You may have heard that the Pope came for a little visit last weekend and I’m reading all sorts of stories of first-time Mass goers, lapsed Catholics giving church a second try, lines at confession, people stopping priests on the street to ask questions … you get the idea. The Pope has done his part to open doors, now it’s up to us to be welcoming and continue the momentum.
When you’re at Mass, please watch for unfamiliar faces, people who look uncertain, don’t know the prayers, need a seat, etc., and make a real effort to pray for and befriend them in simple and creative ways. And when you’re out and about, keep the conversation going! There are some practical ways in this article.
This one is my favorite:
7. Keep your eyes (and heart) open. My Facebook feed is filled with stories of people returning to the Sacraments after decades because of watching Pope Francis on TV this week. People are sharing about entire bars that were glued to the screens showing the Holy Father, all joining in for a Hail Mary at the end. In a bar. I read one woman saying, “I’m not even a Christian and Pope Francis is my favorite human being alive!” Our Churches today were filled with prodigals, I’m sure of it. Pay attention. Look around for people who might feel out of place. Listen when people talk about Pope Francis to see if they aren’t really asking about Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to say. And never, never think you know a person’s story. Everyone you meet is hungry for Jesus. We all show it differently. Your job is not to judge. Your job is to bring them to Jesus.