And people are noticing (from the Baltimore Sun):
A police officer assigned to watch over a church nursery during Mass overhears the homily and becomes intrigued. A retail manager struggling with the loss of hours at work is inspired by the faith of his fiancee. A married mother of two looks for answers after two siblings are stricken with cancer.
All have found their way to the Roman Catholic Church as members of the largest class of converts the Archdiocese of Baltimore has seen this decade. Nine hundred and eighty-four local adults are preparing to become Catholics during Holy Week this year, a third more than joined the church locally in 2008.
The surge has caught archdiocesan officials by surprise - and left them at something of a loss for explanations.
"It's really hard to say," Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien said, before suggesting a variety of possible factors: uncertain economic times, the Washington visit last year of Pope Benedict XVI, the vibrancy of individual parishes."We've talked about evangelization an awful lot the last couple of years," O'Brien said. "How are we presenting our parish to our neighbors? Are we friendly? Is there an outreach? Are we sensitive to their questions and to their needs?
"And I think the more active that parish is, the more people are going to want to look inside the door and say, 'What are they offering here that gives so much life and energy?'"
I am always moved by my encounters with individuals who find in the Church a new home and a place where they feel God's love. Working with RCIA groups, one cannot help but marvel at the richness of our faith, the power of God's grace, and 9to be honest) how often we take all that for granted. Hopefully, your parish is welcoming some of these newest members into the Church; and, hopefully, you can be there to see it - and to be moved too.