During Advent, a small group of folks from various walks of parish life had a conversation about what it means to be a welcoming community, and what we could do to welcome people who might be seeking a faith community. That morphed into a very candid conversation about how we live out our faith in our lives, and why we’ve chosen to stay in the Catholic church and in this particular community.
We went back to the welcoming statement on our website and on the front of our worship aid, and decided that if we really are committed to welcoming everyone, we should offer a forum to have frank conversations about our faith, about the Catholic church, and about the sometimes challenging process of reconciling church teachings with our lives.
Over the past month, we have offered two “Finding Yourself at Corpus Christi” conversations. They were very informal opportunities for attendees to share where they were on their faith journey. After brief introductions, we put up the following list of questions and asked people to use them, popcorn style, to inspire conversation:
WHY . . .
- Why am I here?
- Why do I stay?
- Why did I leave?
WHAT . . .
- Do I wish was different?
- Makes me think about leaving?
- Would I miss?
- Do I miss?
- Gives me hope?
- Am I searching for?
WHERE . . .
- Am I on my faith journey?
The conversation was rich, and provided everyone a chance to share. We closed with the following prayer:
You are the giver of all we possess and
the source of all our blessings.
We thank and praise you.
Thank you for the gift of faith,
and the gift of this community.
Through those gifts,
help us come to know you
and to know Jesus.
Holy Spirit, help us grow
in faith, hope, and love,
so we may know peace, truth, and goodness.
May our ears hear your voice.
May our eyes see your presence in all things.
May our lips proclaim your word.
May our hearts be your dwelling place.
May our hands do works of charity.
May our feet walk in the way of Jesus.