WHAT CAN THE Church do to retain the disaffected Catholics hovering on the church threshold? The question is asked in the article "Church leavers neglected" (13 February).
The main reason, in my point of view, is that the faith in today's society has sadly become very weak. Consequently, for many people, prayer has become non-existent or neglected.
The Scriptures and the teaching of the Church tell us that faith comes primarily from hearing. Therefore, there is a vital and urgent need for the Church to evangelise (and by Church, I mean laity as well as bishops and priests). There is an urgent need for spiritual information as well as formation; that is, to catechise as well as to evangelise the present and practising Church and community. There is also an urgent need to be re-awakened to live a life of prayer and to witness powerfully to a sceptical and indifferent society, and yet paradoxically a society which is hungry for true and meaningful spirituality An impossible dream? Many would argue that the labourers may be too few and the harvest too difficult, but are we not supposed to be a people of hope? A people of prayer? An Easter people with "alleluia" as our song? Are we not living now in the year of the Holy Spirit?
I believe that every parish in this country could be totally transformed by the power of prayer and by living a committed life of faith, together with an ongoing process of spiritual conversion, so that a spirit of evangelisation and a personal relationship with our blessed Lord would be a part of everyday living.
It is a well-known fact that following true conversion' many problems with the Church just disappear. The Holy Spirit always brings harmony, love, peace, and then faith not only becomes meaningful and alive, but a pearl of great price.
Readers who might think that I am simplifying a very complex problem should read the life ofJohn Vianney, commonly known as the "Cur d'Ars", to see how this saintly man transformed his hopeless parish by simple means.
Of course, all practical matters need to be dealt with, parish visitation and making the liturgy alive and interesting above all.
In order to proclaim effectively the Good News, we all need first to put our trust in God and quite simply get on our knees, and with hard work, supported and inspired by the Holy Spirit and with God's blessing, everything else will fall into place.
Serge Bosson Romford, Essex