When was the last time you can truly say that you were actively learning and growing in your faith? For some, it was during classes for confirmation in high school. For others, they haven’t attended a class or read anything since 6th grade. Still others have not picked up their Bible and read it since they bought it or got it as a gift. This is the state of many of us Catholics, and it is not good. Think about it. We spend thousands of dollars and years of our lives going to school for our professions, yet many of us stopped enriching and learning about our faith when we were a child or teen. Near the end of my life, I ask myself, what will be more important? What will have the most impact on my eternal destiny? I wonder if this is one of the pieces of the puzzle as to why some Catholics stop practicing their faith and no longer attend Mass. Such persons cannot withstand the faith challenges that come their way in our ever-increasing secular society. Simply “attending” Mass is not enough to be able to stay strong in the faith while secularism is bent on removing all forms of religion, specifically Catholicism.
Towards offering opportunities to grow in our faith, St. Anne’s has several bible studies and faith-sharing groups. We also have addiction support groups for those who desire a safe place to break the chains that bind them. We also have many prayer groups that meet throughout the week as well as our Adoration Chapel for silent prayer and contemplation. There is an art-therapy group, several rosary groups, periodical theology classes sponsored by the Archdiocese, and the list goes on. Some of these are in the day time and others are in the evening. Some are offered in English while others are in Spanish
Personally, this month and next, I will be involved in two events to which I would like to invite you. The first is next week’s (Oct. 16) Catholicism 101 which will be a Q & A session about anything that is on your mind regarding Church teaching and practice. This is often fun and a great way to share our faith. This will be next Sunday between the Masses from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM. Next month (Nov. 20), I will be offering a “Theology of the Body” workshop where I will be teaching St. Pope John Paul II’s reflection on what has become the most compelling theology of marriage. That workshop will be in Room 1 of the Parish Center from 1 PM to 5 PM. There will several breaks throughout the workshop and refreshments will be available. Everyone is welcome, especially parents of teens, for I will be offering this same teaching in a 6-week period at our High School youth ministry nights beginning in February 2017. All persons seeking to get married are required to come to this workshop as part of their preparation.
So, let us all do a gut check and ask what we are or are not doing to cultivate our faith. Let us be mindful that we are responsible for this gift of faith which God has given us. And finally, let us be mindful of the myriad of opportunities there are to learn and grow here at St. Anne. If you are timid to come to one of these gatherings, ask a friend to join you. It may make all the difference in your life.
Fr. William Holtzinger