22/08/2012 11:08 am

Crucifix in the foreground with a conference meeting in the background

In England and Wales it's estimated that at least two-thirds of the baptised Catholic community is non-churchgoing, which equates to approximately four to five million people.

This makes for a significant constituency of people who, in most cases, self-identify as Catholic but never or rarely attend Mass.

The experience of staff at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), of diocesan personnel and of mission partners, is that parishes, and especially members who are parents and grandparents, repeatedly request information about resources and initiatives to help them reach out to this group of people.

The purpose of this ‘Practical Guide’ is to respond to this area of pastoral and evangelistic need. Since May 2010 a national core group, set up by the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has been working to develop a national strategy to ensure:

  • There is a wider appreciation of the urgency to engage in this area of home mission
  • Prayer for this work of evangelisation is encouraged
  • Good practice is identified
  • Resources are made more readily available

To achieve these aims the core group has:

  • From 2011 – 2013 set up one day “Crossing the Threshold” conferences in York, Birmingham, Crawley, Westminster, Cardiff and Liverpool, offering ideas and resources to parishes in each region to facilitate their involvement in this outreach ministry. The tour was attended by around 1300 representatives from dioceses and Catholic organisations.
  • Created this Practical Guide, based on the insights gained from these conferences
  • Written newspaper articles and spoken at events to raise the profile of this essential area of ministry and outreach

‘Crossing the Threshold’ is the title chosen for this initiative. ‘Threshold’ here describes the meeting place, not simply between churchgoing and non-churchgoing Catholics, but also between Gospel and today’s culture.

In the words of Pope Francis:

“Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord seeks all, he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.”




Bishops' Messages


Stories from Returners

Video Testimonies

Forming a Parish Team