For over 2,000 years, the Catholic faith has been handed down from one generation to next, starting with Jesus Christ passing the faith to the Twelve Apostles.

As Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope governs the Catholic Church as its supreme head. The Pope, as Bishop of Rome, is the chief pastor and shepherd of the whole Church. The Pope is the successor of Peter, and his bishops are successors of the Twelve Apostles.

Pope Francis spoke on the importance of building a relationship with Christ within the Catholic Church:

We are not isolated and we are not Christians on an individual basis, each one on his or her own, no, our Christian identity is to belong! We are Christians because we belong to the Church. It is like a last name: if the first name is “I am Christian”, the last name is “I belong to the Church”.

No one becomes Christian on his or her own! Is that clear? No one becomes Christian by him- or herself. A Christian is part of a people who comes from afar. The Christian belongs to a people called the Church and this Church is what makes him or her Christian, on the day of Baptism, and then in the course of catechesis, and so on. But no one, no one becomes Christian on his or her own. If we believe, if we know how to pray, if we acknowledge the Lord and can listen to his Word, if we feel him close to us and recognize him in our brothers and sisters, it is because others, before us, lived the faith and then transmitted it to us.

The Church is one great family, where we are welcomed and learn to live as believers and disciples of the Lord Jesus. There are those who believe they can maintain a personal, direct and immediate relationship with Jesus Christ outside the communion and the mediation of the Church. These are dangerous and harmful temptations.

Dear friends, let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, for the grace never to fall into the temptation of thinking we can make it without the others.
— Papal General Audience: Belonging To The Church

In addition to being an active participant within your Church and parish, you can deepen your relationship with Christ through the gift of Confession. There are numerous stories in the Gospel which highlight the tender loving forgiveness shown by Jesus. Christ empowered his apostles to forgive sins. Learn more about the Healing Power of Confession.

The Church is a family, we miss those Catholics who may have left the Church or who have stopped participating in its vibrant liturgy and sacramental life. If you or someone you know are in this situation you need to know that you are always welcome back.