We have all heard the statistics. The Catholic Church in the United States, as well as in some other parts of the world, is hemorrhaging members. Upwards of 10% of Americans are now said to have left the Church.
The overall number of Catholics in the United States has remained stable mostly due to immigration, but even that is likely to change. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that nearly 1 in 4 Hispanics now identifies him or herself as a “former Catholic.”
As many of you know, I used to be a “former Catholic.” I rejected the faith of my childhood when I was fourteen years old, and for the next ten years or so I was an atheist. After coming back to the Church in my late twenties, and eventually joining religious life, I felt a great desire to reach out to fallen-away Catholics.
In my first few years in the convent, I started to feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit to reach out to Catholics who are concerned about loved ones who have left the faith. Person after person would ask me to pray for their fallen-away loved ones and would share their difficulties in relating to their friends and family who had left the Church. I began to realize that God was calling me to write a book on the subject.
The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church is a response to the ache and concern many people feel when they think of their loved ones who have abandoned the faith. This book is not an instruction manual, a sociological study, or a scholarly tome.
Instead, I hope that this book, while a practical and straightforward guide, will also be a spiritual resource and a source for transformation. I draw from Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, the Saints, and Church documents as well as from my own experience and the testimonies of several other fallen-away Catholics, some who have returned to the Church, some who have joined other Christian faiths, and others who are still searching.
The Prodigal You Love challenges readers to change their own lives in order to change other peoples’ lives through an active and fervent relationship with God. Each chapter guides readers through the key components in the evangelization of loved ones and provides spiritual guidance and ideas to consider in prayer.
Evangelizing friends and family is the most difficult kind of evangelization, but if each of us, with love and truth, reaches out on a grassroots level it will surely change lives and the Church. I invite you to plunge headfirst into the challenge involved in inviting our loved ones closer to Christ and to his Church.
The Prodigal You Love has been endorsed by Jennifer Fulwiler, author of Something Other Than God, with these words: “Sr. Theresa Noble really understands what works—and what doesn’t—when it comes to reaching out to fallen-away loved ones. This book should be required reading for any modern Catholic.” The book has also received endorsements from Tom Peterson, founder of Catholics Come Home, and Father Michael White and Tom Corcoran, authors of Rebuilt.
Look for The Prodigal You Love in October when it is released!
If you would like to download a sample chapter of the book and the forword by Father Dave Dwyer, CSP of Busted Halo, please visit this link.
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Whether you buy The Prodigal You Love or not, please join me in keeping this project in your prayers. Pray that those who read the book will be inspired and better equipped to invite their loved ones home to the Church. And please pray for all fallen-away Catholics, that they will consider returning to the flawed but beautiful community of the universal Church and the unparalleled power in the grace of the sacraments.