October 2014


October 2014
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A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
Dear Friend,

As October comes to an end, our culture is filled with images of Halloween and preparation for the great fall feast of Thanksgiving. Religious education classes are underway and the RCIA participation is settling down. We should use every occasion we can to involve people in the love of Jesus Christ and help them to know everything that the Catholic Church can bring into their lives.

Our October Evangelization Exchange will begin a series on “Becoming an Inviting Church.” This month we’ll talk about reaching out to our own membership–who must always be called to conversion and renewal at deeper levels. We will expand this theme in the months ahead.

There are also other short stories of outreach and invitation! And we let you know some resources that can be of help in our various church settings.

As All Saints reminds us of what our evangelization goal is: to augment the numbers of those who put the following of Jesus at the center of their lives – let us recommit to invitation in the final months of the year.


Fr. Frank

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Becoming an Inviting Church

“We cannot even preserve the faith among Catholics in any better way than by advancing it among our non-Catholic brethren. Indeed, simply to preserve the faith it is necessary to extend it.”

– Isaac Thomas Hecker, Founder of the Paulist Fathers, July, 1886

DeSiano 2011In this issue we’re beginning a series by Fr. DeSiano called “Becoming an Inviting Church.” This series will present directions to stimulate the thinking of pastoral leaders, helping them focus on the important ministry of inviting. Parishes may, to a greater or lesser extent, greet and welcome. But few parishes consciously invite–and this at a time when participation in church is falling across all the religious spectrum. Believers may not be able to do much to influence the mega-world of trends and public opinion, fads and news cycles, but they can do a lot to influence the micro-world of people through direct contact with them. Issues covered will include inviting young adults, seekers, inactive Catholics, and more.

Part 1: Inviting Our Parishioners 

With weekly-attendance rates dropping below 25%, and “once a month” becoming the new “once a week,” most parishes (and churches and synagogues as well) have seen a fall-off in church participation, particularly in worship. To some extent this fall-off has stabilized from the large drops in the 60s, and then again in the 80s, so that most parish leaders can predict the approximate numbers of people at Mass on a given Sunday. Studies show, however, that future generations have a very different approach to life in general, and faith in particular, so that participation patterns in the future may well be even thinner.

In the face of this, parishes have to take the initiative. If people draw distant from institutional expressions of faith, then these institutions need to think of ways of drawing closer to their membership.

Parishes cannot presume on the involvement of folks listed in their databases. In fact, parishes should look upon these lists as pointing to the very people they should aim to invite. With 60% of Catholics mostly not going to Sunday Mass, and many of them identifiable by parish leaders, parishes need to start making connections with their registered members in a consistent way.

Some of the avenues to do this are, of course, email, snail mail, social media, and good old word-of-mouth.  

Continue Reading

Encountering the Living God

0315 Our friends at The Boston Pilot have a wonderful write-up about our newest book, Encountering the Living God – A Journal of Prayer and Discovery by David Thorp:

“David Thorp, who passed away in 2011 after three decades of service to Catholics in Boston, left written reflections that have been compiled into a new book. Friends and family say the book, ‘Encountering the Living God: A Journal of Prayer and Discovery,’ continues his legacy of encouraging others to draw closer to their Creator.

Over the years, David Thorp served as the director of the Catholics Come Home campaign, director of the Office for Evangelization and the liaison to the Charismatic Renewal community. For a little less than a year, he was the Director of Faith Formation at Holy Family Parish in Concord; the church has hosted several memorial lectures since David Thorp’s death. He also wrote for several publications, including The Pilot.”

Cream and sugar with that catechesis?
From Trappist brews last month to a different kind of brewing this month – coffee. From the Arlington Catholic Herald read the story of the Trinity House Cafe and how it was inspired by the new evangelization:
“With its cozy interior, downstairs fireplace, trimmed gardens, upstairs kiddie playroom and icon room, and a wrap-around front porch, Trinity House Café offers its guests the ideal setting for relaxing chats, intimate seminars, quiet reading and, of course, casual food.
Apostles on Mission
By Emily Smith, PEM Marketing and Communications AssociateFor Part 1 Click Here

One idea that has been a common refrain, both throughout Apostles on Mission and here at PEM, is how can we become “missionary disciples” of Christ and how do we invite others to join us as disciples?

The term “missionary disciple” first originated from the Concluding Document of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops’ Conferences which then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio personally oversaw. In fact the term is mentioned at least fifty times in the document. Central to the idea of becoming missionary disciples is that all baptized are called in their own ways to spread the Gospel.

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What have you been doing in your parish or diocese to reach out? We’d love to highlight your exciting events and evangelization efforts here in the Exchange each month!
Send your story to us at: online(at)pemdc(dot)org.
Maybe your idea will inspire other parishes or perhaps you’ll see a great new event for yours!

Webinar Updates
Thanks for making this a great year for our webinars! So far this year we’ve had over 4,300 views of our webinars! Thank you for your participation and sharing!

Have a topic you’d like to see covered? Email online(at)pemdc(dot)org with your ideas.
November Webinar
“When Your Adult Loved Ones Don’t Go to Mass:
Hope for Inactive Catholics” presented by Dr. Kristina DeNeve
November 18th at 3:00pm EST

Description: Explore with us the issue of adults who identify themselves as Catholic but who don’t attend Mass regularly. What our faith teaches about this issue and what you can do about it are likely to surprise you!

Presenter: Dr. Kristina DeNeve is the Adult Faith Formation and Evangelization Coordinator for the Diocese of Honolulu. With advanced degrees in Social Psychology and Christian Spirituality, Kristina’s work is often at the intersection of psychology and spirituality. Kristina has collaborated with national evangelization groups such as Catholics Come Home and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and she currently serves on the board for the Paulist Evangelization Ministries.

Register Here

Public Sees Religion’s Influence Waning
From Pew Research:

Nearly three-quarters of the public (72%) now thinks religion is losing influence in American life, up 5 percentage points from 2010 to the highest level in Pew Research polling over the past decade. And most people who say religion’s influence is waning see this as a bad thing.

Perhaps as a consequence, a growing share of the American public wants religion to play a role in U.S. politics. The share of Americans who say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political issues is up 6 points since the 2010 midterm elections (from 43% to 49%).

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Check out our new video: The Santa Fe Experience! Watch to see the impact Living the Eucharist is having in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Listen to testimony from Archbishop Michael Sheehan, diocesan staff, group leaders, and participants about how this ministry changes lives through personal encounters with Jesus Christ.
Click the picture below to view the video:
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