Become an evangelizing parish!
Father Frank Desiano, CSP
From welcoming inactive Catholics back to the Church to reaching those seeking a spiritual home, there are many challenges to Catholic evangelization.
“We understand, and we want to help,” said Father Frank DeSiano, CSP, the president of Paulist Evangelization Ministries, who is offering video and blog reports directly from the Synod for the New Evangelization called by Pope Benedict XVI for Oct. 7-22 in Rome.
“This is a great opportunity for a real focus on the situation we face in the church today––to engage it and not deny it,” said Father DeSiano. “We need to look at evangelization ministry in the context of our modern culture.”
Neighbors Reaching Neighbors is Paulist Evangelization Ministry’s latest effort to equip today’s parishes for evangelization. The toolkit includes the Introduction to the Catholic People DVD, as well as brochures, booklets and door hangers parishes can use to invite others to the Church.
“We know that parishes have a hard time reaching out to others, and one of the reasons is that that there are not ready, easily accessible tools,” Father DeSiano said. “Neighbors Reaching Neighbors is an attempt to remedy this. The toolkit will offer in one place a variety of things that Catholics do not readily have––booklets, brochures, business cards, door hangers, etc.––that will help a parish project its invitation to people nearby and help Catholics reach out to people they know.”
For parishes and dioceses that need to get evangelization ministry off the ground, Paulist Comprehensive Evangelization Training provides 12 approximately 40-minute videos and an accompanying workbook that offers parishes and dioceses effective solutions for Catholic evangelization. Topics covered include the basics of forming an evangelization team and planing an active parish evangelization ministry to approaching inactive Catholics and engaging spiritual seekers.
“People keep asking, ‘What is evangelization?’” said Father DeSiano, who has authored several books on the subject. “This program offers concrete things faith communities can do to become evangelizing parishes.”
Paulist Evangelization Ministries has also developed The Evangelizing Liturgy, a 40-minute video that looks at the Mass through the perspective of evangelization – how the Word of God comes to us and how we respond.
“Do you see the liturgy as a Spirit-filled celebration of conversion and re-commitment to Christ?” Father DeSiano asked? Do you see the dynamics that are calling our Catholic people to renewal of their following of Jesus?”
One of the most important things people can do in terms of evangelization is to pray, as prayer is absolutely essential for evangelization, according to Father DeSiano. Paulist Evangelization Ministries is planning a Catholic daily prayer campaign complete with a pocket-sized book that will include the strongest traditions in Catholic prayer.
“Catholics need to pray more consistently and more openly every day as individuals, as families and in small groups,” he said.
Father DeSiano hopes Paulist Evangelization Ministries will be a great resource for the Church as the synod refocuses Catholics on its primary mission – evangelization.
“My hope for the synod will be a realistic appraisal of where modern people are in terms of faith, where people are in terms of the Catholic faith, along with some very pastoral, personal approaches from believers to others to help people connect more fully with their faith and the Church,” he said. “New ideas are coming about every day, and we at Paulist Evangelization Ministries are just getting started.”