October 2017

October 2017 Evangelization Exchange


The slow start of early September has quickly become the parish routine of October. Behind all the hub-bub of our parish life and organizations, some larger themes are at play.

One of them is Young Adults, and we are happy to have Jonathan Lewis write a second essay on ministering to Young Adults. His essay reinforces the place of personal encounter with others as an indispensable part of our ministry. However much we organize, it’s the personal engagement that makes parishes come alive.

I continue exploring the themes of discipleship, this time focusing on “conversion.” In today’s world of “personal choice,” it’s absolutely clear that we have to help Catholics engage the ongoing conversion process that is part of Catholic life.

Next month we will have a webinar highlighting the impact small-groups can have in a parish using the Lenten renewal program, Living the Eucharist. We also have a recording from a webinar I hosted in partnership with NCCL on accompaniment and invitation.

We have some interesting links for you – a very popular one on a ‘memeing’ bishop form New Zealand and one on apple pie and welcoming new parishioners. Enjoy!

Please note our celebration for our ministry’s 40th Anniversary…and say a prayer for our mission.

In Christ,

Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP

Catholics. Disciples. Missionaries.

This year, the essays in the Evangelization Exchange will focus on how we can help form Catholics as missionary disciples. This series, entitled “Catholics. Disciples. Missionaries.” will offer concrete examples of forming missionary disciples from various pastoral viewpoints, as well as an exploration of the theme in terms of Catholic evangelization and faith formation. Read past articles here.

Relationships Matter: Community and Young Adults

The US Bishops in their 2017 document “Living as Missionary Disciples” identify four moments from The Road to Emmaus in Luke 24 to describe the process of evangelization: encounter, accompany, community, send. If we want to take seriously the call to form young adults as missionary disciples we need to reassess key underemphasized moments in the life of our parishes, especially the need to form community and send young people on mission into the world.

This Summer an article in The Atlantic magazine grabbed my attention: “The Church of CrossFit.” The article explains how “Gyms and other secular communities are starting to fill spiritual and social needs for many nonreligious people.” As I looked into local DC CrossFit websites to see what young people were finding so attractive in these gyms, I noticed two key areas recently highlighted by the US Bishops:

1. Community:

  • CrossFit patrons are passionate about sharing their experience with friends
  • When you sign-up for CrossFit you are paired with instructors who you get to know one on one to make sure you are reaching your goal
  • You are always joined by supportive people to sweat and celebrate alongside

2. Mission:

  • You join for a purpose; you don’t accidentally or culturally stay involved with CrossFit
  • There is an expectation to change and improve your life through personal goal-setting

Parishes can learn a lot from the experience of CrossFit in how we reimagine parish life and form small missional communities for people to grow together and make the world better. Below are a couple ways that we can better form community and send young adults on mission:

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Jonathan Lewis is the Executive Director of Evangelization, Young Adult Ministry, and Chaplaincies for the Archdiocese of Washington. He is an alumnus of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and holds a Masters in Theology from the University of Notre Dame through the ECHO: Faith Formation Leadership Program. Jonathan is originally from the Kansas City area and has served in parish catechetical ministry for 10 years in in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Diocese of Wilmington, Archdiocese of San Francisco, and Archdiocese of Washington. He currently serves as a member of the Board for Paulist Evangelization Ministries (PEM).

Catholics. Disciples. Missionaries – Conversion

by Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP

At first glance, it looks like Catholics generally put conversion on the shelf.

After all, if we think of conversion as a conscious decision that someone has made which brings identifiable change to a life; and if, as a matter of course, Catholics and other mainline churches baptize infants; then it only follows that conversion is something that does not need to happen in life. Do we seem to have found a shortcut around conversion?

Again, if we were to ask a test question of our parishioners – Who has experienced conversion? – we would not expect many Catholics to stand up. Sure, we have a sprinkling of people who joined the Church as adults; these folks would undoubtedly call themselves converts. But when we look at the majority of Catholics, we do not readily think of, or expect to see, very much in the way of conversion.

One priest narrated a story – not very unusual, I’m afraid – to me. A young man in his parish had been invited to attend a retreat given by a nearby evangelical congregation. He came back from the retreat quite excited. He told the priest, “Father, for the first time in my life, I gave myself to Jesus last weekend.” The priest responded: “What did you think you were doing when you were confirmed?”

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Celebrating 40 Years of Service to the Church

On Thursday night, October 19th, many of our collaborators, past employees, and friends gathered to celebrate and recognize the contributions of Paulist Evangelization Ministries (PEM) over its 40 years of service to the Church.

The evening began in St. Paul’s Chapel in Caldwell Hall (on the campus of The Catholic University of America) with a lovely Mass celebrated by the president of the Paulist Fathers, Fr. Eric Andrews. PEM President Fr. Frank DeSiano offered the homily and told those gathered, “being evangelized isn’t an on and off switch…being evangelized is living as a disciple, it is something that you grow into, it is a way of life.”

