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‘Next Step’ event April 8 will help Catholics stuck in a rut

St. Joseph Parish in Manchester will offer Stephen ministers, specific ministries

Catholics who have fallen away from the faith and want to return to the Church or are stuck in a spiritual rut often don’t know how to take the next step.

St. Joseph Parish in Manchester is hosting “Next Step,” a special event April 8 to help people discover how to progress in their faith journey.

“I know there are many good people out there who desire to have a relationship with God, but because of the false news, poor interactions with people in the past or a general confusion about what the Church teaches, they need a place to come and figure out what the next step in their faith life is,” said Father Tom Pastorius, pastor of St. Joseph.

Welcome ministers will greet participants at the parish center. Snacks and free child care will be provided. Then, each person will meet individually with a trained Stephen minister, who will listen to their faith stories. Each minister will then recommend a spiritual expert to provide further help, if needed. The Stephen Ministry provides spiritual care to members of a congregation and community, with a special charism of helping people dealing with difficult life situations.

Spiritual experts on hand that day will include priests, spiritual directors and healing prayer ministers. Representatives from specific ministries will available, including Project Rachel and Project Joseph, the Church’s outreach to women and men who have experienced abortion; Courage and Encourage, for people with same-sex attraction and their families; divorced and separated ministry; social justice and others.

Father Pastorius noted that Stephen ministers will provide a confidential, non-judgmental and caring environment for people to talk about their faith journeys. Participants will be assisted on a first-come, first-served basis. The average time a person will need will vary, but Father Pastorius said to plan on spending at least an hour with a minister.

Father Pastorius said the special event is a direct answer to Pope Francis’ call to reach out to the lost sheep. Those who say they have someone close to them who has fallen away from the Church are sometimes met with an offer of prayers.

While prayer is important, “I wanted to give them something concrete they can do,” Father Pastorius said. “And this special event does that.”

>> Next Step

WHEN: Sunday, April 8, 1-3 p.m.

WHERE: St. Joseph Church, 567 St. Joseph Lane in Manchester (in the parish center)

MORE INFO: Call (636) 227-5247 or email [email protected].

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