All daily masses, parish events and parish office closed until January 24th. There will be no 7AM or 4:30PM Sunday masses.

Catholics Returning Home

“And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’”
~Luke 15:16


New Sessions Begin March, 2020 … Join Us!

Spring 2020 Schedule

Keeping with the informal, friendly and informative sessions “Catholics Returning Home” hopes to provide, the series will begin with an overview, where team members share stories of their journeys and where, if you feel comfortable, can share your story as well. Also covered during the sessions are topics, where you can ask questions and get informative answers from Church members on topics such as the Church today and changes since Vatican II, an explanation of the Mass, the whys of how things are done, and explanations of the Creed and Reconciliation. We hope you will join us for these sessions and we look forward to meeting you. 

Tuesday evenings at 7:30 pm

• March 10 – Church Lobby
Why are we here?

March 17 – Ministry Center
Sharing Stories of Faith

• March 24 – Ministry Center
The Church Today 

• March 31 – Ministry Center
Explanation of the Mass and Holy Week

April 7 – Holy Week – No session

April 14 – Ministry Center
Explanation of the Creed

April 21 – Ministry Center
Explanation of Reconciliation

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  • Are you a Catholic who now feels separated from the Church?
  • Have you felt as if you are not welcome?
  • Would you like to feel at home in the Catholic Church again?
  • Have you left the Catholic Church because of a divorce or remarriage?
  • Were you raised Catholic but do not come or seldom come to Church anymore?
  • Do you only attend on Easter and Christmas and wish to connect more to your faith?

Click Here for Our “Catholics Returning Home” Brochure for Spring 2020 (PDF)


We at “Catholics Returning Home” wish to reach out to those of you who have been non-practicing or inactive Catholics and invite you to return Home to the Catholic Church. If you are a Catholic who has been away from a Church for a while, this invitation is for you!  Our faith community misses you!

No matter how long you have been away or for whatever reason, we invite you to consider renewing your relationship with the Catholic Church. Please join us and other returning Catholics for an informal listening session and update of the Catholic faith.  Sessions are facilitated by parishioners and former non-practicing Catholics and will provide ample opportunity for answering your questions.

For more information about “Catholics Come Home,” please click here or the icon below to be taken to the main website.




“Welcome Home — No guilt, No shame, No judging, just caring and compassionate parishioners who are dedicated to helping me transition back into the fellowship of St. Margaret Mary and the Catholic Church. That’s what I found during my very first session of Catholic Returning Home. In a small group setting, I felt comfortable asking questions and telling my story. “How can we help?” was echoed by all the team and deacons who lead each session. Discussion on what’s new, what’s the same, how’s that different, where do I fit in, the Sacraments, the Creed, the Mass, and the who, what, where of the parish life along with ideas and suggestions that got me to delve more deeply into what being a Catholic means to me. CRH was the best first step to refresh and rejuvenate my Catholic faith. I thank God for bringing to this group and these wonderful people. They have opened my eyes and heart to continue my spiritual journey with love and conviction. Thank you for your loving support and may the grace and peace of the Lord be always with you.”


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In this day and age, there are often people who have been raised as Roman Catholics and through the years have become separated from the Church. Perhaps, there has been someone in your family or even yourself, who was raised Catholic, but no longer actively participates in a Parish



There are many reasons why people become separated from their faith community by birth. For some, it is due to a disagreement or confusion regarding Church regulations, often in the situation of divorce and remarriage. Sometimes separation occurs due to a disagreement with a priest, a religious sister, or another church member. Sometimes people are disenchanted by the apparent lack of faith or hypocrisy of some Church members. For others, a theological or moral disagreement serves as the reason for the distance that has grown between them and the Church. Some are simply shocked and scandalized that some priests and bishops have been abusers of people.

Church is Divine and Human
We understand that though the church is divinely guided, the church is people and we are all sinners.  If we can in some way correct or heal or inform you in your situation, we would be most thankful to God. No one should be unjustly hurt, especially if that hurt comes from very organization that was created to live the life of Jesus. Our parish staff would be available to meet with you and do what we can do to bring about healing.

Sometimes nothing can be done, but listening. Sometimes we can be instruments of healing. Sometimes we can be not only the instruments of healing, but a catalyst to rebuilding a relationship with God, or with the Church. We certainly correct misinformation that may have be given or explain the rational about why the church believes what it believes. We can give you an opportunity to take another look at the Church that was once dear to your heart and can share the Lord’s graces in the sacraments.


“When I think about my experience, the first word that comes to mind is “welcoming.” I was happy to meet people with such an interest in my experiences and an eagerness to offer the help I was looking for. It was an opportunity to learn more about my faith from Deacons and others, and to feel like a welcome part of the Church again.“


Hurt & Misunderstanding
We, at Saint Margaret Mary Church, are concerned with the hurt and misunderstanding that accompanies this separation.  We would like to listen to your experience and clarify any misunderstanding.  We believe that healing only occurs when you are able to talk about the hurt, and move beyond the hurt to a place of peace. That is why we encourage anyone who has been hurt by individuals of the church or representatives of the church to come to talk it out. This hurt weighs down the person and often drains them of life energy and prevents them from moving beyond that hurt.

