The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Are we doing our part?

With approximately fifteen or more religious denominations in the Bahamas, finding a Church to call home is an easy task, or is it? Shopping around for a Church has become just as popular as with shopping for a home, where making up our minds have been narrowed down to one thing and one thing only; do I feel comfortable and welcomed?

At just about every Church, regular members sit in the exact pew each and every week. Visitors do not know who the active members are so they have no idea who sits where in the pews, therefore one should not get upset if they find that their regular seating spot is occupied by a stranger. Here is a great time to make our visitors feel welcomed and comfortable by taking a seat next to them or in another pew. I've been told by someone that if they arrive at Church and someone is seated in their spot, they ask them to please move down. I am happy to report that it was at a Catholic Church.

As Christians representing Christ through His Church we should always be on our best behavior when our faith is questioned. Fulton J. Sheen once said: "There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be." This could very well one reason why many are afraid to step into a Catholic Church, but if and when they do, then we should be ready to show them that Jesus is truly present in our Parishes by our own actions.

What are the procedures at your Parish for those who visit? Are they greeted at the door by an usher, who coaxes them to sit near the front where they are able to take in the entire service with its beauty and awesomeness? Is there a practice at your Parish to have them complete a 'welcome' card where someone can follow up with them to answer any unanswered questions they may have had regarding our Church and its practices or something they noticed while attending a Mass service? During the announcements, do we recognize all those who are visiting our Parish? Have you ever taken the time to meet and greet our visitors outside Church and encourage them to visit again? Having visited a few Parishes around, I'd have to say that we are falling away in this regard.

Whether we are visiting another Parish as a non-Catholic or a practicing Catholic we should always feel welcomed from the moment we walk through the doors. There is no way of telling whether someone is a Catholic, other than when they begin to recite the prays and maybe when they go to partake of communion, even though that's not always an effective way. Again, I can say that having visited Churches locally and abroad I was never approached before or afterwards and asked who I was and which Church, if any, I attended.

Exactly how much information do we share with the other Parishes within the Archdiocese? Having stopped by the office of a sister Parish I scanned through their bulletin and realized that they were planning a bingo night to help with proceeds of their upcoming bazaar. Had I had known about the bingo night I would have attended and given my financial support; unless it was intended for only the members of this particular Parish. I've always said that we need to do better communications between our Parishes and should be assisting one another as best we can, for we fall under one Archdiocese. Are we one, or are we divided? Let us all do our part to minister and build Christ's Church.

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