“Some of you have drifted away from the Church and have been waiting for a good time to return. I pray that you will consider this the time to join us on our faith journey toward Heaven. The sacred teachings of the Church offer guidance, direction and meaning in a world where so many cannot find their way. Our faith points us to Jesus, who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
Some of you have made a choice to stop coming to Church because you have been hurt by the actions of someone in the Church or because of a difficulty with a Church teaching. From my first day as archbishop of Boston and perhaps for the rest of my days, I will always be asking the forgiveness of all those who have been hurt by the actions, or inaction, of people and leaders in the Church. Please do not let those experiences and memories separate you from the love of Christ and of our Catholic family and prevent you from receiving the grace of the sacraments.
. . . A reporter [once] asked me what I would say to Catholics who do not attend Mass because they disagree with, or have questions about, Church teaching. I answered that our teaching does not change because people disagree with it; our faith comes from Christ’s own teaching in the Scriptures and through the teaching authority of the Church throughout the ages. We recognize, however, that many struggle to reconcile Church teaching with social norms in American society today; to them, we say that we want to engage in a meaningful conversation with you. We want you to know that you are part of our family. We want to assure you that God loves you and waits for you at Sunday Mass. The best place to begin a conversation is by gathering with the family of believers in the worshiping community. To those who consider themselves unwelcome at Mass because of some irregularity or moral struggle, please know that you are always loved by God and the Catholic community desires your presence with us. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. An inability to fulfill all aspects of Christian worship or to receive Communion should not keep you from Mass. In fact, the habit of being faithful to the Sunday obligation can provide the actual grace, if you cooperate with it, to give you the strength to overcome current obstacles and find paths of reconciliation. We stand ready to help you.”
— Excerpt from Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s Pastoral Letter “Jesus’ Eager Desire: Our Participation in the Sunday Mass,” November 20, 2011