How do I become "more Catholic?"

My goodness, this is a strange topic, I suppose. I was raised by borderline Cradle Catholics…Catholic when it suits them. I was very involved in church when I was a teen, participating as a lector, Eucharistic minister, bible school and CCD teacher.

When I was 17, I met my husband, who was anti-Catholic for some ODD reason. He was raised ELCA Lutheran (catholic-lite). His father was Catholic, but excommunicated in the 40’s for divorce. His mother was raised by a Catholic mother and an Episcopalian father and chose to become Lutheran when she went to college. We were from the suburbs of Chicago, so just about EVERYONE was Catholic. Maybe THAT was why he was anti-Catholic. Who knows, he really doesn’t know why now, either. Silly.

Anyway, we married Lutheran, but are raising our four boys Catholic. We had our marriage validated and blessed a few years ago by the Church. DH attends Mass when he can. He works shift work and can only attend Sunday Mass at most twice a month. He would be Catholic by now, if only he could attend RCIA!

My questions are: How do I become more involved in Church now? (I have recently become extremely shy due to anxiety) I don’t feel I could ask my parents. They divorced when I was 19 and neither are active Catholics. We live in Utah now…where Catholics are few and far between. I know very few Catholics, and they are Cradle Catholics…I happen to be the only church going one among the couple of Catholic friends I have. Although I go to Mass on a fairly regular basis, I have a hard time getting to know anyone, due to my shyness.

Also: We really like our parish priest. How do we become friends with our priest? I know that sounds like a weird question. But my parents never had our priest over for dinner. In fact, the only time he ever came over was for my Communion party. I would like to know the etiquette for getting to know our priest on a personal level. He seems like such a neat guy. There is a cultural difference, he is from Poland. I find that fascinating. I am half Polish, but know nothing about my heritage. He is great with kids and seems like such a nice guy. I would like to have the house we just moved into blessed. It is our first home. But I do not even know what is involved there.

I feel dumb for uncomfortable even asking these questions on a FORUM.

I think my main problem is my social anxiety. It is inhibiting me from being a more involved Catholic and gaining Catholic friends. And I just do not know HOW to go about becoming friends with our priest or WHERE I can be more involved in church. I volunteered to help with CCD but was told there was no need for my help.

HELP! How can I become more of a Catholic in my personal life in Mormon-Utah? How do I surround myself and my four children with Catholic friends?

Hello duncaljax and welcome to the Forums!!!
I hope you would find Catholic friends here besides Mormon - Utah. :slight_smile:

You could start what you had done when you were younger:

I was very involved in church when I was a teen, participating as a lector, Eucharistic minister, bible school and CCD teacher.

You have also started one of the important activities - Joined the Catholic forums. :thumbsup:

I’ve found out that by joining church activities, it helps me focus on my spiritual life more. My mind is no longer occupied by my day job but also Church activities. The more I think about the Church activities, the more I think of God.

Well, not to sound like it is a big cop-out…

But, I did try to volunteer at our parish for CCD and was told that there was no need for my help. There is no Bible School at our parish, or near my home. And the Eucharistic ministering would be near impossible due to the fact that I have four little kids that I would have to leave in the pews. I should say…four BOYS (ages 3 to 9). And the same with the lecoring (which I would REALLY love to do again)…our lectors do not walk up from teh pews, but sit where the altar boys or acolyes would be. I could NEVER leave the kids alone. DH works shift work and I am usually left to take the kids to church alone.

:frowning:

You can ask your priest to bless your house and invite him to stay for either lunch or dinner afterwards. Make sure write a thank you card along with a check for his blessing of your house. That could be a starting point of making friends with your priest.

Well, first off, don’t get so hung up on “Catholic”, just be yourself first and the rest will follow.

Now, to get more involved in your parish? Just look at the bulletin for starters. Are there any programs you are interested in? Granted it is summer so it is probably sparse but it will increase come fall. Are there any social justice groups (e.g. JustFaith)? Prayer groups? Catholic Women groups?

