February 2013


February 2013
Dear Friend,

This is the busiest time of year for pastoral ministers. Lent starts a whole host of programming; the LA Congress, likewise, will be starting soon with its powerful witness of Catholic expressions of faith. If you are at the LA Congress, come visit us at Booths #285-7.  I’ll be there, with Denny Marcotte, our Business Manager, and Ryan Multer, our Executive Coordinator. We wish all of you a very blessed Lenten season.


(Rev.) Frank DeSiano, CSP

LENT-Great Opportunity
Frank DeSiano, CSP

Lent starts in mid-February, bringing us into contact with a wide number of parishioners whom we probably do not regularly see. About 60% of our Catholics come for “Christmas and Easter” celebrations (I hear them called “Chreasters”), and it’s a good bet that about the same amount will be there for Ashes. Parishes can gear particular events during Lent to appeal to this wider group, perhaps bringing a few of them into more regular contact with the Church. Some ideas:

  • Stations of the Cross/Soup dinners
  • Parish Bible Study
  • Parish Discussion Groups
  • Parish Reconciliation Services
  • Parish Lenten Social Outreach
  • Catholic Relief Service “Bowl”
  • Daily Prayer on your parish website

These are just some ways to start thinking about involving some of our nearly-invisible 60% of Catholics in a more visible way of living their Catholic life.

Conversion Story

Carl Huber – St. Katherine Drexel (Frederick, MD)

Read Part 1

Which brings up the second question: Why Catholic?

I don’t have to recite the litany of everything wrong with the management line in this organization! We know it all too well, but let’s be honest, it does raise a good question, especially for those choosing to enter into a faith community, “Why would anyone join such an organization?”

I heard a statistic just last week, that there were 1084 Catechumens entering the Catholic church in the Baltimore diocese alone. So I could fall back on the question, could 1084 people possibly all be wrong? Well, the answer, of course, is emphatically Yes! We’ll have to do better than that!

However, from what I have heard through my own participation with this RCIA group, the answer to my own question, Why Catholic, is very similar to that of all the others, and I would bet for all 1084 of us as well.

From the Fields
A Parish Evangelization Project

Parish:  Our Lady of Lourdes, Northridge, CA

Parish Statistics:  2000 families, mixed ethnic and socio-economic makeup; near state university

Project:  Special guest speaker event encouraging college students not to fall away from the faith in the university

Story:  We held the event in the Fall, during back to school, and invited Professor Christopher Kaczor (author of “How to Stay Catholic in College”) to speak about how to retain your faith in college. We sent invitations to all local Catholic high schools and to Newman Clubs from all local colleges/universities, and targeted our church’s youth ministry and parents. Even the superintendent of high schools in our archdiocese circulated our ad to all the Catholic high schools in the archdiocese. The entire event had a college theme: we hung college banners and flags, class sweaters, and our ministry members wore their college colors. We served pizza, played college fight songs and looped pictures of college mascots on video screens during the reception before the talk. The attendees were very interactive during the Q&A after the talk. We had handouts to take home that contained information about our upcoming evangelization events, ongoing activities, quick answers to common questions about the faith, and Catholic puzzles. Overall, the event was well-attended and continued to impact the attendees afterwards. The local Newman Club has remained connected to our parish and continues to attend Mass at our church.

We Want YOU

We want to hear from YOU
Tell us your story of evangelization
We want our Exchange to be a way to communicate what parishes are doing and how effective we are in developing ways to reach out. Use the format below and send us back what your parish is doing. Send your submissions to: online@pemdc.org.

Here’s the format:

Name of Parish and City:

Size and makeup of the Parish: (number of households and general demographics)

Project Undertaken: (one sentence saying what you were trying to accomplish)

Narration: 200 words or less on how you want about doing your project and any discernible results.

Let’s hear from you!



Parish Prayer Campaign
Coming soon

For some time now, we’ve been talking with dioceses and parishes about the need to help our Catholics pray regularly and daily. This was somewhat erratic before the Second Vatican Council, and it has only gotten more erratic since then.

We are starting a pastoral experiment-developing a simple, prayer book, with prayers for every day of the month, and a good collection of Catholic prayers (all the way from morning offerings to prayers of saints). The idea is to (1) get Catholics to pray every day; and (2) have a booklet so simple and so inexpensive, Catholics can give this to less active family members and friends to get them to pray every day.

Our little booklets will be coming off the press soon. Right now, I’d like to put into your minds a simple vision: getting your entire parish involved in prayer for a very inexpensive cost. These can be distributed analogously to the way we distribute Lenten devotional material-but with a hefty challenge to have parishioners reach out to others.

Take a sneak preview here

SC Inquirer's Booklet

Seeking Christ

Now is the time to think ahead for next year’s RCIA.  As our Catechumens and Candidates are finalizing their commitment to Christ Jesus through our sacraments of initiation, their friends and others around the parish will be watching them, wondering if perhaps the Catholic Faith might be where the Spirit is inviting them. Be ready to invite and welcome these folks in their curiosity about the Faith.

SEEKING CHRIST provides eight flexible modules to begin introducing inquirers and seekers to dimensions of Catholic life. Through DVD meditations, Scripture sharing, reflection, prayer, and a take-home reflection, you can begin extending invitations at the moment people are most affected by the Easter Rites. Learn More.


Compliments of:
Paulist Evangelization Ministries
3031 4th St, NE, Washington, DC | 800.237.5515
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