Ministries of Welcoming in the Church

Here is the cold, hard fact: almost 40 percent of British Catholics brought up in the faith no longer identify as such, according to recent British sociological data. But what can be done to reverse this trend?

Landings, a lay-run ministry programme for welcoming returning Catholics, is a reconciliation process that helps faith communities welcome inactive Catholics who want to take another look at the Church. Landings trains compassionate lay people to reach out to those cut off from the Church for any number of reasons. Landings offers a safe place to tell one’s story, discern a place in the Church, and find a way home. Landings has been in the UK for about 15 years.

To celebrate the re-launch in the UK of Landings, “Ministries of Welcoming in the Church: A Conference on Healing and Reconciliation” will be held on July 5 at Heythrop College in London.

“This conference addresses the theology of the New Evangelisation fostered by Pope Francis and ministries directed toward healing and reconciliation,” said Father Thomas A. Kane, CSP, director of Landings, a Paulist Fathers ministry of reconciliation. “This ministry is multi-faceted, with invitations to the wider society, to the Church, to parish communities, and to individual Catholics in various pastoral situations.”

From women and the divorced to the abused, the conference will address many issues of reconciliation in the Church beginning with a keynote presentation on “Catholic ‘Disaffiliates’ in the U.K.” delivered by Dr. Stephen Bullivant, senior lecturer in theology and ethics at St. Mary’s University College in Twickenham. “The Art of Compassionate Listening,” is the subject of the second keynote speech by Father Brendan Callaghan, SJ, a clinical psychologist who taught “The Psychology of Religion” at Heythrop College for 30 years.

After lunch, participants will attend two workshops of their choice, and the day will wrap up with a panel discussion including many of the conference presenters. “This day is all about how to bring people into reconciliation with one another, with the Church and with God,” said Father Kane. “We hope this day will help parish communities enkindle the spirit of reconciliation and healing.”

You can find out more about the programme for the day and book a place at www.jesuit.org.uk/ministriesofwelcoming.