The work we do as initiation ministers is important, but do you ever wonder if you are making a difference? If you stopped showing up, would anyone notice? None of us are doing this ministry for fame or money. We just want to make a difference.
Making a difference, however, doesn’t have to mean changing the entire Roman Catholic Church. Or even changing my parish. We want to make a difference in the lives of the catechumens and the candidates. I think we all feel that way.
Now is the time to act
If you fee that way, I want to urge you to be more proactive about getting out there and doing what you do. This year, right now, is a year unlike any since we have been doing this ministry. And that is because of Pope Francis.
Pope Francis is very smart. We expect popes to be smart, but this pope is smart about changing people’s image of the church. He has created what some people are calling the “Francis Effect.” News outlets are reporting that former Catholics and non-Catholics are checking out Catholic parishes and some are joining because of everything they see and like about Pope Francis.
I don’t really see this happening yet. I think there is huge interest in Pope Francis. But I don’t yet see that translating into an increase in inquirers.
The pope’s plan
That’s were you and I come in. I’m not sure the pope realized how successful he’d be, but I do believe this was his plan from day one. His plan is to stir the pot. His plan is for the press to write about him and photograph him—everyday if possible—doing remarkable things that move the hearts of people who need hope. His plan is to change the world by loving people the way Jesus loved people.
But Pope Francis will be the first to tell you that he can’t change the world by himself. He needs back up. He needs us to be out in our neighborhoods and work places taking advantage of the “Francis Effect.” And we have to do it right now. The kind of daily spotlight Pope Francis has today can’t last. Soon enough, the press will get bored and move on to some other person to put on their magazine covers and video clips.
If you ever wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, right now is the best opportunity we are ever going to have. Pope Francis is leading the way. Let’s back him up.