Living as Missionary Disciples | March 21, 2023

Practical Ways to Make your Parish Better - empty your own trash can!

Ought we not, in the face of so many daunting challenges, adapt a humbler, simpler, and more missional approach to our service in the parish. Pope Francis has already effectively communicated this message in a powerful way. His visible simplicity is changing people’s hearts. We can follow his example in our parishes. Who empties your trash can? When we are willing to humble ourselves in small tasks, we will see that God will exalt our ministry in big ways. (Tools for Rebuilding)

Quote from Living as Missionary Disciples

Conversion is the moment in which a person’s life is reoriented to Christ, when he or she – by grace – enters into a relationship with Christ and thus enters into a relationship with the community of believers, the Church. (pg. 11)

The American Church – A quick review:


  • 1950: Northeast: 46% of Parishes
  • 2017: Northeast: 24% of Parishes

Catholic Marriages in the U.S.

  • 1970: 426,309
  • 2018: 143,082

Infant Baptism in the U.S.

  • 1970: 1,089,000
  • 2018: 615,119

Elements that attract parishioners to a parish:

  • 68% – welcoming spirit
  • 64% – sense of belonging
  • 62% – quality of preaching
  • 60% – quality of liturgy 

For a fuller picture of the U.S. Church click here.

The Diocese of Buffalo – A quick review:

This is taken from a 30-minute video entitled: Trending Data. It was put out by the Road to Renewal.
Diocesan Wide Past Trends

Practicing Households
2012: 130,000 • 2021: 90,000

Contributing Households
2012: 118,000 • 2021: 70,000

Average weekend Mass attendance
2012: 155,000 • 2021: 60,000

2012: 4,000 • 2021: 2,100

Number enrolled in Rel. Education
2012: 32,000 • 2021: 10,000

 This video (Trending Data) could be viewed and discussed in your family of parishes. It will help them to understand the need for Renewal and what the Road to Renewal hopes to accomplish in the diocese through your Family of Parishes. It will lead you through past and future trends.

In this video you will:
  • See the various changes in parish and diocesan life from 2012 – 2021.
  • Look at 2 Families of Parishes (7 and 20) and analyze numbers of parishioners, contribution levels, percentage of young people in relation to the older population, etc.
  • Discuss the importance of passing on the Faith to the younger generation.
  • Understand how the finances of the parish impact the Diocese.
  • Clarify the priestly assignments in the Road to Renewal, comparing the single pastor model and the solidum model.
  • The timeline for the Road to Renewal.
  • Share the spiritual component of the Road to Renewal.
  • And more . . .

Easter Suggestions

Practice radical hospitality: A lot of inactive Catholics come to church on Easter Sunday. Don’t miss this opportunity. Here are 2 suggested handouts as people leave church:

Easter Water

Give out small plastic containers of the Easter water. (You can use old medicine bottles.) On each bottle put: an address label with the message: “May this Easter water remind you of your baptism. Daily bless yourself with this holy water.” (name of parish, website, phone number)

Flower Seeds

Hand out Butterfly seeds. (these could also be used for Mother’s Day) Possible message on seed packet: The seed is the word of God. The soil is you. Receive this seed with a desire to grow in the Lord.

Alpha News

Questions about Alpha?

The national Alpha office will be offering a zoom meeting on Tuesday, March 28 at 11:00 AM and repeated at 7:00 PM. Each session will last around 30 minutes. It will be an overall orientation of Alpha as well as a Q & A session. Registration is needed (Please click on “RSVP REQUESTED” first).

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Life in the Eucharist

Comments from those doing LITE during Lent:

  • “Wow best Lenten program that I can remember in all my years of ministry! The laity have been inspiring indeed and have strengthened my faith and ministry.” – Pastor
  • “I was so amazed at the number of people present when I walked into the Church. I haven’t seen it that full in a long time.” – Parishioner
  • “We had 130 the first week and 140 the second. People were still talking about it days later.” – Pastor

Learn how you can do Life in the Eucharist by attending the training session on Sat. March 25 at Annunciation in Elma. There’s still time to register. Click here to learn more about LITE and you will also find the link to register.

Around the Diocese

  • March 22 – Theology on Tap. 7:00 pm at Hamburg Brewing Company. Topic: Your Conversion is your Faith.
  • April 12 – Inclusive Easter Mass for people with special needs. St. Bernadette Church starting at 7:00 pm

Holy Week Prayer

Lord, Jesus Christ, You became human and took on the realities of humanity in our world. During Your life on earth, You gave hope, perspective and salvation to many. Your words are challenging, uplifting, encouraging and guiding. At the end of your earthly life here in our world, You took upon yourself all suffering and made the cross a sign of hope. At this time when the whole world is suffering, when people are isolated and left to themselves, when people mourn for their loved ones, where people are sacrificing their physical and psychological strength to help others, we pray in solidarity and entrust ourselves to You. Amen.

Adapted from prayers by Sister Ulrike M., SDS – Austria