August 2016




We barely shook the sand from our beach sandals and, wow, fall is almost here!

Fall is an exciting time for parishes — people return, choirs resume their repertoire, inquirers emerge for the RCIA, and parents bring their children for Catholic education of one sort or another. This means that fall is a particularly important time for parishes to emphasize invitation — to try to shake out all those who have moved in to our neighborhoods and are just settling in and reestablish connections within our parish community. It’s also an important time on campuses as ministries try to reach thousands of students who are, many for the first time, “on their own.” Be sure to check our website, for resources to help you invite, engage, and welcome.

In this issue, we finish our reflections on the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy, looking at the power of prayer. We also present some challenging data from CARA — every parish leader will want to study this and probe it for implications in our ministry. Other topics include Pokemon Go, which has taken over the country! Take a look at the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s approach for some ideas you might explore. We offer a new and powerful tool to help Catholics, and others, grasp and articulate their “personal relationship with Christ”– The Journey/ El Camino. And finally, we are excited to announce a co-published book on ministry to people in their 20s-30s…after studying CARA’s data, this book demands reading and implementation. Take a look through the issue for these articles and more!

Enjoy the start up.  Fall’s excitement echoes the power of the Kingdom in a special way.


Fr. Frank

The Seventh Spiritual Work of Mercy:

To Pray for the Living and the Dead

By Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP

So what happens when we pray?
Every now and then we see a reputed study being done: people are gravely sick. Some have people praying for them; other do not. Is there a difference in the outcome? Studies like this cannot be strict “control” studies because there are so many variables that cannot be determined, such as the health of the patients to begin with, let alone the kind of, and level of, prayer being offered. But these studies seem to endorse a widespread idea that prayer is object-oriented: if we pray for “x” then we will receive “x.”
The problem with this, however, is that people seem to pray for “x” and do not receive it. And this leads to a variety of so-called explanations such as “God answered your prayer another way,” or “God gave you want you needed not what you wanted,” or, most devastating, “You didn’t pray the way you were supposed to.”
I am not sure we need these “object-oriented” ideas of prayer really help. I was impressed by reading Mary Karr’s memoir, “Lit,” in which she, while an agnostic, is being urged to pray by someone in her recovery group. She wonders what it would be like to pray to a reality in which she does not believe. But, nevertheless, undertakes the dare her friend gives her: just pray for thirty days and see what happens. So she prayed dutifully each night for thirty days. When she looked back, she noted many positive changes in her life over that four-week span.

Continue Reading

Previous Essays in this Series

Click Here to see all the essays in our series on the Spiritual Works of Mercy and Evangelization.
American Catholicism Examined in Three Orbits


In the United States, about two-thirds of people raised Catholic remain Catholic as adults (67%). Among those who remain Catholic, about half attend Mass at least once a month (47%). These two statistics can help shape a conceptual “map” of Catholicism in terms of defining a core and a periphery. Some people leave the faith, others remain Catholic but rarely attend Mass (i.e., periphery), and at the core are those who stay and actively participate in their faith on a regular basis.

In this post we explore who, demographically, is most likely to fall into the core, periphery, or out of the faith. To accomplish this we have aggregated respondents to the 2008 to 2014 General Social Survey (GSS). In all, this includes 2,921 responses from people raised as Catholic.

New resource for young adult ministry

20s/30s Ministry: A Guide for Parishes provides concrete and helpful directions for beginning a ministry to those in the 20s and 30s. Written by Fr. Nicholas Lombardo, OP, it captures many years of effective outreach by him and his associates. Chapter by chapter, tip by tip, Fr. Lombardo opens directions for parishes, lays out the options, and guides pastoral associates to the best choices. It’s clear, concise, helpful, spirituality-based, and realistic

Co-published with Paulist Press, this book can open new avenues for any parish looking to reach Young Adults.
Directors of Young Adult Ministry in many dioceses have acclaimed this book:
“This very practical guide for parishes is the best book on young adult ministry to come along in decades.” – Fr. Dave Dwyer, director of Busted Halo.
“Fr. Lombardo provides a comprehensive approach to young adult outreach.” – Colin Nykaza of the Archdiocese of New York
Catechetical Sunday Digital Toolkit

