Close your eyes. Visualize a community in which Sunday Mass and all of the sacraments are celebrated joyfully and meaningfully in a way that is warm and welcoming to all people.
Picture parishioners confidently speaking about the role of faith in their daily lives and parents praying with their children. Everyone—the pastor, the staff, all parishioners—reaches out to serve those who are hurting, poor, or marginalized. In this vision of the parish, people don’t just say “I go to church.” They say, “I AM THE CHURCH!”
How can your parish achieve this vision? By focusing on the “5 Key Areas That Matter” that foster an evangelizing culture:
- The Sunday worship experience
- The feeling of Welcome
- The sense of Belonging
- Opportunities for Witness
- Reaching out in Mission
1. Sunday matters because the Sunday Eucharist is the source of the Church’s spirituality, and Sunday is the day when people gather in the greatest numbers. When we celebrate Sunday well, the power of the liturgy moves hearts and deepens commitment to being Christ’s disciples in the parish, the neighborhood, and the world.
2. Welcome matters because true Christian hospitality gives us the opportunity to draw new people into our community, to help those in need, and to see Christ in all who come to our parish and live in our neighborhood. When we welcome warmly, we bring the Good News to life and encourage growth in faith.
3. Belonging matters because people’s experience of feeling engaged in the parish makes them open to an encounter with Christ. When parishioners develop a deep sense of belonging, they begin to see themselves as missionary disciples who help the faith community grow and reach out beyond the parish.
4. Witness matters because seekers and believers need to hear faith stories to help them encounter Christ in a personal way. Collectively, parishioners have many stories about how their lives have been graced through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we share these stories, we give witness to the power of God’s unconditional love and become “agents of evangelization” to others.
5. Mission matters because Jesus said, “For this purpose I have come.” We are called to continue his work as a community of disciples going out with joy to the peripheries of our parish and our neighborhoods. When we reach out as a parish, people encounter Christ and come to know mercy, healing, and joy. Mission–directed parishes give public witness to gospel values in society.
Focusing on What Matters
These five areas will serve as your guide for fostering a new evangelizing culture in your everyday life. Stay tuned for more, as we will cover each of the five areas with practical tips and reflections in our upcoming articles.
Read more about the "Five Key Areas That Matter" plus get ideas and insights for parish evangelization by downloading our free ebook now.