Taking those first steps to return to the Church can be daunting, and you may feel alone in this journey of discovery. Returning to Church, or perhaps answering a longing for God, however, is not journey we make on our own. Remember, as you take these steps of faith, the Lord walks with you. He is there to help and guide you.
It doesn't matter how long you have been away from the Church, or the reasons that you stopped practising your faith, we are always ready to welcome you. At St John's and St Joseph's - as with every Catholic Church throughout the world - there is a warm welcome awaiting your return.
We hope that the information on this page will provide you with some of the answers to questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information, or guidance on your journey of faith.
This video is part of an American campaign called "Catholics Come Home"
for more information please visit: www.catholicscomehome.org
"Maybe someone among us here is thinking: my sin is so great, I am as far from God as the younger son in the parable (of the Prodigal Son), my unbelief is like that of Thomas; I don’t have the courage to go back, to believe that God can welcome me and that he is waiting for me, of all people. But God is indeed waiting for you; he asks of you only the courage to go to him."
Pope Francis, Homily 7th April 2013
Why Come Back To Church?
Here are a few reasons to help you think about coming back to Church.
MEANING Our culture and society can sometimes leave us with a sense of confusion which makes it difficult to find meaning and purpose in our lives. In the face of the modern world, Christ fulfils our lives, He gives us a meaning and purpose.
HEALING There are many things that we carry on our shoulders: the burden of our own sinfulness over the years, guilt, not being able to forgive other people, or perhaps other spiritual wounds - anger with God, questioning God for things that happen in life. Being open to Jesus, and, what we can receive from Him through the Church can bring us great comfort, healing and peace to all of our daily struggles and problems.
BELONGING The Catholic Church is a community of people united in Christ. It is more than just the building! Together, Catholics offer whatever is going on in their lives - joys and sorrows - to God. Together, as a community, they receive God's help and support to live their lives.
THE EUCHARIST This is perhaps the most wonderful reason for returning to Church and practising your faith. Each time we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus is made truly present and we are given the immense privilege of receiving Him in Holy Communion. Everyone has a longing in their hearts to meet Jesus. Receiving Him in this special way satisfies our hunger and helps us to find Him in the other areas of our lives, maybe those areas we did not think he could be present.
How Do I Come Back To Church?
Remember, it is never too late to start again. Here are a few suggestions to help you come back to the Church. Take them in your own time and at your own pace.
PRAY If you are thinking of coming back to church it is because the Holy Spirit is trying to say something to your heart. Talk to God, ask Him to help you in your life, ask him to help your faith to grow.
VISIT THE CHURCH St John's church is open every day. When you are passing why not call in and spend a few moments with the Lord who is truly present in the tabernacle? Re-familiarise yourself with being in church.
COME TO MASS Mass is celebrated on Saturdays at 4.00pm and on Sundays at 8.45 a.m. and 11.15 a.m. at St John's; at 10.00 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. at St Joseph's. One of the best ways to come back to church is to just start coming. Sunday Mass is especially important for Catholics because we gather as a community of faith to worship God together. You may not be ready to receive Holy Communion yet, but you can come up for a blessing until you are ready - you can indicate this by placing your arm across your chest.
THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION The Sacrament of Reconciliation, or Confession, is a moment of healing and we need it before being able to receive Holy Communion again. There is nothing to fear about this Sacrament. If you are worried or nervous about this step, please speak to one of the priests, he will be happy to help you to come back to church. At St John's, Confession is available every Friday between 6.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m., and every Saturday between 10.30 a.m. and 11.00 a.m. or by making an appointment with one of the priests.
RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION Once you have been to Confession you can fully participate at Mass by receiving Holy Communion. The task now is to continue the good work that God has started in you. You have this fresh start with God and his Church keep praying for the grace to be faithful.