Making New Connections–Long After Easter

–One of the hopes of every pastor in the weeks following Easter is that those persons in his parish who were baptized and received into the hurch at the Easter Vigil will become active in the life of the parish, participating in the mission and outreach of the faith community.

That doesn’t always happen.

One of the difficulties of the post-Easter season, what we call “mystagogia,” is burn-out. The parish team may have put so much energy into the R.C.I.A. process before Easter that a natural letdown occurs following the celebration of the Easter Vigil. It may be tough to get people back together for sessions during this time. And indeed, “mystagogia” isn’t about more meetings. It’s about going deeper, making new connections.

In the first reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, we see the Church in Jerusalem reaching out. Philip, one of the those helpers to the apostles we heard about in the Acts of the Apostles last weekend, is now “on the road,” spreading the Good News to the city of Samaria. It’s just the beginning of a wider missionary expansion of the Church. We’re told that “there was great joy in that city” when Philip’s work bore fruit with exorcisms and healings. It’s every pastor’s post-Easter dream!

But as a pastor–and as a Catholic communicator–I’m not looking for reports from parishioners or listeners about great missionary journeys or dramatic miracles! I’m just happy to hear that members of my parish join in some of our social action programs, become readers or greeters, and are fully integrated into parish life!

I also delight in the great stories of faith our producers discover, as Judy Zarick does in the two episodes we feature this issue: Catholics who took their “Easter faith” into discipleship and evangelization. Our guests on “Exploring Our Faith” with John Feister may move you to do the same!

At the least, look around your parish this coming weekend. If you have new members, go out of your way to encourage them to discipleship. If you’re new yourself, ask how you can become involved! It will bring “great joy” to your pastor, to be sure!