October 2013

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October 2013
Dear Friend,

By now the busy season of our different ministries are underway-children are enrolled in religious education, the RCIA group has taken on a definite shape, adult faith formation series are underway, some parishes are out visiting neighbors before the cold sets in, staffs are already talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I continue to be surprised at how few parishes have Evangelization Teams. I know the downside of Evangelization Teams-how quickly they can burn out because they get enthusiastically into something and, either from overwork or from unrealistic expectations, they become disappointed. But I also know the upside of Evangelization Teams, how, with solid perspective and patience, they help a parish do more than welcome-they help a parish to BECOME AN INVITING PARISH.

This would be a wonderful ideal for as many parish staffs as possible to adapt-to think about its programming and how parish events can be transformed into opportunities for invitation.

Here at Paulist Evangelization Ministries we are just about finished putting touches on a new and exciting resource for parishes, Neighbors Reaching Neighbors. It will put some flesh onto the often ephemeral desires we have to “reach out.” This program will have many tools for parishes to use uniquely and creatively. I hope you’ll get as excited about it as we are.

Blessings always,

Fr. Frank DeSiano

John and Teri Gay, Corpus Christi Parish, Round Lake, NY

We had been regular Sunday Mass attendees – but admittedly “flying under the radar” – for seven years when our pastor, Fr. James E. Clark, at Corpus Christi in Round Lake, New York asked us to step forward and lead a new program called Living the Eucharist (LTE).

That was one year ago.

Whatever trepidation we might have felt at leading our parish in the daunting goal of growing closer to God through an improved understanding of the Eucharist quickly melted away when we launched into our duties. We (John – an engineering firm president, and Teri – an author and historian) were determined not to let any nervousness we might have initially had stand in the way of doing our very best to deliver this exciting faith-sharing experience to our beloved parish.

We quickly learned that among the many keys to our success in creating a meaningful LTE program at Corpus Christi for the first of what would be a three-year annual Lenten experience was a dedicated and dynamic team. Fortunately for us, the fabulous people who formed our Parish Leadership Team were enthusiastic and talented – managing the Adult Small Group, Teen, and Family components, carrying out communications, liturgical coordination, and administrative tasks with skill and brilliance.

Rev. Frank DeSiano, CSP

In the past twenty-five years or so, the Church has been through its own form of culture wars. Somewhere in the 80s, questions about the Second Vatican Council, and its implementation, became standard. In this period, Catholics began to think of themselves more explicitly as “conservatives” or as “liberals.” Pope Benedict, whether intentionally or not, stoked the flames behind these culture wars with his questions about the Second Vatican Council: was it a Council of discontinuity-dismissing the past traditions of the Church; or was it a Council of continuity, upholding those past traditions, even with its new emphases.

There are certain landmarks for these culture wars: liturgy and the sexual teaching of the Church have come prominently into play. Some people wanted to emphasize older forms of vestments-those famous “fiddle back” chasubles-and how many candles were on the altar. Not only was the new form of the Mass allowed in Latin, but Pope Benedict urged even the old form, the Tridentine Mass, to be celebrated in certain places in dioceses. All of this came to its climax for the English-speaking world with the translation of the Roman Missal, third edition, and a return to a form of speaking that closely mimicked the Latin wording. Relevance to current cultural expressions, then, was not a primary consideration. Faithfulness to the Latin text mattered most.

The Changing Religious Profile of Hispanics

In a recent survey by Public Religion Research Institute, there is notable changes that should alarm Catholic leaders.

The report notes: “When comparing today’s Hispanic adults to their childhood religious affiliations, Catholic affiliation drops by 16 percentage points (from 69% to 53%).”

What are we doing to invite Hispanics into our communities? We can’t assume that because they were raised Catholic they will remain.

Featured Resource
Faith Outreach Brochures 

Reach out in new ways – through mail, though parishioners, through door-to-door visiting, through community events – to let people know they are invited to the Catholic experience of faith.  Or reach your religious education parents and young adults with the simple brochures to raise the question: what are they missing by not coming to church?

 

Compliments of:
Paulist Evangelization Ministries
3031 4th St, NE, Washington, DC | 800.237.5515

 

 

 

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PAULIST EVANGELIZATION MINISTRIES | 3031 Fourth Street, NE | Washington | DC | 20017