Livermore parish offers program to bring fallen away Catholics back to the faith
LIVERMORE, Cal. Apr. 26, 2007 (http://calcatholic.com) - Do you know alienated Catholics who are orbiting the Church but not sure where, when, or how they could make a re-entry? St. Charles Borromeo Church in Livermore is one place where they may be able to come in for a landing.
Offering a "safe, non-judging space to explore your questions, concerns and hurts," Julie Gallagher, the Lifelong Learning Coordinator at St. Charles Borromeo, says she is excited about helping the "searching souls" make their way back to the Catholic faith.
A cradle Catholic, Gallagher helped her mother, Rose Gallagher, conduct St. Charles Borromeo's Returning Catholic Program in the 1980s, and is now in charge of the program herself.
"It had been about five years since we really had a ‘Re-Exploring’ program because there had not been much of a turnout. Pretty much no one. I think a lot had to do with the scandals hitting the Church at the time.
"But this past year," says Gallagher, "I have had a lot of people come to me who were re-entering the Church, or people who never left, who had questions about their faith."
What are most people's "questions, concerns and hurts"?
"It really depends on how long people were gone. If a person has been gone from the Church for, say, 30 years or more, it's usually, 'How can I come back? How do I go to Confession?' Some of the hurts may involve their parents, or an unplanned pregnancy. The other biggie is annulments and how a divorced person fits into the Catholic Church, especially if they’re under the impression that they can never receive Communion again," says Gallagher. "We work together to find answers. Sometimes just listening to them puts them on a new path with God and the Catholic faith again."