Welcome to our Evangelization blog! Think of this as our online meeting space, where we can continue the conversation about making disciples at Mary, Queen of Peace. It can also be a handy tool for those who might miss a session, as well as a place to record our thoughts, musings, insights, hopes and questions.
Where to start? First, some favorite quotes from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, the Joy of the Gospel:
“An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm, that ‘delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing’ …” (10)
“The Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy…” (24)
“The parish is the centre of constant missionary outreach.” Parishes are to be “completely mission-oriented.” (28)
And now, a little overview of Session 1 of the Paulist Comprehensive Evangelization Training. We watched Fr. Frank DeSiano’s overview of the word “Evangelization” and its implications, such as:
The horizon is broad! Evangelization calls us to transform the world through the power of the Gospel, mainly by making disciples who go and do the same. What does this mean to us on the parish level? As Fr. Frank said:
“Parishes do not have the primary task of serving the needs of their members. Rather parishes have the primary task of serving their members so that these members can reach out and serve the world.”
Some challenges of evangelization: How do we come to understand ourselves as personally converted? How do parishes become the missionary communities they are called to be?
Some strategies: Strategies must fit our particular situation, but should include: opportunities for inviting and welcoming; opportunities for mailing and home visits; opportunities for neighborhood witness; opportunities to build upon what the parish is already doing; opportunities to expand upon what we are already doing.
Parishes, Fr. Frank says, should be “missionary powerhouses.”
- What would you identify as the greatest evangelization needs in your parish?
- What kind of evangelization is most effective in your parish at this time?
- What do you think are some of the first steps that need to be addressed in your parish to sharpen the focus on evangelization?
Some ideas that were shared after watching the video included: Many people are touched by the Bible Timeline experience, but how does that leave the building? How does it help transform our culture? Maybe we need more adult education and formation? Our Haiti partnership is a wonderful example of parish working as a “missionary powerhouse.”
Here are my random thoughts:
1. I see the hunger people have for something – mainly those who do come to mass but aren’t quite connected. They are waiting for the power of the Gospel to transform their lives.
2. Our mentoring/welcoming ministry is a great tool for evangelization. It is still new, but I think it holds great promise. (Pope Francis also mentions patience in the Joy of the Gospel. That’s a good reminder.)
3. As far as first steps, before adding anything, I believe we should work to ensure that ministries are working through the lens of evangelization.
Please share your thoughts, ideas, impressions!
Next session: Thursday, Jan. 16, 7:15 a.m.: The Reason for the Mission