December 2017

December 2017


Christmas has snuck up on us very quickly!

I am happy to send you this issue of Evangelization Exchange before you get totally swamped with all the things that happen in parishes and religious groups around Christmas.

Diane Kledzik’s article continues discussing the role of family in evangelization, something to emphasize in a particular way because this season is such a huge opportunity for families to gather. Diane points to many studies that underscore the important of parents giving active witness to their faith with their children and friends. I continue reflecting on discipleship by exploring how important “relationship” is to understand our Catholic faith, and how essential it is to help Catholics understand themselves relationally (and not just organizationally).

We have two links, one on how some pastors welcome the “occasional” Catholic to the parish on Christmas day, and another on a priest who spreads faith values through his skills at baking – and putting those skills on TV. Finally, you can see the full homily I gave at our 40th Anniversary Mass, something I invite you to do as a way to think about the importance of mission today. And we have an invitation to a webinar on small groups and the very effective program, Living the Eucharist.

With our prayers for abundant blessings for your parishioners and visitors during Christmas time, I am,

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP

Catholics. Disciples. Missionaries.

This year, the essays in the Evangelization Exchange will focus on how we can help form Catholics as missionary disciples. This series, entitled “Catholics. Disciples. Missionaries.” will offer concrete examples of forming missionary disciples from various pastoral viewpoints, as well as an exploration of the theme in terms of Catholic evangelization and faith formation. Read past articles here.

Planning for Conversion: Building Communities of Witness within and among Families for Mission<

by Diane Kledzik

In Redemptoris Missio (42), St. John Paul II stated, “People today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories. “These words continue to describe today, how disciples are formed in households of faith, as evidenced in A Report on American Catholic Religious Parenting, (Bartkus and Smith, 2017).

In observing “household religious culture and how it affects parents’ chances of successfully passing on their religious belief,” the researchers found that children emerging into adulthood “arrive at a sense of their fundamental identity and worldview by adopting the worldview of those mentors who left the deepest impression upon them–and who loved them and cared for them the most” – parents. Through “creating a religious subculture in the home and assuming the roles of religious witness, mentor and companion to their children,” faith was transmitted. These successful parents were not over-the-top religious, but they had become profoundly accustomed to sharing their religious life through practices and conversations in which both they and the children were active participants.

In forming missionary disciples within the domestic church, nothing is more important and influential than parents who live as missionary disciples and talk about why they do it.

As cited in Living as Missionary Disciples: A Resource for Evangelization (USCCB), the parish community is invaluable in providing support for parents and families to “Remain in me” (John 15:4) and to “Make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Its significant religious adults, like godparents, sponsors, fellow parents, youth ministers, catechists and clergy, guide children to maturity in the faith and accompany parents in their role as primary catechist. These are the people that help mission the faith that is being transmitted in the home.

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Diane Kledzik is in her 20th year at the Diocese of St. Petersburg, currently serving as the Associate Director for Evangelization, Small Christian Communities and Adult Faith Formation. Prior ministry work consists of 14 years in Youth Ministry on the parish and diocesan levels. Diane has a Certificate in Youth Ministry and an Advanced Studies in Ministry Certificate from the Center for Ministry Development and holds an MA in Pastoral Ministry from St. Thomas University in Miami, FL. She has served her parish as catechist on the Infant Baptism Team for 16 years and is on the newly formed Life Teen Core Team. Diane serves on the National Strong Catholic Families Team, the NCCL Representative Council, and is a Board Member of the North American Forum for Small Christian Communities and Paulist Evangelization Ministries.

Catholics. Disciples. Missionaries – Relationship

by Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP

They seem like exceptions to us – people who are unusually connected to others. We often imagine that identical twins can almost feel the same thing at the same time. We marvel when one old person, married to another for decades, sudden dies; and the spouse dies a few hours later. And we vaguely acknowledge something of the truth that Aristotle talked about – true friendships are like one soul that happens to be in two different bodies.

They seem like exceptions to us because we’ve conditioned ourselves to think in terms of separated people who, with a lot of effort, might somehow find some kind of unity. We inhabit our separate spaces, reinforced by separate rooms and separate bubbles of information. Our earphones and cell phones buttress this sense of isolation. Perhaps, at times, our separation might break down, maybe over a cup of coffee or a beer, and we might be able to connect with another for just a few moments.

We applaud, of course, when people do commit to each other, although the stability of our commitments has grown flimsier over the years. We get used to divorce rates that hover at 40%; this on top of people marrying less and later. When people marry, we hear speeches about enduring love, about love until death. But after the champagne has gone flat, these glowing words can seem empty, almost like a spoof.

