This evening I joined about a dozen parishioners for the final viewing and discussion of Fr. Barron's Catholicism series. The youngest member of the group was a woman in her early thirties, a married mother of two. She hasn't been confirmed yet, so I suggested that she attend this series as a good catalyst to her formation. At various points in the series she acknowledged her ignorance of many concepts that the rest of the group were taking for granted. Her candid admissions became the opportunity for several people to converse with her after "class." They spoke to her about the Rosary, about the Eucharist, about their own faith journeys.
After locking up I went over to the daily Mass chapel for Benediction, the conclusion of Eucharistic Adoration which takes place most Thursdays throughout the year. I was delighted to see a young man in the pews, a longtime altar server and recent graduate of our local Catholic high school. The High School Youth Conferences held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville have inspired this young man and others in our youth group to a deeper investment in the Catholic faith. After we put away the candles, monstrance, and other items, he and I talked for a good while about his efforts to engage friends and associates in conversation about the Lord. He has been looking forward to the next few Sundays and their feature of St. John's "Bread of Life" discourse.
There are signs of life in our parish. I don't just mean social functions, or our children's imminent return to school. People want to know more about the Faith and want to apply it to their lives. People are coming to the Church "where they are" and are open to a greater understanding and love of God. I don't give a hoot what you read in the papers or online, or what you hear in neighborhood conversations. These are good times to be a priest, good times to be a Catholic. It's time to cash in on the truth, beauty, and goodness of our faith.