After Mass guests headed to the Pryzbyla Center to catch up with old friends and former coworkers and to make new connections. During dinner, Fr. Eric toasted PEM’s forty years saying, “How wonderful it is, for 40 years PEM…has been hearing the call to go out and invite people to take a good look at the Catholic Church, to reach out to those who are unchurched or looking for a church home and provide resources and invitations for them to come and see more.”

Guests were also able to watch a special video commemorating PEM’s forty years of contributions to evangelization, which you can watch here.

To learn more about our 40th Anniversary and how you can contribute to the celebration, visit www.pemdc.org/40

Wisconsin parish’s ‘Apple Pie Ambassadors’ welcome new neighbors

By Kevin Wondrash – Catholic News Service © 2017

CNS photo- Kevin Wondrash/Catholic Herald photo

MONONA, Wis. (CNS) – “Hello, we’re from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Monona. We understand that you recently moved into the area. We just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood.”

That greeting – along with an apple pie, a bulletin and a smile – are what the parish’s “Apple Pie Ambassadors” have given out nearly 50 times since May.

Earlier this year, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Council came up with the idea for the ambassadors to serve as a “welcome wagon” for people who recently moved into the area, both Catholics and otherwise.

They are invited to check out the parish, which is in the Diocese of Madison, and they also are informed of some of the bigger events that have a presence in the neighborhood such as the parish festival and fish fries.

An Immaculate Heart of Mary parishioner who is a realtor sends program leader Sharon Coffey a list of the new homes sold in Monona every month.

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Living the Eucharist: Life Changing Small Groups for Lent 2018
November 14th, 3:00-4:00pm (ET)

Parishioners grow in their faith through the dynamics of the small faith-sharing group process. Small group members gain new understanding, inspire others by their comments, and surprise and amaze themselves by articulating their faith openly, perhaps for the first time.

The Living the Eucharist small group process, in both English and Spanish, will help parishioners experience the joy of the Gospel during Lent and be prepared to renew their baptismal promises at Easter with mind and heart renewed.

Join us for a free webinar to introduce parish leaders to the Living the Eucharist small group experience for Lent 2018. Presented by Fr. Kenneth Boyack, CSP, the webinar will highlight:

  • proven practices that bring personal growth in faith during Lent;
  • the dynamic catechetical and lectio divina components of the Living the Eucharist small group process;
  • ways to get people to sign up for the small groups; and
  • resources available to train the small group leaders.

Webinar Recording
Awakening Faith: Addressing our Current Situation

This webinar was a joint presentation of Paulist Evangelization Ministries and NCCL. Join Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP as he explores both the many factors which can alienate people, even our own parishioners, from the Church; and the ways we can accompany them on their journey to a deeper encounter with Jesus and faith. From the life situations which create distance from faith, to the cultural transformations causing stress on our parishes and communities, Fr. DeSiano will give participants a frank overview of the obstacles the Church faces. Fr. DeSiano will then offer practical ideas for a pastoral response that will help parishes think about how to form missionary disciples in their own parish, and welcome those beyond their parish walls. Click the link below to watch the recording!

Discover Successful Approaches to Serve Young Adults

Is Your Parish Ready to Reach Out to Young Adults?

In “20s-30s Ministry: A Guide for Parishes,” Fr. Nicholas Lombardo, O.P., shares his experience and learning from his successful Young Adult Ministry.

In direct and practical ways, Fr. Lombardo gives advice that any parish can use in trying to reach this crucial group. Available to order from Paulist Press or PEM for just $14.95.

Learn More

I’m a Roman Catholic bishop. And I make memes for Jesus.

By Bishop Richard Umbers is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney
From The Washington Post © 1996-2017 The Washington Post

Lent was fast approaching, a time to renounce small pleasures, a time to do without social media. But the Mardi Gras binge that precedes 40 days of selfie denial happened to coincide with the appearance of a particularly sassy young teen on the Dr. Phil Show. Her slogan, “cash me ousside, howbow dah,” (apparently meant to read: catch me outside, how about that?) went viral, and caught my attention just as I was trying to think of ways to remind parishioners to come to Ash Wednesday services. And voila – Ash me ousside, howbow dah – as a reminder of the Wednesday start to the season.

Liturgy related memes may be preaching to the choir but Church services are the usual point of contact that just about anyone has with the faith. They also tend to elicit the greatest response: a deer recoiling from an outstretched hand at the Our Father or a dreaded liturgical dance got hundreds and hundreds of likes. That many young people shared those memes on their own networks is a reflection of Millennials’ love for rubrics and Young Pope aesthetics, a generational divide that leaves most Baby Boomers mystified.

Continue Reading at The Washington Post

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