November 2015

November Evangelization Exchange Newsletter

November 2015

A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
Dear Friend,

“The Holidays,” as these are collectively named in current society, present several paradoxical opportunities for believers. On the one hand, it can look like society is eviscerating Christmas of any religious meaning. Just look at the somewhat pumped-up brouhaha over Starbucks coffee cups!

On the other hand, Thanksgiving and Christmas-not to mention the whole Advent Season–give numerous opportunities for people–whatever their explicit relationship to the Church–to be in touch with the religious dimensions of their lives.

Perhaps believers should not be so awkward about finding energy in  the religious elements of these feasts. For example, nothing prevents a Thanksgiving meal from becoming a powerful expression of spirituality in the home. Instead of the somewhat awkward and rushed “Bless us O Lord,” family patriarchs and matriarchs can read a bit from Scripture and invite people to express what they particularly are thanking God for at this time in their lives. And Christmas allows multiple opportunities to help less-than-active believers express more outwardly a faith that often is still latent in them. Midnight Mass…followed by a wonderful party expressing family love…seems like a great moment to me.

In our Exchange this month, please note the various upcoming webinars offered. They are free! Send the links around to your friends. I hope many people can tune in for the webinar focusing on “The Journey” which will present the possibility of a wonderful pastoral tool for renewing and recovering faith. And Dennis Mahaney will join us from warm-and-toasty Buffalo in December and January to talk about approaches to reaching Young Adults. Also, do not miss the opportunity to download “Becoming an Inviting Church” – also free! I’d be so happy is this was our mantra during the Year of Mercy.

Many blessings over “the Holidays”!
Fr. Frank
Becoming an Inviting Church

Over the past several months we’ve presented the series, Becoming an Inviting Church in the Exchange, focusing each month on a different group parishes might welcome in a special way. The series presented directions to stimulate the thinking of pastoral leaders, helping them focus on the important ministry of inviting. We are happy now to offer the entire series of essays as a free downloadable booklet! We hope that parishes and all Catholics will find the essays informative and get people thinking about how we can be more inviting. Click the link below to learn more about the booklet and to download. 

Learn More

Meet the new!
We’re excited to announce the debut of our upgraded website for Paulist Evangelization Ministries!! We hope that you will find the new site easier to navigate and full of new resources! There’s now a Webinar Archive and a special page dedicated to Free Resources. The URL for the site is still, but it has a new look!
This Catholic nun is competing on Food Network’s reality cooking show
From the Catholic News Agency

Chicago, Ill., Nov 9, 2015 / 02:25 pm (CNA).- Fans of the Food Network’s competitive cooking show “Chopped” can look forward to a special appearance on Monday night’s episode – Sister Alicia Torres, a Catholic religious sister from the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago.
Along with three other chefs, Sr. Torres will have to get through the appetizer round – by creating a confection from Thanksgiving leftovers – as well as the entrée and dessert rounds in order to be crowned the “Chopped” champion. The winner takes home $10,000 to give to the charity of their choice.
Should Sister survive all three rounds without being “chopped,” her proceeds will go to Our Lady of the Angels Mission in Chicago, the soup kitchen at which the Franciscan sisters serve.
It is through working in the soup kitchen that Sr. Torres has been able to hone her creative cooking skills, she told CNA, since everything is run on donations.
Upcoming Webinars
Introducing The Journey –
a new resource to strengthen and share faith
November 30th at 1:00pm ET

Join Fr. Frank DeSiano as he introduces an important new resource for the Church today.Pope Francis has defined faith as “a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.” As a result, we have to help Catholics, whatever their involvement in the Church, and others who are seeking faith, experience their faith at this personal, deeper level. The Journey can help pastors, faith formation directors, religious leaders, young adult ministers, and youth ministers bring Catholics and others to a new consciousness of the presence of Christ in their lives.

Part 1, consisting of six prayerful and engaging sessions, will be available this January…in time for Lent. It explores “My Encounter with Jesus” through sharing, scripture, video, prayer and hospitality. Each session gives us a different aspect of Jesus, and a different way to let Christ touch our lives. Join in the Webinar and discover a new and vital resource for the Church today.

New Evangelization with the 
Game-Changing Generation: Part 1
December 10th at 3:00pm ET
We have all heard the disastrous church attendance reports. And yet, even this breakdown hints at a breakthrough. As the ranks of the young, unchurched grow, there is a new opportunity for us to reimagine our response. In such a time of new evangelization there is more than new “method, expression, and ardor”. There is also renewal in focus, personnel, place, process and practice. Who are these “Millennials”, “Mosaics”, and “iGeneration” folks from whom so many of our churches are feeling so estranged? What does our hope in Christ Jesus offer them? What does it take to step back from failed and frustrating programs, so we can imagine new opportunities? Participants will see how these questions can lead to new and renewing answers. We will consider the new approach in part 1 and turn to more specific game-changing implications in part 2.
Our host for this webinar, and it’s follow-up, will be Dennis Mahaney the Director for Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Buffalo, NY.
New Evangelization with the 
Game-Changing Generation: Part 2
January 7th at 3:00pm ET
The iGeneration, Y-Generation, Millennials, Mosaics – whatever the label, may be the game-changer generation for the Church.  This generation is the largest on our planet. They are more educated than any in the history of our species. Within two years, this generation will be spending more than the Boomers. And because the larger the generation, the greater the influence, Millennials have the potential to be a game-changing generation. How can we support their spiritual quest and mobilize their talents to build God’s Reign? Participants will consider the tremendous promise and opportunities available to anyone who partners with them.
Webinar Recordings

Reaching Inactive Catholics: 
The Potential of Awakening Faith
In this webinar, Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP looked at the issues surrounding inviting inactive Catholics to return to the Church and how Awakening Faith can help inactive Catholics come back to the Church through conversation and sharing.

Tools for Invitation – 
Drawing People to Christ in the Church
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.
Gifts for Parish Volunteers, Friends, and More!
Prayer Book
Encountering the Living God

This beautiful hard-bound book contains one hundred reflections on God as our Father, Savior, and Sanctifier. Short, poignant reflections lead to contemplation and prayer. Generous pages give the reader space to journal their growing relationship with God. Encountering the Living God also makes a superb gift to thank hardworking parish staff and volunteers.

The Book of Catholic Prayer 
for Every Day

Let’s call our Catholics to prayer! This little book can help every parishioner, and every family, begin a regular life of prayer. Based on a monthly cycle of prayers using prayer resources familiar to many Catholics, this prayer book can provide a basis to call Catholic parishioners back to a needed way of life. Makes a perfect gift for parish ministers and other volunteers.

5 key findings about religiosity in the U.S. – 
and how it’s changing
From Pew Research
On one level, the story of how Americans’ religious affiliations are changing is well known and straightforward: More and more U.S. adults say they do not identify with any religion, while a shrinking majority describe themselves as Christians,  according to  the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study we published in May.
But whether the country is actually becoming less religious is a more complicated question. Are its religious beliefs and practices changing beyond the declining shares of people who choose to identify with a religion?
Our second report from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study examines Americans’ religious beliefs and finds that the question of whether adults in the U.S. are becoming more or less religious depends, in part, on how religious observance is measured.

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