Roman Catholic 
Diocese of Ogdensburg

Evangelization

The Office of New Evangelization exists
To support parishes in forming
Joy-Filled, Intentional,
Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ
So that On Fire with the Holy Spirit
They will be witnesses that
transform the culture around them.

WORD FOR THE WEEK: MARCH 1

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MARCH 1   FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT  

Readings: Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7/Rom 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19/Mt 4:1-11V

Isn't it amazing that Adam, living in the abundance of the Garden of Eden, was tempted by the serpent to eat of the one tree of which God told him not to eat? Contrast this with our Gospel today, where Jesus is tempted by the devil in the desert, a place of desolation, to provide for himself food, safety and power, yet resists the temptation. Jesus, the new Adam, reverses the original sin of the old Adam. We, amid our abundance, are also often tempted. We think, if only I had more than enough, I wouldn't be tempted. Yet it is in denying ourselves that we receive the grace to fight temptation. It is when we go into the desert that we come out stronger. This is the discipline of lent. Pray: keep your eyes on Jesus. Fast: deny yourself some of the abundant goods. Give alms: give away what you give up.

Lenten Resource: The Ascension Press Lenten Companions - Ash Wednesday Video

Ascension Press has created a wonderful resource called The Ascension Lenten Companion.  It is a book and video series for Lent to guide you to "rediscover a lived personal relationship with God." The book is no longer available in bulk, although individual copies are still available from the Ascension Press Website at the time of this writing.

The book is accompanied by weekly videos that can stand on their own as well.  We will post them here each week and share them on our diocesan Facebook Page

The Video for Ash Wednesday:

May you have a fruitful Lenten Season.

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WORD FOR THE WEEK: FEBRUARY 23

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FEBRUARY 23   SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME  

Readings: Lv 19:1-2, 17-18/1 Cor 3:16-23/Mt 5:38-48

Love your enemies. Today's gospel calls us to go beyond the minimum requirements of the Ten Commandments and go the extra mile.  We are called to be generous with our possessions, our forgiveness and our love.  We are called to love others as God has loved us.  In today's society, the norm is to see what's in it for me.  We are called to go beyond the minimum and love unconditionally as Christ has loved us.   This is not easy, but we belong to Christ and with God all things are possible.

Resource of the Week: Made for Mission

200221 made for misison

 

Perhaps you have read books like Forming Intentional Disciples, Divine Renovation, Unlocking your Parish, Developing Disciples of Christ, and you are wondering, "do we really need another book about mission, renewing parish culture, and making disciples?"

After reading Made for Mission: Renewing Your Parish Culture by Tim Glemkowski, I would say: YES. There is no silver bullet to renewing our parishes and making disciples and sometimes we need to hear slightly different versions of how to form disciples, create leadership teams, and move our parishes from "the way we have always done things" to becoming vibrant centers that can transform our own people and the culture around us for follow Christ. 

Each of these books about the discipleship, mission, renewing parishes, parish leadership has pieces of the puzzle. Some things will work in your parish and your parish culture and some wont. Some parishes are able to fully go into Divine Renovation mode, and for some it just won't fit the culture.

What I loved about Made for Mission is that after going through a basic review of the problem with some all-to-familiar statistics, the crucial role of the parish in that we have the parishes, the church planting is done! So let's use them, and the fact that we are in a post-Christian society, Tim Glemkoski gives us four simple keys or drivers for parish renewal. 

These are:

1) a clear vision.

2) a clear path to discipleship.

3) well formed leaders.

And

4) nothing in maintenance mode - everything is aligned to the mission.

But before we can implement these keys, we need to see where we are as a parish. Is our parish dying, is it declining, is it swelling because of mergers or other situations or is it thriving.  We need to know where are are before we can map out a path to where we want to be.

With some exceptions, we are failing to form disciples who can form other disciples. In our current secular culture, the only way to survive is to be on mission and go and make disciples who can change and convert hearts, starting with those in our pews and then moving outward.

The book walks us through each of the four keys: how to cast the vision and communicate it so that everyone is on the same page. How to create a clear path to discipleship so anyone will know how to move from pre-evangelization, through evangelization, to discipleship and then to apostolate: to become disciples who can be sent to make more disciples.   How to form and mobilize leaders and to align everything to the mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ.

I would highly recommend that pastors read this book with their leadership team (and if they do not have a leadership team, to read the book and build one.) Clergy cannot do everything by themselves, but the pastor of a parish is vitally important. The vision must be driven by the pastor and his leadership team. People look to the pastor for leadership and the pastor is crucial in the process. As Tim Glemkoski explained it, and as I have experienced it in various efforts in my years in ministry, if the vision is not driven by the pastor, it will be seen as a fringe effort and it will eventually fall apart.

Read the book, cast the vision, create a strategy and implement tactics to renew the parish culture. It will take time - think years, not weeks. This book is a great resource. It is not a silver bullet, but it does contain gems of ideas that may inspire and light the way to create parishes that are made for mission. 

 

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WORD FOR THE WEEK: FEBRUARY 16

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FEBRUARY 16   SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME  

Readings: Sir 15:15-20/1 Cor 2:6-10/Mt 5:17-37 or 5:20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a, 37

Today's gospel speaks about not just external observance of the law, but also about conforming our interior lives to God's will.  It is easy to put on a good show so that from the outside we look like good Christians.  Faith should not be reduced to just an empty routine.  Can we truly worship God and be in communion with him when we look down on those He loves as not good enough or not worthy?  We are called to conform our heart and will to his and to love all whom he loves… Is there someone with whom you need to reconcile?