“The Body of Christ sure has many voices,” commented a visitor to the Church of St. Joseph. Father Kenneth, the pastor of this parish, believes that his is not the only voice that should be heard in the bulletin every Sunday.
If you want to be an effective evangelizer, it is helpful to recognize where you, and those you hope to evangelize, are on the journey of faith. The journey to a mature faith may take years and may not follow a straight line. Typically, it is more like a spiral. We usually revisit the same places, but at a deeper level, drawing closer to Christ. It is also possible to get “stuck” and stay in one place for a time, or to wander off on a tangent and then come back. Keep this in mind as you meditate on your own faith journey.
Pope Francis has proclaimed that “The Paschal Mystery”—Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection—“is the beating heart of the Church’s mission.” This mystery is front and center during the observance of Lent and celebration of the Easter season.
Most of us know people who are distanced from the Catholic Church or are not affiliated with any faith community or denomination. These may be our spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, and friends. According to the Pew Research Center, 23 percent of Americans recently answered “none” when asked what religion they practice. This figure is even higher among people younger than 35 years old.
Long before there was a multitude of businesses that emphasized “customer service” or “customer care,” welcoming strangers was central to our Catholic faith. Today a growing number of parishes are rediscovering hospitality as an essential Christian practice.
Topics: Welcome Matters
Br. Tyrone Davis, CFC, Director of the Office of Black Ministry in the Archdiocese of New York, has a few simple messages about welcoming in a parish environment. Leaders can start by making hospitality important in word and deed, and then asking parishioners to extend a friendly greeting.
It’s difficult to pass by a store during Valentine’s Day season without seeing hearts or red roses in display windows. While its roots are attributed to selfless acts of kindness by St. Valentine in 3rd century Rome, today the holiday has become symbolic of romantic love and a pretext for marketing its trappings.
Celebrating married love with a parish event is a meaningful way to publicly affirm the beauty of this sacrament. It also strengthens couples’ sense of belonging to the parish community.
Being a member of a parish is not the same as belonging to a parish. Being a member is as simple as filling out the registration card. Belonging means being actively involved in the life and spirit of a community.
Topics: Belonging Matters
Welcoming new members and actively engaging current members adds vitality to your parish as the Body of Christ. For parishioners, the experience of belonging to a vibrant parish community offers opportunities to encounter the living Christ and grow in faith. When parish leaders and staff bring this idea to life, they practice everyday evangelization which can lead to greater discipleship among their parishioners.
Topics: Belonging Matters