October 2015


October 2015
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
Dear Friend,

In this issue we conclude our “Becoming an Inviting Church” series. Please check out “What Are We Inviting Them To?” We often use this phrase to discourage ourselves from the inviting we should be doing as a parish. We also have links to the other messages on inviting we have presented over the past months as part of our webinar series.

Short articles on the impact of Pope Francis’ visit, reaching more people through their concern for the world, learning to hope from the viewpoint of the Chicago Cubs, and information about webinars are also included in this issue of Evangelization Exchange.

We have been praying for, and following, the Synod on the Family. The focus of the synod should help our parishes fine-tune their ministry to encourage stronger faith life in our families.
It’s time to carve the pumpkins – soon we’ll be carving the turkeys! – so let’s enjoy this wonderful time of year.
Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP
Becoming an Inviting Church

This series presents 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.

What Are We Inviting Them To?
By Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP.

Of all the disheartening questions, designed to take the air out of any evangelization balloon, this one is the most devastating – what are we inviting them to?
The assumptions behind this question are shocking because people use these words as if the whole tradition of Catholic life and worship were worthless and hopelessly unappealing. The implication is that there is nothing attractive or compelling about Catholic faith, as if were some near-dead patient with no energy or health.
We hear it all the time. Mass is boring. Catholics don’t take their faith seriously. Priests are just fulfilling their job. The Church is all about preserving the institution. The Gospel isn’t preached. Ceremonies are done unceremoniously. The Church is too liberal; the Church is too conservative. Catholics are catechized but not evangelized. Catholics are not catechized. It’s all external form: obligation and fear motivate Catholics, not the love of Jesus. What does the Church have to offer people of today? Younger generations are just walking away from the Church.

We hear it all the time – what are we inviting them to – the slogans we use to undermine the very faith and life we have, the language we use to bad-mouth ourselves, to demonstrate that we do not even believe in ourselves, let alone believe in inviting others to discover Jesus Christ in our Catholic tradition. How shocking is this?

Of course, what makes a litany-of-failure like this so compelling is that, for sure, there is some kind of truth in almost every statement people make about the Church. Catholics are far from perfect and we wear our flaws sometimes way too overtly on our sleeves. Sometimes I come out of church after Mass shaking my head at the desultory way Catholics celebrated the liturgy, or the automatic-pilot pace of the Mass.
Series Re-Cap

Missed any of the pieces in our series on Becoming an Inviting Church? We now have all the essays compiled in a free, downloadable booklet!

Click Here to Download as a PDF

Beauty Tips for Evangelizers Looking to Save the World – 
Using the pop culture in order to point past it

From Aleteia

Last week, after I wrote about finding Jesus through goodness, truth, and beauty, Twitter asked me this: “@TomHoopes Great article! Loved it! But what are some other ways to evangelize using the beauty of the church?”  And in truth, my seven hundred words only scratched the surface of this topic – one great minds have weighed in on. 

“Beauty will save the world!” said St. John Paul II, putting the weight of the papacy behind a Dostoevsky quote. That is a lot of confidence at a high level being put on beauty’s ability to pierce the modern fog and reach the heart of man.
And while beauty certainly has the ability to win souls over without our interference, my wife likes to point out that most people need a Beatrice to navigate the beautiful. So, how to be a Beatrice? I don’t want to make up ways of evangelization through beauty that don’t actually work, so I will stick to describing what worked in the case I’m most familiar with: me.
Living the Eucharist Webinar
Living the EucharistCreating Personal Encounters with Christ that Transform Parish Life
Today at 1:00pm ESTLE Logo

Join Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP, and Fr. Kenneth Boyack, CSP, for this webinar.
  • Discuss the reasons for the decrease in Mass attendance today.
  • Explore the need for experiential encounters with Jesus Christ that enliven personal faith.
  • Discover how Living the Eucharist transforms daily life, enriches family life, promotes holiness, and equips parishioners to become missionary disciples.
  • Find out what parishes do to implement Living the Eucharist effectively and successfully.

Register today, learn about Living the Eucharist, and begin what one parishioner called “the best Lenten program ever” in your parish in Lent 2016.

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.
How Francis’ visit touched the hearts 
of the American people
From the Vatican Insider

A survey carried out by the Knights of Columbus in conjunction with “The Marist Poll”, shows that Americans “embraced Pope Francis’ message” as a result of his visit. Two-thirds of Americans (66 percent) saw the Pope’s trip as mostly about values. Less than a quarter saw it as mostly political (24 percent). Among practicing Catholics the numbers were even higher (80 percent to 18 percent, respectively).
Following the trip, a majority of 55 percent say they are clear about his vision for the Church. This includes almost 9 in 10 practicing Catholics (88 percent). By contrast, in April, 43 percent of Americans and 73 percent of practicing Catholics said the same.
Chicago Cubs fans and the underrated virtue of hope
From the National Catholic Reporter

Growing up in Central New Jersey as a Yankee fan, I was very, very spoiled.

The Bombers won the World Series when I was 10 — prime Little League age and the perfect time to cement lifelong fandom — and then again when I was 12. And then when I was 13. Then also the year after that. That’s four championships before I could drive, plus another in 2009. (My dad has seen 11 titles in his lifetime. His mom, who watched Lou Gehrig play at the stadium before games were on TV, has seen 26.) Posters of my favorite players cut from newspapers still cover my childhood bedroom wall: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Tino Martinez.

Then, as a college student in the Midwest, I met Chicago Cubs fans for the first time in my life. They confounded me. The Cubs have only won the World Series twice, and not since 1908. 1908! They haven’t even made it to the World Series since 1945. Over a century of utter futility. Why bother caring? Yet my classmates wore Cubs shirts and caps around campus, talked about how next year would be their year (it wasn’t), and road-tripped to the north side of Chicago for games.

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