Deacon Tim Sullivan presented a live series of presentations from February 19th to April 9th, 2019, on the essentials for living a full Catholic life. The presentations were entitled 1. Why Jesus? His Mission and Purpose, 2. The Church: Its Mission and Power, 3. The Person: Our Individual Identity, Mission and Purpose, 4. The Bible: The Essentials Every Catholic Should Know, 5. The Call To Be Disciples and 6. Evangelization Catholic Style.
Deacon Tim will now offer summaries of the presentations on this website. To communicate questions or comments, email Deacon Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Session 1. The Jesus Question. Background.
Most of us know that millions of people have left the Catholic Church in recent times. It is believed that 80% of young people raised Catholic leave the Church after they leave their parents’ home. Under the category of religion, the largest group in the United States is Catholics. The second largest group is former Catholics.
What’s the problem? The majority of Catholics don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. They don’t see how their Catholic faith enriches that relationship.
Experts such as Sherry Weddell, author of Forming Intentional Disciples, say that in the Catholic Church we emphasize religious education but without establishing a core relationship between Catholics and Jesus. Without each Catholic embracing a personal relationship with Jesus and seeing how that relationship is important to their lives, religious education simply becomes a process of getting information. Students can pass a test but the material they are given has no impact on their lives. The instruction becomes just an academic exercise that does not influence how Catholics actually live.
So let’s start with some basic questions:
How important is Jesus in your life? How would you express your relationship with Jesus?
If Jesus looked you right in the eye, as He did Saint Peter, and asked you, “Do you love me?,” what would you say?
If you died, knocked on the door to heaven, and Saint Peter asked you, “Why should I let you in,”, how would you answer him?
Why are you Catholic? How would you describe how your Catholic faith brings you close to Jesus?