St. Hubert inviting lapsed Catholics back into fold

Ann Gallas has her spiritual roots implanted in Catholicism but wandered in and out of the Church so many times she seeks a refresher course.

A Hoffman Estates resident, Gallas received her childhood sacraments at St. Hubert, had her marriage witnessed there and had her two sons, Andrew and Michael, educated in the faith at that church.

After the death of her youngest son, Michael, four years ago, Gallas was inconsolable. She admits she has been "in and out" of the church for a long time.

"After losing Michael, I went back to church," Gallas said, "but at the anniversary of his death I seemed caught up in waves of grief so I withdrew again."

Last year she attended the Catholics Returning Home program authored by Sally Mews. Gallas says she went back to Mass because the Scriptures, homily and Eucharist "made everything come together" and "I could get through the week."

Then the calendar stopped at her son's anniversary once again and she disconnected yet another time.

"I need a refresher course so I will attend all the sessions of the next Catholics Returning Home series," Gallas said.

The sessions begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8 in St. Hubert Ministry Center, 729 Grand Canyon St, Hoffman Estates, and will continue on Jan. 15 and 29 and Feb. 5, 12 and 19.

The Rev. Robert Rizzo, St. Hubert pastor, urges lapsed Catholics to return home.

It saddens him when Catholics leave whatever the reason.

"Most folks tell me they don't make a conscious decision to leave but drift away because they are too busy and their lives are complicated," Rizzo said. "All of us need to slow down and be aware of God's presence. I want to talk with people and help them add quality to their lives. All are welcome."

The pastor said he wants people to realize discipleship has a price.

"God calls us to conversion but it is not enough just to come back," he said. "We must be willing to have an open heart and allow God to penetrate us with His Word and presence."

Series co-chairmen Gene and Eileen Farrell continue their enthusiasm about the mission to invite inactive Catholics to return home.

"No matter how long or whatever the reason you stayed away, we invite you to renew your relationship with the Catholic Church," Gene Farrell said. "We will provide listening sessions and offer updates about the Catholic faith."

The series will address issues of divorce, remarriage, abortion, birth control and gay orientation.

Rizzo, who considers St. Hubert a welcoming entity, offers his personal assistance.

"I am most happy to assist anyone who wishes to talk with me," Rizzo said.

For further information, call the Farrells, (847) 843-1975.

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