Fall 2019 Evangelization Exchange


FALL, 2019
Learning from Sesame Street
by Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP
President, Paulist Evangelization Ministries
Earlier this year, while Sesame Street was celebrating its 50th Anniversary, America magazine ran an article about some of the qualities that made this show such a success. Indeed, Sesame Street has become one of the strongest icons of entertainment and values in the history of television. 
The qualities identified by Kerry Weber in her article could well be an agenda for Catholic parishes in the United States and Canada today. Our parishes have new issues to deal with in the face of the decline in active participation in the Eucharist and, more broadly, in the way younger generations identify with institutions. 
Parishes have to shift from operating in a primarily institutional mode to becoming more consciously communities or, as is often put in Church documents, “communities of communities.” Parishes, that is, have to start emphasizing relationship over organization—and this must be clear beyond the default organizations for senior citizens, or the Knights. Indeed, it must become especially true for Millennials and subsequent generations.
Welcome to the new look of Evangelization Exchange. We certainly appreciate your readership over these twenty or more years in the various forms our newsletter has taken.
Fr. Gil Martinez, a Paulist pastor in Los Angeles, has written about his long and successful outreach to Young Adults. This article will give pastors ideas and directions. So don’t miss it! I’m presenting a wonderful article from America Magazine on the principles Sesame Street has taught us over its 50 years—and how these might be adapted to our parishes. 
Please click on links to our various resources, including Fr. Nicholas Lombardo’s book on young adult ministry and the updated Catholics Reaching Out. Sign up for the free Living the Eucharist webinar next week.
Enjoy the fall celebrations of Halloween and thanksgiving!
Fr. Frank
50 years of ‘Sesame Street’: What the show’s history can teach us about evangelization
By Kerry Weber
Copyright © 2019 America Press Inc.
Early one Sunday morning in 1965, the psychologist Lloyd Morrisett found his three-year-old daughter sitting in front of the family television staring at the test pattern. He wondered if he could harness this captivating power of the screen for good and asked as much of the guests at a dinner party he attended shortly thereafter. The party was hosted by Joan Ganz Cooney, who replied that she would like to find out.
In November 1969 the pair debuted their answer. After countless hours of research, not to mention $8 million worth of fundraising, the newly formed Children’s Television Workshop, co-founded by Cooney and Morrisett, saw the first episode of “Sesame Street” air on public television.
Thoughts on Young Adult Ministry
By Fr. Gilbert Martinez, C.S.P.
Many available resources describe young adults, that is people in their 20’s and 30’s. Excellent articles in America Magazine, the Busted Halo website, and others along with new studies about this generation provide grist for meaningful reflection. The general traits and cultural context in which young adults “live and move and have their being” and the studies on the rise of the “nones” offer great insight into their lives. Read them and reflect upon them.
What I would like to do here if offer an approach to young adult ministry — not necessarily a cookbook approach or a ‘how to’ manual. Having spent the last fifteen years in young adult ministry and currently beginning to form a new ministry at a parish to which I’m newly assigned, please accept these few words as ones of encouragement and hope.
This book provides concrete and helpful directions for beginning a ministry to young adults. It captures many years of effective outreach by Fr. Lombardo and his associates.
The Journey/El Camino 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.
Free Webinar: How Living the Eucharist Can Transform Your Parish During Lent 2020 
October 30th at 3:00pm EDT
Pastoral leaders want effective resources to help their parishioners grow in faith. Living the Eucharist, www.LivingtheEucharist.org, has been used in over 1,250 parishes with great success. This Lenten renewal ministry not only deepens understanding of the Eucharist but also helps Catholics relate the Mass to daily holiness, family life, discipleship, parish life, and mission. 
During this webinar you will…
  • Learn how Living the Eucharist can touch the lives of your whole parish during Lent 2020 through small groups for adults and teens, activities for families, and spiritual growth opportunities for the entire parish.
  • See how you can customize Living the Eucharist and use all or any part of this ministry to achieve your pastoral goals.
  • Learn about the free training that Living the Eucharist offers to Parish Leadership Team Coordinators in the Fall 2019 and the free training for small group leaders before Lent 2020.
  • Find out how Living the Eucharist can fit easily within your budget for Lent 2020 since all the parish pays for are the materials that you order.
  • Discover how Living the Eucharist works in bi-lingual parishes.
Prisoner Prayer Program
This is a very special program for prisoners… a way to encourage them along their difficult path of reform, as they struggle with isolation, fear, uncertainty, and their questions about God.
Pope Francis has written powerful words to prisoners. As you know, he wants all the church to “go out to the margins”—and few people are as marginalized as prisoners, especially in the particularly harsh and hopeless system we have developed in the United States (often for the profit of corporations and individuals). This book will help prisoners leave prison with visions and hopes that spring from our Catholic faith.
Consider sponsoring a book so we can send it to a prisoner. I can imagine prisoners smiling broadly as they receive a special and unexpected gift.
Thank you for your loving kindness to some of America’s most forgotten people,
Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP
In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace
From Pew Research
The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
Both Protestantism and Catholicism are experiencing losses of population share. Currently, 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009. And one-in-five adults (20%) are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009. 
Searching for
a spiritual home
By Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger
No generation perhaps has been more unkindly stereotyped than the so-called millennials, the “Gen Y” demographic cohort — born roughly between the early 1980s and just after the year 2000 — that writers, researchers and certain self-appointed savants generically disparage as self-centered, lazy and entitled. In a particularly unforgiving Time magazine article (“Millennials: The ME ME ME Generation,” May 20, 2014), Joel Stein scathingly decried their purported shiftlessness: “Millennials are interacting all day but almost entirely through a screen. You’ve seen them at bars, sitting next to one another and texting. They might look calm, but they’re deeply anxious about missing out on something better. Seventy percent of them check their phones every hour, and many experience phantom pocket-vibration syndrome.” 
Entertaining as it may be for know-it-alls of older generations like mine to diagnose mockingly the causes for the increasing absence of young people in our churches — yes, this generation encapsulates a better part of the so-called “Nones” — this tendency reminds me of something a wise high school teacher taught me about finger-pointing. He warned my class that whenever the index finger points to someone else, the other three fingers point right back at me. 
Welcome back Catholics Reaching Out!
One of our most popular resources is back with a new look!
Catholics Reaching Out: Inviting Inactive Catholics and Seekers to the Church
Pastors and parishes worry about Inactive Catholics. Catechists worry about less-than-active parents. RCIA teams worry about attracting catechumens and candidates. How do parishes actually reach these people who are not at Mass on Sundays? Catholics Reaching Out is an updated pastoral tool to help parishes do this special kind of inviting and evangelizing.
Click the image below to watch an informational webinar on how to use Catholics Reaching Out in your parish and community!
As a special offer to celebrate the return of CRO, use discount code CRO2019 to receive $10 off your order of the CRO Parish Kit. Expires 10/31/19.