August 2015

August 2015
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
Dear Friend,
It seems like summer came and went, given all the back-to-school sales and even early openings of school in August.
I am happy to send you this edition of Evangelization Exchange to round off our summer offerings. You will find further ideas for youth ministry by Michael Bayer, an enormously successful youth – and now campus – minister. In our next newsletter, we w ill offer some more ideas from Mike – all part of our Becoming an Inviting Church series.
Speaking of this, September will be a very special month for us Catholics in the U.S. When Pope Francis comes to Washington, New York and Philly – right after visiting Cuba – he will generate a lot of press, attention, and curiosity about the Catholic faith. This can be an excellent opportunity for us to think about ways to use that curiosity to help seekers and inquirers find out about us Catholics. Perhaps during these weeks we can offer a simple session on Pope Francis, what a pope does, and what the Pope has been saying during this time. People might find this very enticing. Opportunities like this do not come all that often.
Be sure to note the “Walk with Francis” section of this newsletter which we are relaying from the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, and the other pieces about reaching out.
I pray that this time may bring for us a rich harvest of people who would like to experience Jesus Christ in the joy of our Catholic tradition.
Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP
Becoming an Inviting Church

This series presents directions to stimulate the thinking of pastoral leaders, helping them focus on the important ministry of inviting. Parishes may, to a greater or lesser extent, greet and welcome. But few parishes consciously invite-and this at a time when participation in church is falling across all the religious spectrum.

Inviting Youth – Part 2

Michael Bayer has long been involved in youth ministry and campus ministry. Presently he directs the campus ministry at the University of Iowa at Iowa City.

Click Here to Read Part One

Some tips for parish-based youth ministry:

  1. Be practical. That is, try to relate everything you do to the real, lived experiences of their week. If you’re going to watch a film about the passion and death of Jesus, make the link with suffering and death as they have experienced it. Have they lost a loved one to illness? Has there been a natural disaster or recent event in the news that caused them to question how a loving God could allow such evil? The liturgical year provides us with a rich treasure of topics that pertain to the lives of every developmental demographic. Teens, in particular, are just becoming aware of injustice. Seasons like Advent and Lent provide an excellent opportunity to discuss materialism, consumerism, and what we, as Christians, owe to those who have less than us.
  2. Invest heavily in your middle school students…and keep them mostly separate from your high-schoolers. Many middle school students are still participating in parish-based religious education or sacramental preparation; capitalize on this time to the best of your ability. But it’s important not to combine middle and high school youth offerings, except on a once-in-a-while basis. Seventh-grade students and high school seniors are at such dramatically different places in their lives that it not only does a disservice to group them together, but it makes it nearly impossible to get buy-in from older teens. And if you’re going to be discussing topics like relationships, drug use, eating disorders, and mental health – to name just a few – you’ll find that 12 year-olds and 18 year-olds are worlds apart. 
Goal of rosary rallies to ‘bring souls closer to Christ’
From the Catholic Review

CINCINNATI (CNS) – Together, 350-plus boys clad in different-colored football jerseys resembled a mosaic as they sat or knelt on the grass at Cincinnati’s Mount St. Mary’s Seminary with rosaries in hand.

Eight teams, and an archbishop, gathered the night of July 30 for a SportsLeader Rosary Rally, a unique and growing event that brings high school football players from different teams together to pray the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament.

Louisville, Ky.-based SportsLeader, an independent Catholic nonprofit dedicated to helping coaches instill virtue in players, hosted its first rosary rally in Cincinnati last year with nearly 500 players attending.

Join this initiative from the Archdiocese of Washington by pledging to pray, serve, or act as you Walk with Francis. Many have already made the pledge – what will yours be?

Learn more about Invitation, one of our most popular resources, and how it can help your parish with RCIA, Sacramental Preparation, Small Groups, Faith Formation classes, and more!
  • Easy-to-understand question and answer format effective for individual and group study
  • Supporting quotations and reference for further reading from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • A perspective from Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel”
  • An opening faith story that invites readers to see how others have lived their faith
  • “Living this Message” to help readers apply the teaching in their lives
  • An insightful question to help readers discuss each chapter’s message
  • Suggestions on how to use Invitation for adult faith formation
  • A faith story in each chapter inviting readers to see how others have lived their faith
  • An appendix of prayers, liturgical celebrations, sacraments, beliefs and teachings of the Church, and resources to continue the faith journey.
  • Invitation is also available in Spanish!
Upcoming Webinars
The Environment and Evangelization: Laudato Si
September 8th at 3:00pm EST
Join Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP as he reflects on what Pope Francis’ most recent encyclical, Laudato Si, can teach us about how ecological crises relate to the central message of the Gospel. The challenges of this encyclical offer powerful avenues for conversion.

Tools for Invitation – 
Drawing People to Christ in the Church
September 24th at 3:00pm EST
Reflect on an array of tools that catechetical and catechumenal teams can use to invite people to encounter Jesus in the Catholic Church. We have God’s unique message; how do we invite people to hear it? Presented by Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP.

Register Here

[ _______ ], Hear Our Prayer…

At CARA we’ve asked a lot of questions about prayer over the years. But we never thought to ask more specifically about just who people are actually talking to. Now we know a bit more. CARA recently conducted a national poll of Catholic parents, ages 25 to 45, to explore the 21st Century Catholic family. This survey, completed in September and October 2014, includes interviews with 1,014 self-identified Catholic parents resulting in a sampling margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points. The research was made possible by Holy Cross Family Ministries. The first in a series of special reports on the survey is out now.

Among the results on prayer, we learned this is a multilingual conversation with 40% of parents praying in Spanish and 59% in English. One percent pray in some other language (e.g., Polish, Portuguese). Seventy-one percent of parents agree “somewhat” or “strongly” that prayer is essential to their faith (80% among weekly Mass attenders) and most parents are regularly talking to God. Thirty-six percent of parents pray at least once a day. Another 23% pray less than daily but at least once a week. One in five pray less than weekly but at least once a month (20%). Twelve percent pray a few times a year. Only 9% say they rarely or never pray.

Does your parish have an E-Team?

We’d love to hear about parish’s successes and struggles with forming and sustaining an E-Team. Share your stories about E-Teams and similar initiatives below and your story may be featured in an upcoming Evangelization Exchange.
Click Here To Take a Short Survey on E-Teams.
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