Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 3, 2003
I am standing at the door knocking
Oblate mission parish seeks out fallen away Catholics
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"We are hoping that a familiar face and a smile might encourage people to come to the mission."
- Jeananne Kirwin
In January, the home visitors hand-delivered a letter from the Oblate mission team to all registered Catholics in each zone. Now they are hand-delivering the mission schedule to the same people.
"We talk to everyone if we can," Kirwin explained. "We ring the doorbell twice or even three times, but if they are not home we leave the letter in the mailbox. It's not a pastoral visit in that we don't want to come across as being more religious than the homeowner.
"We are just representatives of the parish and we are hoping that a familiar face and a smile might encourage people to come to the mission."
"Most of our visits were very positive," Kirwin said. "In my neighbourhood I met a lot of familiar faces, people that I had seen at church but maybe didn't know their name. I also met lots of people that I had never seen at church before."
Responses varied. "I would say that many were enthusiastic, some were curious and interested and some were clearly just politely taking the letter," Kirwin laughed.
"(But) even if we facilitate the return of just a few parishioners to the Church, a few Catholics back to the faith, this whole effort would have been worthwhile."
Catherine Douglas, who coordinates the mission on behalf of Holy Spirit Parish, estimates 90 per cent of those visited reacted positively to the visit.
"There are some individuals who are quite pleased that the Church has made an effort to contact them," she said. "People are generally glad to see us."
From March 20 to 25, members of the Oblate mission team will make a third home visit, but this time they will be doing pastoral work, Kirwin noted. "They are there to bless the homes if the homeowner wishes, to talk about difficulties if there are any, to answer questions, to pray with the homeowner."
The mission will also feature Behold the Lamb, a group of young Catholic evangelists from Radway. They will visit all eight Catholic schools in the St. John/Holy Spirit Parish between March 8 and 22.
St. John and Holy Spirit parishes, which combined have about 1,200 families, have been working together since they were twinned about three years ago. Kirwin said the mission has brought the parishes closer together.
"Because of this mission we are really getting to know each other and it's a good thing because we are becoming increasingly cooperative with each others' programs," she said.
Douglas hopes the mission will lead to the spiritual renewal of both parishes and their members.
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