Thursday, May 27, 2010

When They Come Home

Melanie Rigney's own return to faith after decades inspired her memoir, which, she says, "will likely never be published." (see Christian Writers Page for an interview with her). So she went on to help others who were finding their way back to God by getting involved in her church and by coauthoring When They Come Home: Ways to welcome returning Catholics.

Catholic or Protestant, we all could use the words of wisdom in this book as we, too, reach out to those who are finding their way back home.

AN INTERVIEW WITH FEATURED AUTHOR MELANIE RIGNEY ABOUT HER BOOK, When They Come Home: Ways to Welcome Returning Catholics, coauthored with Anna LaNave

What is it about? It’s a book for Catholic parishes about how to help those who have been away from the Church but are making their first stumbling steps back.

What inspired it? I’m a cradle Catholic who was away from faith for a very long time. I went through a program for those exploring a return to the Church, and my dear friend and coauthor, Anna LaNave, was the facilitator. We were asked to do a proposal for this book by the publisher, Twenty-Third Publications, which also owns Catholic Digest magazine and the devotional for which I write.

What is its purpose? To help parish leaders model the Good Shepherd and prodigal son’s father.

Why did you write it? Because I was asked. I said no, feeling a bit underqualified to tell parish leaders what to do, and suggested the publisher contact Anna. Anna said she’d only write it if we did it together.

What do you hope readers will get out of it? I pray they will be kind and nonjudgmental to folks who are in the position I was… who want to be Catholic, but don’t know how and don’t know that being with God is the easiest thing in the world. You just have to believe He loves you. Some folks in my Church think there’s more to it than that.

Any special, memorable stories associated with it? Lots of stories about my own return, but they’re not in the book. I think for me, the most special thing was the way in which God blessed this coauthorship. Anna’d be the first to tell you writing isn’t her gift; one-on-one ministry is, and she’s also very knowledgeable about Church doctrine. She has a master’s in pastoral studies. While writing is my gift, I know about 1 percent of what Anna knows about the Church. I was briefly concerned that coauthoring could damage our friendship! But it was beautiful. We each honored the other’s expertise.

(To order When They Come Home, click on the book cover above or click here.)

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