Fr, Greg's Pastoral Letter-March 24, 2019

Dear Sisters and Brothers –

This week our bulletin carries two more essays from fellow parishioners, their testimonies for why they are Roman Catholic.  It has been gratifying for me to hear from our essayists the thanks and the feedback they are receiving: “Thank you. You have given me so much to think about,” “You put words on my experience,” “I feel like I don’t have to be so defensive about my faith,” “I’m glad to hear how a different experience led to the same place I am.”  And more.

As topsy-turvy as things feel in the Church right now, something or Someone is holding onto us or/and we are holding onto something or Someone.  We know that because we are here, in church.  And in this topsy-turvyness, it is important for us to know that that is, so that we can attend to it and nurture it, so that it can nurture us.

I want to extend an invitation to all parishioners who are would like to submit their own essays.  They will join the others online and on our parish Facebook page.  (This, of course, is flexible; should you want to write but not have it posted on Facebook, that’s fine!)  I think that this is important because our faith and our journeys are not just ours; those gifts are like all gifts, to be shared.  And in this topsy-turvy time, we all need to be inspired by and held by one another.

The prompt questions are again below.  They are intended only to help your reflection, not to be dutifully answered.  Please send your essays (600-800 words) to me at gbonfiglio@usfca.edu.  Please note that we’ll edit them only if needed for length, clarity, and consistency across all the essays.  (If yours is edited, we’ll get it back to you for approval before going to print.)  And please include a recent photo–selfies work!)

Finally, I hope you will join us for some discussion about this topic later in Lent.  After the 11:00 am and 5:00 pm Masses on March 31, and before the 5:00 pm Mass on April 6, and after the 8:00 and 9:30 am Masses on April 7, one or two different parishioners will share their testimonies in person, and we will follow those with some reflection and discussion in small groups.

Thank you for joining us on this Lenten journey of sharing our faith.

Oremus pro invicem,

Fr. Greg

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Read all parishioner essays HERE.

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Reflection Questions: “Why I Am Catholic”

How did you become Catholic?

- If you are a “cradle Catholic”, what was your experience growing up?

- If you were baptized or received into the Church as an adult, why did you convert? What did you find attractive about the Church?

What difference has being a Catholic made in your life?”

How has your Catholic faith been important to you? What, in how you live your life, demonstrates that?

What do you find attractive about Catholicism today?

What about Catholicism do you struggle with today?

What challenges do you face as a Catholic?

- From within yourself or from within the Church?

- From outside yourself or outside the Church?

Why do you choose to remain Catholic today?

- What are the teachings or beliefs that you hold onto because they are helpful?

- Who are the people you hold onto because they inspire you, or teach you, or are helpful in some way?

- What are the traditions or rituals or sacraments that nourish your faith?

- Or, what is it that holds onto you? (Versus you holding onto it.)

How does the Church help you to live the life you want to live or be the person you want to be? Does being Catholic help you to know Jesus more deeply? If so, how?

How do you experience God in or through all or any of the above?

- What is that God like, in your experience? How would you describe that God, either in anthropomorphic terms or in non-anthropomorphic terms?