St. Mary inviting people to come back to the church

St. Mary inviting people to come back to the church

Past participants Carrie Moreland, left, and Carol Sherman, right, look over material with Fr. Rich Samide of St. Mary, which will host the program, Catholics Returning Home, a six-week series starting Oct. 17 at the Wooster church.


In a program known as Catholics Returning Home, the people of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Wooster have swung open the church doors to individuals who for whatever reason have become separated from their church and want to re-explore their connection to the Catholic faith.

Begun locally in 2014, the church has followed a program model put forth by Sally Mews, author of “Inviting Catholics Home.” Mews came to Wooster to help establish a team of church members to lead the effort. Now this team is extending an invitation to nonpracticing Catholics to join them, no matter how long or for whatever reason they have been away from church.

“Our team provides a nonjudgmental, confidential, safe place where individuals can explore the challenges they have faced and their concerns associated along the way with their faith journey,” said Mary Zuercher, team coordinator.

“I was a cradle Catholic and alienated myself from the church after an unbearable hurt in my life. I strayed for years with exceptions for funerals and weddings,” said Carol Sherman, a previous participant in the program. “As I was sitting in the pew one day, I saw a brochure for Catholics Returning Home spelling out the program. From that moment on, my life-changing journey began by registering for the six-week series.

“This was the greatest opportunity to renew my Catholic faith. The priest and team were all so welcoming and showed such compassion and guidance during the class series. No matter what pain, fear, regrets or guilt you are feeling, this faith journey provides a comfortable, nonjudgmental setting.”

Carrie Moreland, previous participant, said she and a good friend returned together to attend the program. They both had been in and out of church for various reasons and felt compelled to renew their faith.

The six-week series is designed to inform and answer questions nonpracticing Catholics may have about the faith since they have left. Sessions are as follows:

—Welcome and Overview of the Series.

—Sharing of Faith from Catholics Returning Home.

—The Church Today: Living in a Vatican II Church.

—A Walk through the Mass, along with explanations and a look at the Eucharist.

—The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Explanation of Today’s Confession.

—What Catholics Believe: The Creed.

Sessions will begin Monday, Oct. 17 from 7-8:30 p.m. at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, 527 Beall Ave. in the Parish Hall (ground level of the church). For more information call the church at 330-264-8824.

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