A few years ago, a friend who had recently gone through our parish RCIA program excitedly approached the then-program director about wanting to bring aboard as many people as he could find. “Methodists, Episcopalians — maybe even some of those folks at Crossroads.” It came as a great disappointment when the director discouraged him from evangelizing anyone but non-Christians. That’s been a common sentiment among the catechetical class in recent decades. Sentiments can change, however. I noticed a promising announcement in the bulletin for Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel — more or less the parish for Cincinnati’s catechetical class — about inviting others to the Catholic faith. They are wise to suggest it. Surveys of new converts consistently reveal three critical factors to their decision: (1) the Real Presence and the Eucharist, (2) Papal and Magisterial authority, and (3) the importance of a personal invitation. To a man, they say at a point in their discernment someone invited them to become Catholic and it had a powerful impact on them. When you’re making your New Year’s resolutions this week, resolve to invite someone to consider becoming Catholic in 2012.

This advent season, we have welcomed two Bellarmine spouses on the journey toward initiation as Catholics. Already baptized in the Methodist and Baptist Churches, they have attended Mass here for many years and have decided it is time for them to become members in full Communion with our Catholic body.

This also happens by invitation and encouragement from among our own congregation. If you have a spouse, family member or co-worker who is drawn to the Catholic faith, please extend a personal invitation to them on behalf of our community. Invite them to come forward so that we can support and include them if they would like to explore a path toward initiation and sacraments.