815-962-9347 .
If the abuse involves a minor, also contact the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services at 1-800-25-ABUSE.
Apology for any Harm
We would like apologize to you for any hurt that has come from the Church or her leadership. We take this opportunity to ask forgiveness for this hurt knowing that the Church is not the Kingdom of God, but a means to the Kingdom and is made up of people who are sinners looking for redemption in the saving grace of Christ Jesus. Ideally the Church should be this perfect model of living the way of Christ, but she too, like all of us, needs to be redeemed by Christ Jesus.
Reverend Peter Sarnicki
Becoming Active Again
Healing the hurts and answering the questions that have caused people to become inactive Catholics is not a instantaneous process. It first means dealing with the cause, then it is a process of rebuilding the foundations of the faith. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God and came to show us the way to live for all eternity. He gathered and taught his apostles during his three years of public ministry. He taught by what he did and what he said. We have the record of the teaching of Jesus in the church by both the scriptures and the doctrines of the church. We are an Apostolic Church—meaning that our understanding of what Jesus taught comes from the apostles since none of us were there.
To build the process of coming to faith again, we need to start with reflection on the teaching of Jesus. When a person comes to the faith for the first time, we walk with them and they walk with us for most of a year or more to slowly put together the pillars of faith. They ask questions and debate issues and learn what the church teaches. The process is called the, "Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults."
This could also be a good process for returning Catholics who have not had much of a understanding and basis of their faith.
For others, who have had a strong education in their faith, it might mean just spending a few sessions asking questions and an putting things together.
The Parish Pastoral Staff can help you choose a way that best fits your needs. The person you talked with initially can be most helpful to you and direct you in a way that fits.
Where to go from here?
If you would like to talk with someone about the church, questions about what the church teaches and why, if you want to talk about a hurt from the church or some church representative, we would encourage you to contact a parish staff member.
If you wish to contact us you may do so in any number of ways.
1. You may send an e-mail to any of the staff and correspond through e-mails (addresses are listed below).
2. You can send an e-mail to set up an appointment with the staff member and you can be assured that they will listen.
3. You can call the Parish Office and make an appointment. (Parish Office Phone 847-658-7625)
You may pick any of the staff members with which you wish to meet. You may call them for an appointment or e-mail them. If you wish, you may just give your first name in order to remain anonymous.
The Parish Pastoral Staff willing to meet with you about this matter. You may email the staff member of your choosing using the following addresses or call 847-658-7625.
|Father Peter Sarnicki,
|Email Click Here:|
DIRECTORS OF CATHOLICS RETURNING HOME:
|Deacon Michael Leroy,
|Email Click Here:|
|Mr. David Philipps,
|Email Click Here:|
|Mr. Chris Nocchi,
|Email Click Here:|
The Parish Pastoral Staff can help you choose a way that best fits your needs. The person you talked with initially can be most helpful to you and direct you in a way that fits. Another fine resource is the oncecatholic.org web site.
All meetings are at 7:30 PM in Room 6 (upstairs) in the Ministry Center (building directly east of the Church).
Winter/Spring 2013 Schedule
Keeping with the informal, friendly and informative sessions "Catholics Returning Home" hopes to provide, the series will begin with an overview, where team members share stories of their journeys and where, if you feel comfortable, can share your story as well. Also covered during the sessions are topics, where you can ask questions and get informative answers from Church members on topics such as the Church today and changes since Vatican II, an explanation of the Mass, the whys of how things are done, and explanations of the Creed and Reconciliation. We hope you will join us for these sessions and we look forward to meeting you. The dates are as follows for the Spring 2013 sessions:
February 5, 2013
Overview: “Why Am I here?”
February 12, 2013
Sharing Stories of Faith
February 19, 2013
The Church Today
February 26, 2013
Explanation of the Mass
March 5, 2013
Explanation of the Creed
March 12, 2013
Explanation of Reconciliation
Because they want meaning in life.
Because childhood memories surface.
Because they made mistakes.
Because they need to forgive others.
Because they want to be healed.
Because the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth and grace.
Because they want their children to have a faith foundation.
Because they want to be part of a faith community.
Because they want to help other people.
And the Number 1 reason people return to the Church is: