Pictured right: Pope Francis confesses during the celebration of the sacrament of penance in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, March 9, 2018.
In 2018, FAITH continues to offer the column, Discipleship 101, based on Sherry Weddell’s books, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus (2012) and Fruitful Discipleship: Living the Mission of Jesus in the Church and the World (2017). Sherry is a leading voice in the Catholic world in the field of forming missionary disciples – engaged Catholics who strive to grow as disciples of Jesus and go evangelize, sharing the Gospel with others.
Dear Fr. Joe: How can I help … my friends whose marriage is falling apart?
It’s a tough thing to watch a marriage falling apart, and I feel deeply blessed by knowing that you want to help people in that situation.
Meeting people on their journey and walking with them, Deacon Ken Preiss’ ministry at Holy Redeemer in Burton challenges people to receive Jesus and to go bring him to others.
A number of years ago, I participated in a debate at Harvard on embryonic stem cell research which also included a Jewish rabbi, an Episcopalian clergyman, and a Muslim imam. The debate went smoothly and cordially, although I was the only voice in the group who defended the human rights of individuals who happen still to be embryos.
Inside and outside
It is important for those who are committed Catholics – especially those who have never known anything else – to remember that a threshold [or stage of conversion] usually looks and feels very different to “insiders” than it does to someone approaching from the outside. As evangelizers, we need to make a real effort to imagine; to see Christ, the faith, and the Church through the eyes of outsiders. The same threshold can seem overwhelming and insurmountable to them while looking very simple and obvious to us.