Our friends at NCCL have put together a wonderful set of resources for Catechetical Sunday! Visit their digital toolkit to learn more about the Living the Eucharist Daily Devotional App as well as resources from Our Sunday VisitorSadlier Religion, the USCCB, and more!
From NCCL: As Catechetical Leaders throughout the nation, we are commissioned to share the faith, while encouraging others to do the same through a lifelong journey of faith formation.  Catechetical Sunday has been set for Sunday, September 18, 2016, through which all catechists are commissioned, utilizing their unique charisms to share the Gospel in their faith community. This year’s theme, Prayer: The Faith Prayed, reminds catechists to nurture their prayer lives, which in turn allows for a deepening of their vocational call by attentively listening to God’s voice dictating the grace of their lives.

From The Catholic Review
Archdiocese of Baltimore takes concerted look at ‘Pokévangelization’
“An opportunity that’s sitting right in front of us,” is the way Father T. Austin Murphy Jr., pastor of Our Lady of Hope in Dundalk and St. Luke in Edgemere, described the interactive video game Pokémon GO.
“We’ve done no work to earn it … so it’s like grace,” he said in an interactive webinar on “Pokévangelization” held by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
As host of the Aug. 4 webinar, William Glover, chief information officer and director of the archdiocesan division of information technology, said that he couldn’t take credit for the clever portmanteau. “The first place I saw it was in the Diocese of Green Bay,” he said.
The webinar offered parish and school staff firstly an overview of the interactive video game Pokémon GO – in which players hunt for colorful creatures (Pokémon), train them, and back them in G-rated “battles” with other players’ Pokémon.
Have you started The Journey?
Now is the perfect time to bring The Journey to your parish!
The Journey/El Camino is our newest resource! It is designed to help Catholics today deepen their personal relationship with Christ – it’s a simple and direct way to encounter Jesus in our lives.
The Journey is perfect for faith-sharing groups and there are many ways it can help your parish today!
In Part 1* each session focuses on the link between our lives and Jesus’ life. Participants read from a selected Scripture passage and then watch a powerful video produced by the award winning Outside da’ Box. In the videos we see how the issues that were affecting those who Jesus healed and ministered to, are not so different from the ones we face today.
Mix and match the components of The Journey to best fit your parish’s needs:

  • Faith-sharing small group materials for adults in English and Spanish
  • Small group materials for youth in English
  • Daily Devotional for participants and parish-wide use
  • Weekly Bulletin inserts to unite the whole parish
  • Prayer Cards
Click Here to order your Parish Preview Pack or
call 1.800.435.7116 to place your order over the phone!


Parts 2 and 3 coming Fall 2016
Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky says her Catholic faith helps her ‘put things in perspective’
From The Catholic Standard

Four years ago, Katie Ledecky burst onto the Olympic stage when she was just 15 years old, winning a gold medal in the women’s 800-meter freestyle. Since then, the swimmer who attended Little Flower School and Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda has become the world record holder in the 400, 800 and 1500-meter freestyles, and the American record holder in the 500, 1000 and 1650-yard freestyles. In 2015, she became the first swimmer in history to win the 200, 400, 800, and 1500-meter freestyles in a single world championship. During the Olympic trials, Ledecky qualified to compete in three individual events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro – the 200, 400, and 800-meter freestyles. In the following e-mail interview with the Catholic Standard, Ledecky discusses how her faith is a source of strength and how the communities at home have supported her along the road to her second Olympics.

We have a new look!

Over the last month we began transitioning to our new logo! The logo is based on the new Paulist Father’s logo, which uses the Paulist “P” as a speech bubble with the Holy Spirit represented as a dove. For our new logo we incorporate this “P” and added the flame for the Holy Spirit in keeping with our current logo.