I recently finished this small book produced by the USCCB back in November of 2017 regarding Missionary Disciples and Evangelization. One of the parishes I’m coaching this year has been using it as a guideline for their ministry and the creation of their Vision Plan.
The main goal of the document is to get parishes thinking about evangelization. As you know, I’m a big proponent of helping parishes focus on evangelization. Evangelization being the simple act of “Sharing the Good News.” It is very high on the priority list for us if we are to live out our Baptismal Call.
This short book walks through most of the highlights of papal documents, homilies, and synods on evangelization placing them into a concise book that I will refer to over and over again. I’d like to share some of my favorite quotes to inspire you to begin reading!
“A new chapter of evangelization full of fervor, joy, generosity, courage, boundless love and attraction.”Evangelii Gaudium, no 261 (Living as Missionary Disciples, 7)
The work of the New Evangelization is done primarily through the witness of faith by the baptized in their everyday lives.Living as Missionary Disciples, 8
An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast.Evangelii Gaudium, no 24 (Living as Missionary Disciples, 9)
The Church is a family of families. […] Parishes should look for opportunities to help married couples and families deepen their faith and make their families true “domestic Churches,” places of prayer, love, and forgiveness.Living as Missionary Disciples, 13
How often do we reach out to our missing brothers and sisters by inviting them to join us at Mass or by asking why they no longer feel welcomed at the Lord’s Table?
We are called to love and accept all people in a way that invites each person to a deeper relationship with Christ and a greater alignment of their lives with his teachings. However, we are not called to make judgments about others. Pope Francis warns that we cannot truly know a “person’s situation before God … from without.”
Often it is better to simply slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from one thing to another and to remain with someone who has faltered along the way.
Sometimes, we may need to accompany those in difficult situations to help them take gradual steps toward restored sacramental communion.Living as Missionary Disciples, 14-15
There is much more, but I will leave us with those thoughts today. Later this month I’ll pull out some of the most important items related to creating a Planning Leadership Team to help foster a culture of Missionary Discipleship in your parish.
For all of our parishes who work on creating a Parish Vision Plan, the team is most important to the planning process. A group of people who can think outside of the current parish offerings to see where we might grow to foster evangelization and discipleship!