April 2016

April 2016

Summer can be the slowest time in a parish’ year. Many of the staff are taking deserved vacations, and many of the parishioners are escaping town while they can.

Nevertheless, summer can be a time of special harvest for parishes – a harvest that can produce all year long. Many parishes, for example, do something like Theology on Tap because summer evenings can be a perfect time to invite and engage young adults. There is hardly a more important group for our parishes to relate to: these transitional years, in mobile generations, can make the difference in how young adults identify with the Church. And these gatherings provide an option for parishes to build upon these meetings throughout the year.

Summer can also be a special time to begin building up the RCIA. The Inquiry process of the RCIA does not have to begin in September. It can begin with casual meetings for people to drop in, talk about their lives, and begin discerning where God is leading them. I’ve heard a neat idea recently: parishes developing an inquiry team to work alongside the RCIA team and thereby providing a major boost for parish initiation programs.
And, of course, Vacation Bible School not only allows parishes to engage children but, even more importantly, their families.

Enjoy our issue which continues to explore the Spiritual Works of Mercy, provides information about our new Living the Eucharist Daily Devotionals App, reprints ideas about discipleship from TeamRCIA (thank you Nick Wagner), has some information about Seeking Christ to help expand Inquiry, a short piece on an astronaut who brought the Eucharist into outer space, and another opportunity to share a mercy moment.

Wishing you joy and grace in these warming days, I am,

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP

The Fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy:

To Bear Wrongs Patiently

There is no more spontaneous instinct than to hit back when one is hit. Part of the impulse is protective: maybe if I hit, I can keep from being hurt further. Part of it also is revenge: to do to another exactly the harm that she or he has done to me.
Of course, the “hitting” can happen across a range of behaviors. We have children getting into fist fights, and adolescent girls texting back and forth. We have office workers sabotaging one another to see who might get a better promotion. We have drug dealers willing to kill on purpose and at random. We have nations arming themselves to the point of “mutually assured destruction.”
So it’s a vicious cycle, hitting back, because that only brings another hit. These are cycles in which we get trapped, both personally in our own lives and globally in the military games of chess that world leaders are willing to play. How many households are caught in a rhetoric that brings conversation to a standstill? The same arguments, the same recriminations, the same demeaning statements, the same pouts in a room by oneself? Back and forth the barbs go. Often this leads to a total communication of anger and this, perversely, becomes the basis of a relationship. Didn’t we howl in laughter as Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor hurled insults at each other in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe”? It was their very fighting that held them together and through which they expressed love. Imagine that!

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We’re very excited to announce the release of our first app: the Living the Eucharist Daily Devotionals App! This app will help all Catholics deepen their spiritual growth through daily reflections and lectio divina.
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Webinar Recording
Organizing for Evangelization: A Diocesan Perspective
From April 5th
Presented by Terrie Baldwin, Director of the Diocese of Cleveland Office of Evangelization
Find out what it’s like to move evangelization forward in a group of parishes! Join Terrie Baldwin, director of Evangelization in the Diocese of Cleveland, and find out how a diocese prioritizes, trains, supports, and implements themes of evangelization. This will help us all with the Big Picture of evangelization ministry.
Nine Steps to Discipleship

From TeamRCIA

If, as Pope Francis says, the Church is a field hospital after battle, imagine the multitudes of hurting people he sees as he looks over the world. Imagine he then turns to us-the catechists, the teachers, the pastoral leaders-and says, “Go. Heal the wounds.” What would we do first?

First proclamation – time to use our words

The first thing to do is this: proclaim that Jesus Christ saves us.

Does that make you a little uncomfortable? Catholics aren’t used to speaking that way-walking up to people and asking them if they are saved or if they know Jesus is their savior.
But those are the pope’s exact words: “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you” (“A Big Heart Open to God,” America, September 30, 2013).
Resources for Your Parish
Seeking Christ

SC Inquirer's Booklet Gather new seekers and inquirers for the Catechumenate. Gather them now. Use Seeking Christ as a way to involve and engage people as an extension of your inquiry process.  The Spirit calls people and touches their hearts all year long.  Don’t miss an opportunity to grow the number of Christ’s followers and build up his Church.

Seeking Christ aims to solve the problem parishes face when people inquire about the Catholic Church, but the parish has no way to begin receiving them. It includes eight sessions that can be used in a variety of ways to welcome and engage people who are inquiring about becoming Catholics. The program can easily become part of a parish’s precatechumenal process. 

From Pew Research Center

Fifty years ago this month, Time magazine published one of its most famous and controversial covers. Splashed in bold red print across a black background was a short, simple and yet intensely provocative question: “Is God Dead?”
Without providing a definitive answer, the authors of the piece, dated April 8, 1966, seemed to imply that, in many parts of the world, the idea of an omnipotent creator could be heading for history’s dustbin. Even in the United States – where, the authors acknowledged, faith in God seemed nearly universal – many churches and seminaries were slowly dispensing with the traditional notion of the divine in favor of a God who was more symbolic than real.

From Catholic News Service

On the International Space Station there’s a place, while filled with robotic equipment, where astronauts like to hang out. Called the Cupola, the small module has seven large bay windows that give crew members a panoramic view of Earth.
On his first – and thus far only – mission into space in September 2013, astronaut Mike Hopkins was eager to find the Cupola. What he saw he found amazing.
When you see the Earth from that vantage point and see all the natural beauty that exists, it’s hard not to sit there and realize there has to be a higher power that has made this,” said Hopkins, who is Catholic.

As part of Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy, we would like to share your stories of mercy – both given and received. Share with us your story at the link below, or share them on Facebook or Twitter – make sure to use the hashtag #MercyMoments.

Through sharing our own stories of mercy, we hope to begin a conversation about mercy in our lives and inspire others to show mercy.