Saturday, May 5, 2012

Summit up

This morning our Archdiocese holds a Summit on Evangelization. It's mentioned in our Archbishop's column on that topic in the latest issue of our Archdiocesan weekly. He says,
"We will discuss the meaning of new evangelization and the obligation we have as Catholics from our reception of baptism to proclaim the Lord to our brothers and sisters. In sharing sessions we will examine some of the practices and initiatives already in use by our parish staffs."
The event description at our Archdiocese's websites says,
"This day is intended for:
  • All priests and parish directors
  • One representative from each parish in the Archdiocese
  • Parishes with a significant cultural group may also send an additional representative from that group"
  • Regarding the latter two categories, the Role Description for Parish Representative for Evangelization says,
    "The parish representative is envisioned to serve from May of 2012 until the Fall of 2013 when training sessions will be offered for parishioners who will be directly involved in the evangelization activity."
    Among the representatives' responsibilities is,
    "Assist with the transition of parish evangelization activity to the appropriate committee(s) of the parish council."
    That choice of committiee is among the goals, characterized as "Outcomes", on the Schedule:
  • To inform, define and inspire about evangelization
  • To initiate or increase evangelization activity in every parish
  • To insure that every parish has a committee designated to coordinate evangelization efforts, preferably Formation or Religious Education
  • To insure that every parish has an RCIA process or collaborates with other parishes
  • To insure that every parish conducts an evangelization activity during the Year of Faith – September, 2012 through November, 2013
  • I note that all these "outcomes" are actually inputs. All could literally be checked off next November even if not one inactive Catholic was affected by the effort.

    The Schedule includes the usual presentations, small group discussion (30 minutes), and large group "sharing" (15 minutes). Usual in, usual out, is my expectation.


    1. Anonymous3:51 PM

      Not mentioned in the article is that the Archbishop has appointed (I.e., hired) Rich Harter to fill the newly created Archdiocesan position of “Director of the Office of Evangelization.” Harters's experience consists of having served for the last seven years at St. Dominic parish as "Pastoral Associate for Administrative Services and Adult/Family Ministry."
      The Archdiocese, despite significant financial issues, appears to be doing its part to keep the nation's unemployment numbers down, whether such jobs are necessary or not.

    2. The absence of actual goals makes the whole effort seem directionless, however much needed in principle and well-intentioned. Perhap it will be the new Director's job to set those specific goals.

    3. Anonymous5:48 PM

      Time will tell. Given the archdiocese's track record with other initiatives, I'm not hopeful.

    4. Evidently there is a need to kill a lot of trees and make paper piles.

      Evangelization has changed, eh?

    5. Anonymous11:06 PM

      I'd start with a simple suggestion:
      Start—right in the parishes where people are still showing up for things, and in the schools—by teaching solid Catholic doctrine coupled with Catholic history. Reverence up the Mass; encourage frequent use of the confessional. And do it all with joy and fervor. Catholics can't give what they've been deprived of for the last 40+ years. Expecting them to go out and evangelize when they themselves haven't been evangelized is a project dead in the birthing. Our priests and lay religious educators have to, finally, step up to the plate and serve up some meat and potatoes instead of the thin gruel they've been dishing out for the past couple generations.