Another good way to get to know your pastor and church staff is for you and your family to volunteer to help out at mass when you can. Do they need you or your husband as Eucharistic Ministers? Lectors? If you have kids, they could be servers. Can you sing? Are there any choirs to join or cantor or music accompaniment you could do?

These are just a few ways to “break the ice”, which often gets you talking to the priest before or after mass and you can be on a first name to him as a familiar face. Then things like inviting him over for dinner, kid(s)’ future events (graduation party, etc…) do not seem so foreign.

That is how it worked for me at my parish. I started off as a Sacristan and EM, then found a JustFaith group for social justice background, and then was asked to be on the Parish Council, which I am right now.

Once you break the shell you will have to balance yourself as you will find so many opportunities to do something you can easily take on too much too fast.

Well to answer your question on how to become “more Catholic” the answer is to read, read, read and ask lots of questions. I am a Cradle Catholic and really did not “know” a lot about Catholisim and why we do what we do…I started off with What Catholics really believe by Karl Keating and I was off to the races :). The Catholic Answers home and library is full of great articles and answers :slight_smile:

As for feeling more connected to your parish…look in that bulletin and sign up for something.In order to become more involved in the church, many members join one or more committees. Sign the children up and get to know some of the other Catholic parents. Attend everything you can…pancake breakfast etc…Good luck!

Hi duncaljax, one way to become more catholic is to become a member of a third order.

laydominicanswest.org/chapter_list.html

God Bless

Thank you! This sounds very interesting and may be what I am looking for. It is late, and I do not have the full attentiveness to give it, but I am going to look into this very seriously. It may very well be what I have been looking for. Thank you for redaing further into my question and giving me such an enlightened answer!

God Bless!!

Quite welcome :slight_smile:

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

The primary “work” of the Church is prayer. You are welcome to assist in this work by assisting with the Liturgy (“public work”) of the Church.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council teach that fully conscious and actual participation in the Liturgy of the Church is “the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit.” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 14, 2.) To pray the liturgy:

Daily pray the Liturgy of the Hours, consisting at least of Matins, Lauds, one of the Day Prayers, Vespers, and Compline. These should be prayed aloud – either alone or in company with friends – and should be said at the hours recommended in the general instructions for the Liturgy of the Hours, or as close to those suggested times as one’s daily routine allows. For this purpose I recommend the

LITURGY OF THE HOURS (1999)

Alternative sources: If one does not have access to the full text of the Liturgy of the Hours, the following partial sources may be used, supplemented with appropriate readings etc.

Liturgy of the Hours Online (partial);

Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours (partial) by Catholic Book Publishing Co (1999)

Two other necessary elements of the Liturgy of the Church are

CONFESSION ON EACH SATURDAY (or other convenient day of each week).

Sacramental Confession occasions a weekly examination of conscience and affords one contact with the insights of an able Confessor. Further the weekly grace of forgiveness purifies one’s intentions and allows one to remain clear-minded and openhearted.

HOLY MASS ON EACH SUNDAY AND OTHER HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION.

One must work diligently to attain “fully conscious and actual participation” in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. One should see and constantly experience the comprehensive context of the Church’s liturgy. Confession should be a weekly pre-requisite to one’s assistance at the Mass. The Mass should be felt as the culmination of the week’s daily prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours, and one’s days should be marked by the progress through the Liturgy from Morning Prayer on waking, through Compline just before sleep. This mantle of constant prayer will surround one with opportunities to absorb and experience “the true Christian spirit.” It is necessary thus to pray constantly.

In addition to praying the Liturgy, one might want to read the Scripture as proclaimed in the Liturgy of the Church. To do this one should read, either daily or at least weekly, the daily proclamations of Scripture in the Lectionary.

I find this easiest to do by using the service provided by the American Bishops on their website. I prefer to do these readings on Saturday prior to Confession. I read all of the readings for each day from the previous Monday through Sunday’s Mass the next day. Reading these proclamations in groups of seven days gives a strong sense of the sweep of the proclamations and the interconnections among parts of the Scriptures as highlighted by their combinations in the Liturgy. (Others may prefer to read the readings for each day on the day for which they are prescribed.)

