Norma Montenegro Flynn
June 5, 2019
Landings International, a Paulist reconciliation ministry, celebrates 40 years of welcoming people back to the Catholic faith
WASHINGTON—Landings International, a ministry of the Paulist Fathers, celebrates its 40th anniversary helping parishes to accompany Catholics who have been away from their faith back into active participation. The ministry has engaged more than a million Catholics in the United States, Canada, Europe and Southeast Asia.
The Landings program was created to provide those who desire to return to the table of the Lord a “safe place to land” in a supportive setting. “And the mission is still a critical one,” said Father Thomas A. Kane, C.S.P., executive director of Landings International.
“Landings is the only parish-based program that focuses solely on the returnee. The need in the U.S. is very great,” Father Kane added. “There are many millennials who have drifted away from the Church and are looking for a way home. Landings invites them in with open arms and provides a judgment-free atmosphere to tell their faith journey and discern a pathway to Jesus.”
Landings is a lay-led reconciliation process that trains parish leaders to welcome and guide people returning to the Catholic faith by encouraging dialogue, reflection and storytelling in a compassionate environment. During eight sessions, participants share their journeys and advance their knowledge of the Catholic Church while deepening their faith.
The ministry is available at about 100 parishes in nearly 30 states in the U.S. and has grown rapidly at dozens of parishes in Canada, England, Scotland, Singapore and Malaysia. The program is also available in Spanish.
“In this over-informed age, people these days need real, tangible experiences of God. We find God when He speaks to us in the unique language of the events in our personal life,” said Toni See, who oversees the ministry in Southeast Asia. “Landings is this new evangelization. Through sharing our faith journey, we find this pathway back to God.”
Responding to the needs of participants, Landings International recently launched Landings2, a six-session program that follows up on the progress of Landings and focuses on helping returning Catholics transition from initiation to mature discipleship, by developing skills to serve actively as leaders in their parishes, centers, or college campus communities.
Landings was founded in 1979 by a visionary priest, Paulist Father Jac Campbell, to help fill the gap of isolation and lack of information often experienced by those considering a return to Catholicism, by creating communities that are ready to welcome them and help them transition into parish life. Paulist Father Jim Moran followed as Landings’ director from 2004 to 2010, and since then Father Kane now oversees the international ministry, which is expanding its pastoral reach abroad to Europe and Southeast Asia.