Returning Catholics

Returning Catholics are those who have been away from active participation in the Church for however long.

We know that many people returning to the Church have questions about its teachings and practices.  We want to create the time and space for you to ask your questions and get them answered, as well as address your concerns.  We offer a series of informal group gatherings for that purpose, described below.  Perhaps you have asked yourself one or more of these questions:

  • I am thinking of returning to the Catholic Church.  Do I have to go through some kind of program to do this?  No, if you are a Catholic who has been baptized and received First Communion.  However, there are other options besides simply coming back and sitting down in a pew.  We do offer an informal group for returning Catholics for discussion, question-and-answers, and where appropriate, explanation or teaching regarding the faith (see below).  A person returning to active participation should meet one-on-one with one of our staff members to sort through individual circumstances.
  • If I return to the Church, do I need to go to confession?  Or can I just come to mass?  You are always welcome to mass.  Never, never stay away thinking you are unwelcome.  However, before receiving Holy Communion you will want to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation by making a confession.  As it turns out, our own Fr. Picton is particularly gifted in this sacrament, and very much enjoy welcoming people back through this sacrament.
  • I don’t remember how to go to confession?  What do I do?  This is the beauty of the Listening Post and informal discussions.  This is one of the questions that concerns many others returning to the Church, and we are here to help you out by discussing and providing information that will get you where you need to go.  Knowing the “formula” for confession is not as important as simply going to the sacrament.  We can certainly help you with form.  In addition, Fr. Jim an most priests will talk you through the process.
  • I am not married in the Church.  Does that affect my return to the Church?  If this is your first marriage, having your marriage recognized by the Church should be simple.  If either you or your spouse has been married before, the process may take more time. We have many people on staff to discuss your marital status.
  • I have been divorced.  Does that affect my return?  What if I am remarried?  Many people, Catholic and non-Catholic, believe mistakenly that divorce disqualifies a person from being part of the Catholic  faith community.  It is important to speak to Fr. Picton or a staff person about your individual circumstances so that we can address them appropriately.  Again, never, never stay away because you think you are unwelcome or disqualified.
  • I’m not Catholic, but am curious about the Catholic Church.  What should I do?  The Church offers a process for people who are considering entering the Catholic Church. This is called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).  This usually begins with a personal interview.  You may contact Christine McKenna or Robin Baxter.


While we were waiting and praying for you, this is what we created for you, hoping you feel welcome and respected.  For the year 2012, we offer

  1.  The Listening Post An informal gathering in the Koinonia Room between the Sunday morning masses, on the second Sunday of each month, beginning September 9, 2012 and ending May 26, 2013.  This gathering is for those returning to the Church and anyone who wants to welcome them back to the Church. The purpose is to facilitate and nurture connections that such hospitality creates, and to allow free flow of conversation so as to discern needs and areas of concern.  You talk, we listen!


On September 23, we will meet for the parish Welcoming Brunch, at our own table, for follow up and to provide one or two from the following resources:

  • Rediscover Catholicism:  a spiritual guide to living with passion and purpose. By Matthew Kelly
  • The seven pillars of Catholic Spirituality(single DVD or CD)
  • Mass journal:  for seeing and noting insights and thoughts at mass
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Catholicism.  By Bob O’Gorman and Mary Faulkner
  • Catholics for Dummies.  By Fr. John Trigilio and Fr. Kenneth Brighenti


The purpose of these resources is to provide some food for thought and guidance for each person making the journey home.  This time of reflecting with the materials is meant to promote discussion for the upcoming sessions:


  1. Discussion and teaching.  Beginning January 27 and ending May 26, we will host a second gathering between the masses on the fourth Sunday of the month, this time in the parish office living room.  This meeting with be more private, including only returning Catholics and team members, and anyone who wishes to companion the returning Catholics in a sponsor-like way. The purpose of this gathering is to address personal, practical and doctrinal issues that have come up at the Listening Post.  We will offer an informal catechesis as called for.


September 9 Listening Post Koinonia Room
23 Gathering/Welcome Brunch Koinonia Room
October 14 Listening Post Koinonia Room
November 11 Listening Post Koinonia Room
December 9 Listening Post Koinonia Room
January 13 Listening Post Koinonia Room
27 Discussion Parish Office Living Room
February 10 Listening Post Koinonia Room
24 Discussion Parish Office Living Room
March 10 Listening Post Koinonia Room
  24 Discussion Parish Office Living Room
April 14 Listening Post Koinonia Room
28 Discussion Parish Office Living Room
May 12 Listening Post Koinonia Room
26 Discussion Parish Office Living Room

Also Please consider joining us for the Catholicism Series

Word On Fire: Begins April 21

Fr. Robert Barron is an acclaimed author and theologian from Chicago and founder of Word On Fire Catholic Ministries

See our Catholicism page for more information or contact Christine McKenna