This practice of reading the Lectionary should be continued for at least three calendar years. This will allow one to read all three cycles of the Sunday Mass readings as well as one and one half iterations of the Daily Mass readings’ cycle.

The Lectionary is available courtesy of the Bishops of the United States at

LECTIONARY (online).

Alternate sources: The Lectionary can also be purchased in book form, if one wishes:

Lectionary for Mass: Proper of Seasons for Weekdays, Year Ii/Proper of Saints/Common of Saints : United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Lectionary for Mass) (2002)

Whatever expression your living of the “true Christian spirit” takes, these prayers, Sacraments, and readings will provide a stable basis for action and correct engagement of the world in and through the Catholic Church.

Pax Christi tecum.

John Hiner

Hello and welcome!

I think the advice many of the posters here gave is quite excellent, except I would give one caveat-- committing to be in a third order or jumping right in to large commmitments may be premature. Not that I discourage such things, just that I think that they should come in their proper order. So, keep in mind their excellent advice, but if you are interested, make it a longer term goal.

My first point of advice would be proper catechism. Knowing the faith will be essential. There are many good tools for doing this, the best of which are the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you don’t currently have copies of these in your home, I’d say, definitely buy them. The compendium is very easy to read and very convenient, as a question and answer format summary of the larger and more diffficult Catechism. The Catechism itself has tremendous depth for what it is, and certainly deserves to be what JPII called it, “a sure norm for teaching the faith.” Additionally, these can be tools to teach your husband and children more about the faith as well. As a note, reading scripture is also very important, but by reading the catechism one will be careful to read the scripture through the eyes of the Church. The gospels are priceless for learning about the faith.

My second point of advice would be to pray. One becomes more, “Catholic” by becomming holier and more Christ-like. The essential supports for this are the Church’s sacraments-- Penance (Confession) and the Eucharist. I don’t know your situation, but it’s always good to frequent these sacraments. Prayer, then, builds on the life of grace which the sacraments give you, and greatly helps you to unite yourself to God. There are many good ways to pray-- and the best way, ultimately, is the one you will do. It is better to pray than not to pray, and better to pray badly than not at all. It’s a process which the Spirit leads us in and teaches us.

Two forms of prayer which I use are the rosary and sacred reading (“lectio divina”). The rosary is well known, simple, and incredibly deep. “A moment to learn, a lifetime to master” would certainly be an appropriate slogan here. By focusing on the mysteries of the rosary one meditates on the central portions of the gospel, and by remembering the spiritual fruits of each decade one challenges oneself to live in a more Christ-like manner. Sacred reading, also known as lectio divina, refers to prayerful reading of Scripture-- literally, praying Scripture. To do this, we read the Scripture slowly and in small portions, being totally receptive to it, meditating on it and praying about it. If we constantly allow the Scripture to change us, we will undoubtedly be transformed into the image of Christ. (If you are interested, ask me, and I’ll recommend some simple books and maybe some internet links so you can learn more.) Prayer has an important purpose of uniting us with God-- and this happens in part because we use prayer to excite us to virtue and dissuade us from sin. One must persevere in prayer even when one lacks consolation, or feels, ‘dry’ because the purpose of prayer is not to feel good but to spend time with God. These are just two of my suggestions, do what seems best to you, and stick with it.

In addition to prayer as I’ve just stated, it is a good habit to examine one’s conscience daily and pray an Act of Contrition for those sins (i.e., do this before bed). This way we are constantly aware of our sins, and we repent for them. It will also make regular confession easier.

It is also good to pray in the morning when one gets up-- find a morning offering prayer.

My third point of advice would be, perhaps, to start a group if there is none. If you would really like to do [insert group here] then possibly you could help start a group, and find some like minded people to help you with it.

