Over 6,000 people have shared my recent article Be Catholic Despite Your Bad Parish and I think that shows how much we long to put love and warmth back into our parishes.  Our religion is amazing.  We have Mary, the Saints, the Vatican and a great history filled with beautiful tradition.  But somewhere along the way, we lost our fire for Jesus. We lost our sense of loving one another, of greeting each other with warm smiles and acceptance.

Now this is hardly true of all Catholics.  The more I get out there and meet Catholics, the more I encounter men and women who love Jesus and whose hearts are on fire for spreading the truth of the Gospel.  But we cannot deny that most people who come in off the streets and step into a Catholic parish aren’t going to be met with warmth and welcoming arms.  Instead they’ll find lukewarm Catholics, no one to help them integrate into the community and more red tape than open invitations.  We cannot continue this way.

We must be focused on winning souls for Christ.  We must go where the people are and welcome the people into our Church, which right now feels like an exclusive country club of rules.  I don’t mean this to be offensive but this is largely the truth in many parishes.  I don’t want it to be like that.  I want everyone who walks through the doors of a parish to encounter the loving embrace of our Blessed Mother, to discover the hope that Jesus promised us and to find a community who can provide strength for these hard earthly battles we must all fight daily.

What can you do?

First, make sure your own heart is on fire for Christ.  Watch videos, read books, listen to podcasts until you are convinced that walking with Him is the only way to a satisfying life here on Earth.  We must all be striving for Heaven and make this goal more important than any other.

Second, check out Rebuilding: 75 Really, Really Practical Ways to Make Your Parish Better.  This provides a lot of small and reasonable steps for improving the way our parishes welcome outsiders.

Last, don’t stop working to improve yourself or your parish.  We cannot let roadblocks or busy schedules get in the way of why God put us on Earth.  We must love Him and seek to share His truth with everyone. Don’t stop asking yourself, “How can I be better? How can WE be better?”

I will be praying for you.  I’m confident that if the Catholic church can come together, we can solve these problems because we have the truth on our side!