Divorce & Annulments
After a Catholic goes through a divorce, they often find themselves in the middle of a world swimming with information leading to confusion about practicing the faith. The truth is that your Catholic faith is the very key to your healing after a divorce and is vital to living a life filled with promise, peace, and joy.

Click here for a PDF providing understanding and more resources.


“If you’re feeling hesitant to return to the church; perhaps you’ve been gone for a long time, forgotten some of the customs or you just have felt lost and are thinking about returning to your faith, I certainly felt a void.  I highly encourage you to participate in the Catholics Returning Home sessions.  I know I had not felt “home” since I had left 25 years earlier.  A lot has changed and for the better!  These sessions felt like a warm, arms open wide welcome home without judging, just accepting.  I felt free to ask any question and the facilitators were so comforting and warm.  Don’t miss an opportunity to feel like you’re a part of the Catholic family because you are and we’ve missed you.”


Have you have been a victim of any sexual abuse from a church member?

It is most important that you report that abuse.  You may download a document from the Diocese of Rockford web site indicating the steps you should take to deal with this. Abuse is both sinful and illegal and needs to be reported to the both police and the Diocese.

To report an instance of sexual abuse by clergy, religious or laity affiliated with the Diocese of Rockford, contact local police authorities and call the Victims Abuse Line: 815-962-9347 .

If the abuse involves a minor, also contact the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services at 1-800-25-ABUSE.

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“I truly believe the Holy Spirit guided me to CRH when I was ready to come back to the Church after a 40 year absence.

The ministry gently taught me the sacraments and catechism that I had long forgotten.

The part I love the most in coming back is adoring at Eucharistic Adoration- I had never known that it existed.”


Apology for any Harm
We would like apologize to you for any hurt that has come from the Church or her leadership.  We take this opportunity to ask forgiveness for this hurt knowing that the Church is not the Kingdom of God, but a means to the Kingdom and is made up of people who are sinners looking for redemption in the saving grace of Christ Jesus. Ideally the Church should be this perfect model of living the way of Christ, but she too, like all of us, needs to be redeemed by Christ Jesus.  

Reverend Peter Sarnicki

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Becoming Active Again
Healing the hurts and answering the questions that have caused people to become inactive Catholics is not a instantaneous process.  It first means dealing with the cause, then it is a process of rebuilding the foundations of the faith.  We believe that Jesus is the Son of God and came to show us the way to live for all eternity.  He gathered and taught his apostles during his three years of public ministry.  He taught by what he did and what he said.  We have the record of the teaching of  Jesus in the church by both the scriptures and the doctrines of the church.  We are an Apostolic Church—meaning that our understanding of what Jesus taught comes from the apostles since none of us were there.

To build the process of coming to faith again, we need to start with reflection on the teaching of Jesus. When a person comes to the faith for the first time, we walk with them and they walk with us for most of a year or more to slowly put together the pillars of faith. They ask questions and debate issues and learn what the church teaches.  The process is called the, “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.”

This could also be a good process for returning Catholics who have not had much of a understanding and basis of their faith.

For others, who have had a strong education in their faith, it might mean just spending a few sessions asking questions and an putting things together.

The Parish Pastoral Staff can help you choose a way that best fits your needs. The person you talked with initially can be most helpful to you and direct you in a way that fits.

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Where to go from here?
If you would like to talk with someone about the church, questions about what the church teaches and why, if you want to talk about a hurt from the church or some church representative, we would encourage you to contact a parish staff member.

If you wish to contact us you may do so in any number of ways.

1. You may send an e-mail to any of the staff and correspond through e-mails (addresses are listed below).
2. You can send an e-mail to set up an appointment with the staff member and you can be assured that they will listen.
3. You can call the Parish Office and make an appointment. (Parish Office Phone 847-658-7625)


“I was away from the Church for 15 years and I decided to attend Catholics Returning Home.  It was nerve-wracking at first, but felt instantly at ease the moment I walked in.  I was greeted with open arms by a group of welcoming, non-judgmental folks!  They helped me get re-acquainted with Catholicism and answered the questions I had.  If you’re thinking of attending CRH, please give it a try.   You won’t feel alone; rather you will find other people just like yourself.”


You may pick any of the staff members with which you wish to meet. You may call them for an appointment or e-mail them.  If you wish, you may just give your first name in order to remain anonymous.

The Parish Pastoral Staff willing to meet with you about this matter. You may email the staff member of your choosing using the following addresses or call 847-658-7625.

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Staff Member Email Address

Father Peter Sarnicki,
Email Click Here


Co-Facilitators Email Address

Deacon Michael Leroy,
Email Click Here
Mr. David Philipps,
Email Click Here
Mr. Chris Nocchi,
Email Click Here


  • Top Ten Reasons people come back to the Catholic Church… 
Number 10 
Because they want meaning in life.
Number 9 
Because childhood memories surface.
Number 8 
Because they made mistakes.
Number 7 
Because they need to forgive others.
Number 6
Because they want to be healed.
Number 5 
Because the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth and grace.
Number 4 
Because they want their children to have a faith foundation.
Number 3 
Because they want to be part of a faith community.
Number 2
Because they want to help other people.

And the Number 1 reason people return to the Church is:
Because they hunger for the Eucharist.