What Next?

How do I come back?

Pope Francis hugs a media professional

What practical steps can you take?

The most obvious is to go to Mass, even if you are not ready to commit yourself to going every week. Normally it is best to go to your parish church, but you are welcome to attend any church where you feel at home. Some parishes are obviously friendly and welcoming, while others will leave you very much to yourself if you prefer. The style of worship may also vary from one Mass to another.

Sooner or later you will want to speak to a priest about your situation. Again, you are welcome to speak to any priest: the important thing is that you feel he understands and accepts you. Many priests greet the people at the Church door after Sunday Mass, and this is a good time to introduce yourself briefly, but not perhaps to have a long conversation, as the priest may be distracted. Phone him up during the week and make an appointment to talk things over.

Alternatively, there will be a set time for confessions, usually on a Saturday, when you can speak to him at greater length.

One way or the other, celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is the key step to taking up your faith again. Do not think of Confession as a list of sins but as an opportunity to tell Jesus Christ your story through the priest. Of course there will be particular sins you will want to mention, but they will make more sense in the context of your story. Do not be afraid if you have been away for a long time: priests are always very moved when someone says, “Father, it is 20 years since my last Confession…” The sense of joy and healing that this sacrament gives is hard to describe, and it brings with it the great blessing that you can begin receiving communion again.

You may still have some questions about various aspects of Catholic faith and life. This is perfectly normal, since faith in the living God will always be a challenge to our human ways of thinking and acting.

If you can't find help locally in thinking these things out, the Catholic Enquiry Office of England and Wales is there to help:

catholicfaith@cbcew.org.uk

Come Home For Christmas
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