More broadly, divisions loom greater than ever, probably enhanced by the prevalence of media which thrives on conflict. Issues about race might get the most attention, given the enormous ambivalence we still feel about the scar of slavery, and its continuing after-effects, in our society. Yet even within races divisions are hyped: blacks from this area are compared with blacks from another; Latinos from one part of the world receive compliments while other Latinos receive sneers. “They’re all lazy,” people say, with a certitude that arises only when someone barely knows the group being critiqued. Phrases like “white trash,” “uptown,” “luxurious,” and “executive,” parse the way we describe and divide each other.

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Pastors view Christmas evangelization as a sacred responsibility

By Mike Latona – © Copyright 2017 Catholic Courier

Each year at Christmas liturgies, active members of Catholic parishes unwittingly play the role of innkeeper. Rather than Jesus, Mary and Joseph, their potential guests are the many attendees in their midst who haven’t been to church in several months or perhaps even years.

Should the “regulars” convey indignation toward folks who take up precious pew space and shirk their Sunday obligation the rest of the year? Or, should they view the visitors’ presence as an opportunity to evangelize those who either have consciously left the church or simply drifted out of participating?

Father Ed Palumbos, for one, is decisively in the latter camp, calling evangelization at Christmas “a sacred responsibility.” He said he strives to ensure that people he refers to as “CEOs” (Christmas and Easter Only) are received warmly at the parishes where he is pastor – Fairport’s Church of the Assumption and Church of the Resurrection.

“This is an opportunity for us, not an occasion of judgment,” Father Palumbos stated, adding that during his Christmas homilies, “I explicitly welcome people and make sure they know we’re glad they’re there.”

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Upcoming Webinar
Living the Eucharist: Great Ideas for Your Parish for Lent 2018

January 11, 2:00 – 2:45 PM (ET)

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018. Are you ready? Is your parish ready?

Register today for a free webinar that will bring joy and renewed hope to your parishioners.

Lent is grace-filled time to help your parishioners experience the joy of the Gospel and be prepared to renew their baptismal promises at Easter with mind and heart renewed.

Presented by Fr. Kenneth Boyack, CSP, the webinar will open your imagination to these six Living the Eucharist resources that you can implement with confidence right now:

  1. A small group process that enables adults to participate more fully in the upcoming Sunday Mass;
  2. A small group process that makes the Scripture and the Mass more meaningful for teens;
  3. A Family Activity Booklet that offers faith-filled and memorable experiences for both parents and children;
  4. A daily devotional that teaches about the Mass and offers illuminating reflections;
  5. Catechetical bulletin inserts that deepen the faith of the whole parish;
  6. Prayer cards that encourage Catholics to let the light of Christ shine.

Register Here

Watch Fr. Frank DeSiano’s Homily from our 40th Anniversary Mass

On October 19th, many of our collaborators, past employees, and friends gathered to celebrate and recognize the contributions of Paulist Evangelization Ministries (PEM) over its 40 years of service to the Church.

The evening began in St. Paul’s Chapel in Caldwell Hall (on the campus of The Catholic University of America) with a lovely Mass celebrated by the president of the Paulist Fathers, Fr. Eric Andrews. PEM President Fr. Frank DeSiano offered the homily.

Click the image below to watch an excerpt from Fr. DeSiano’s Homily! To watch the full homily click here.

To learn more about our 40th Anniversary and how you can contribute to the celebration with your donation visit

This priest is going to be on The Great American Baking Show

By Perry West – Catholic News Agency © 2017

Father Kyle Schnippel.
Credit Disney ABC Press.

Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec 7, 2017 / 12:26 pm (CNA).- Many Catholics can name a priest who is renowned for his academic abilities, mission work, or inspiring homilies. But what about a priest who has received national attention for his baking skills?

Meet Father Kyle Schnippel, a pastor at two Cincinnati parishes who hopes his upcoming presence on The Great American Baking Show will offer non-Catholics insight into the human side of a priest’s life.

“My world is as much a foreign language to them as their world is to me. So what I wanted to do was just [be] a priest and [show] the joy,” Schnippel told CNA.

The third season of ABC’s American baking series will premiere on Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. EST. Throughout six episodes, the bakers will travel around the U.S. competing in holiday-themed challenges.

Schnippel is the pastor at Corpus Christi and St. John Neumann parishes in Cincinnati. Although baking had a large presence in his childhood home, his doughy adventures seriously took off about three years ago, when he decided to prepare the baked goods for his first parish festival.

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