St Josephs Parish, Upper Hutt, celebrated the first two years of its Catholics Returning Home programme last month in which parishioners have accompanied 25 Catholics on their return to the Church.
The CRH team put on afternoon tea on 20 May in the foyer of the church and invited all who had been involved with the programme in the Northern Hutt Valley Pastoral Area to meet those on the journey back to their faith roots.
The team of Anne Bowles, Joan Corcoran and Peter Holcroft from St Joseph’s and Gerard Denton from Heretaunga are constantly looking for ways to reach those who seek re-connection: advertising in the community newspaper, speaking at Masses, placing notices in the school newsletters.
Probably the most effective way is through personal invitation. Anyone who shows an interest receives a written invitation in the mail with a schedule. Then it is up to prayer and the Holy Spirit to help the person take the first step.
Over the past two years we have walked with approximately 25 people who have returned to sacramental life or who are still seeking to do so. Each programme has been attended by returnees from throughout our pastoral area. The journey back can sometimes take a long time and some returnees come back to a second or third programme. They are always welcome.
The videotapes are excellent and recently at St Joseph’s I was able to use the CRH tape, ‘A Walk Through the Mass’, as an introduction to the second module of Worshipping Under Southern Skies.
When I first saw the tapes I felt they were a wonderful resource and should be used for all members of a parish community. We all need to revitalise and nurture our gift of faith. Catholics Returning Home is a wonderful blessing for everyone who participates.