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Class asks Catholics to come back to church

Six-week session begins Wednesday night

Over the years, plenty of people have fled the Catholic Church, but now a church in Estacada is urging them to come back.

St. Aloysius Catholic Church is beginning a class at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, entitled 'Catholics Returning Home' that will run for six weeks. The sessions are designed to reach out to non-practicing Catholics who are seeking answers to questions about returning to the church.

'We provide a non-threatening, confidential way for people to air their grievances if they have any, and to update people on issues within the church that have occurred since they went away,' parishioner Steve Schmidt said.

Schmidt speaks from experience on the subject, as he attended a similar class in Lake Oswego after being away from the church for 35 years.

'I left the church in the late '60s when I was 19, and while I was gone for 35 years, a considerable amount of things changed,' he recalls.

After returning and attending the class, Schmidt approached the leadership at St. Aloysius in Estacada about beginning a similar program here, which he did in 2007.

The class has included people from all age groups and all walks of life who all have different reasons for leaving the church.

'I have had people come back anywhere from their mid 20s all the way up to an 87 year old,' Schmidt said, 'and their reasons for leaving the church are usually very personal, but I find that after going to these meetings for a number of years that a lot of it is a lack of understanding or education.'

The class was successful in bringing Schmidt back to the church, and he hopes that in leading the class in Estacada he can do the same for others.

St. Aloysius is located at 297 N.W. Broadway in Estacada.