Landings – Welcoming Returning Catholics Home

Landings – Welcoming Returning Catholics Home

Landings, a Paulist ministry of reconciliation, is program designed to welcome inactive Catholics who want to explore the road leading them back home. Home to an active parish life. Developed by the late Paulist Father Jac Campbell in 1989 in a Seattle church basement, Landings has spread throughout this country as well as internationally.

As Father Jac put it, Landings, "… is really a program that empowers lay Catholics to evangelize." A group of lay volunteers lead the eight to ten week sessions. Landings gives the inactive Catholic an opportunity to make a successful return to the Church through a process of sharing faith, reflecting on our Creed and listening to one another’s faith journeys. Typically a Landings group is made up of six to eight active Catholics and two or three returning Catholics.

It is a very structured program, yet a gentle and soft spot for someone returning to the faith to land. Each session of Landings is designed to last about two hours. An emphasis is placed on starting and ending on time. Confidentially is essential. What is shared in the Landings group stays within group.

Landings is about compassionate listening. Landing is non-judgmental. It’s not about right and wrong. It’s not about learning the faith or counseling. It’s about listening, sharing and loving. Listening to others and sharing your own faith story. It’s about providing a much needed ministry geared toward welcoming returning Catholics back home in a gentle and loving atmosphere. It’s a program that offers so much, for both those returning and those welcoming.

Landings is a program near and dear to my heart. Not only did I have the wonderful opportunity to help bring this program to my area, but Father Jac Campbell was a dear friend of mine. I met him when I was in college (before the days of Landings) at an Encounter with Christ retreat weekend. He was the campus minister at another university. It was a time when I was questioning my faith and experiencing the loss of my paternal grandmother, as well as other life issues. He helped me immensely and that Saturday night we stayed up talking in front of a fireplace atop a foggy mountain until 4 AM. God put Father Jac in my life at just the right moment. Just when he knew I needed him.

If you are exploring the possibility of returning to the Church, please inquire about Landings at your local parish. If your parish doesn’t yet offer Landings, please visit the Landings-International website to find out more about how to bring Landings to your Church or Diocese. I don’t think you will find a better program for welcoming returning Catholics home! You see, the man behind this program was one of God’s extraordinary gifts. Thus, Landings is extraordinary; and you can be sure it was founded with love.

Peace in Christ,
Melissa Knoblett-Aman

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