Living as Missionary Disciples | March

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Why someone became a Catholic

the Power of the Cross

Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). Born in 1891 in Germany, she grew up in a devout Jewish family. As a teenager, she abandoned her faith and considered herself an atheist. She pursued a career in philosophy, which led to her quest for truth. She was drawn to the mystery of the cross. “It was then that I first encountered the cross and the divine strength which it inspires in those who bear it. My unbelief was shattered, Judaism paled, and Christ streamed out upon me.” She converted to Catholicism in 1922. In 1935 she entered the Carmelite order. On Aug. 9, 1942 she was killed in a Nazi concentration camp. (Taken from A Century of Catholic Converts, Lorene Hanley Duquin)

Quote from Living as Missionary Disciples

Social justice and direct service opportunities can be powerful experiences that lead people to intimacy with Christ.  (pg. 11)

How to cope with change when parishes cluster 

(Our Sunday Visitor – Fr Robert J. Hater)

  • Maintain hope in changing times.
  • Recognize that change is difficult.
  • Realize that changes cannot be solved by reason alone.
  • Recognize that paradigm shifts take time to achieve.
  • Create a trusting climate where parishioners believe that their opinion is important.
  • Acknowledge that what is happening occurs within the framework of God’s designs.
  • Be patient with those who cannot immediately recognize that change is inevitable.
  • Focus pastoral efforts on the domestic church and the call to missionary discipleship.
  • Evangelization, catechesis and work for justice are essential aspects of parish ministry.
  • Prioritize the importance of Mass and the sacraments. 

The number of parishes in the U.S. without a resident priest pastor: 
2020 – 3,544. 

For full article

Leading Renewal in small parishes (taken from Divine Renovation)

Renewal in a small parish is not the same as a big parish. Small staffs, little resources, and smaller congregations can sometimes be discouraging for those who desire to see radical change. The truth is you don’t need to be in a huge, urban parish to make your church a place of life and transformation where people can come to know and love Jesus and encounter him in the sacraments. Four points to consider:

Ask: “Do I really believe God wants to work in my parish and can use my parish to impact the community?”

God can do anything! The belief that God can’t work in your parish reflects less of what you believe about your parish, and more of what you believe about God. If you’re thinking of renewal as a hobby or experiment, you probably won’t see much change. Ask God for a big vision and conviction about what is possible in your parish. Don’t ask “how big is my parish? ” But instead, “what is the direction of my parish?”

Vision: No matter the size of your parish, you must take the time to hash out a vision, which is a picture of a preferred future. Where do you want to lead people? What could be? What are the dreams of your parish and your ministry?

Leaders: Good leaders are necessary to identify and raise up. Begin praying that God shows you the people and who God wants to call.

Key Principals: The 3 main keys to renewal are the same no matter your size, location, or how much money you have: Primacy of Evangelization; Best of Leadership; Power of the Holy Spirit.

Family of Parish Ideas:

  • Each Sunday, at the universal prayers, pray for one of the families in the diocese. Mention the family number and the parishes within that Family. It will be a wonderful sign of unity among the diocese. 
  • Easter is coming – other than Christmas, Easter has many guests in your parishes. Prepare your congregations now to welcome all in a radical way. For the importance of this read: For heaven’s sake, say hi to new parishioners.
  • Pray this petition every week: For those who are struggling to believe in God, for those who have felt disappointed by or excluded from the Catholic Church, for those seeking God with sincere hearts, and for those looking to deepen their relationship with Jesus, that all may find a welcome home here at [church name], let us pray to the Lord.

Lenten Message from Pope Francis

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
Fast from worries and have trust in God.
Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.