-Rob

P.S. For the priest, just ask him. I’m sure he’d be happy to bless your house if you asked, and if you want, kill two birds with one stone and ask him over to dinner on the same day. :slight_smile:

have you joined any Confraternities or done any special Marian Devotions or Divine Mercy Chaplet groups or Rosary groups? alot of them can be found online and while it may not get you out of the house it is definitely a good start IN the home that coud turn into something outside of the home. Have you made friends with the Church secretary? always a good place to start. My husband and I too would love to be personal friends with our priest–but he is so busy! For the house blessing and the dinner invite—just ask! Also if we make something like a lasagna or a pot of soup we always give him a call and ask if he would like us to pop over and bring him a meal to keep in the fridge for the next day. Listen to his homilies very closely and pick out one or two points you appreciate and give him a thank-you note mentioning them. Our priest loves bookstores and we have asked him if he would like to have a cup of coffee at Barnes and Nobles when my husband and I have our ‘date-night’. Also ask if he has a regular restaurant to go to on Sundays—ours does and while two or three families always show up–he gladly invites anyone who wants to to show up. If you think of more suggestions–let me know too! LOL
Ravyn

Blessed with 4 boys age 3-9 - how wonderful.

One way to get more involved with Catholic friends and opportunities to learn more would be to get the boys involved in some of the church youth sports activities if they have some.

There you can meet other kids parents like you with similar beliefs. You mentioned your shyness - but kids have a way of bringing parents together easily. It might be a good first step and hopefully you can make many friends and learn more about other activities of faith that interest you. This could be the icebreaker.

Good luck and God Bless.

A great way to get involved is to participate in prayer groups. If you attend regularly, the attendees will welcome you and break the ice (if you’re too shy). We attend mass daily, and have joined a loose group of couples for morning coffee after mass (I usually have to miss coffee due to work, but wife goes). Ask Father to bless your house, and stay for lunch (make sure you tell him before hand that you want him to eat with you. Do some sort of manual work around the parish (we do landscape maintenance). You can still lector, but let the parish secretary or whoever prepares the schedule what days you’re available, so you can lector when hubby is with the kids. Same with EM. There’s also lots of church socials-at least 3 or 4 a year, where you can meet people.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

welcome to the forums and welcome home
one of the major purposes of RCIA, especially the sponsor, is to help you become more involved in parish life and to model “acting Catholic”. Sorry if you have missed out on that. For now, just watch the announcements and join anything that seems to be going on whether it is a bible study, helping with the parish picnic, or making phone calls. ideal for you would be a small-group, so you could meet only a few people at a time. Ask the pastor if there are small groups for prayer, bible study, faith sharing etc. you could join. If there is an altar society for ladies join that, they usually do some kind of good works and you have a built in network in the parish, and it should be open to all women of the parish.

ask again about CCD in August when they are starting up for next year, just about being an aide or office volunteer, I don’t think there is a DRE in the country who never needs more help. If I had a very shy person who did not want to teach a class, I would has her to consider handing out supplies and resources to the catechists, making copies etc, keeping supply cupboard organized, and if she was a craft person, ask her to teach simple crafts to the catechists and kids in small groups. Or I would ask for someone willing to handle hospitality for parent meetings, RCIA etc., make the coffee, set out pan dulce etc. find cups and napkins. I could also use someone to manage the AV equipment, set up a Video library, handle the VCR for parent meetings and classes.
these 3 things take up a huge amount of my time when I should be with parents and catechists, and would be an enormous contribution.

obey God’s Law.

put God first in everything.
keep the Lord’s Day holy. all of it.

im starting to realize, with the Lord’s day, that we are called not to work (except for doctors or emergency persons for instance) but how come we so often go out to breakfast or dinner on sundays and make other people work for us?

it’s His day.
so i would say, take this Sunday, and really give it to the Lord, i mean really give it to Him, spend time with your family, reflect on how you might become a better Catholic-Christian.

in the end, He is worth it.

and we know it.

God Bless
Mordocai

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