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.

Resource for the Week: UTG

190830 unleash the gospel

 

Today's resource is a website from the Archdiocese of Detroit.  Archbishop Vigneron has called for a new Pentecost and Unleashing of the Gospel in his Archdiocese in a pastoral letter released on Vigil of Pentecost 2017.  The website Unleash the Gospel is a repository for ideas, articles, resources to implement the plan in the Archdiocese of Detroit, but many of these ideas are useful anywhere in the Church. 

For example some recent articles give ideas for sharing the Gospel with strangers or making the home a haven for faith by incorporating some simple faith practices.  The website includes a digital magazine filled with articles, there is a podcast called the Open Door Policy which shares discipleship stories and discussions with people from the Archdiocese of Detroit who are living as missionary disciples.

Check out the website by clicking on the image above.

Resource of the Week: LEAD

 

190816 LEADThis week's highlighted resource is a workshop series offered by the Diocesen Department of Faith Formation called LEAD.  LEAD stands for Leadership for Evangelization and Discipleship.

Each year the program offers three diocesan-wide events  and several regional workshops geared to train and support parish ministers in their various apostolates to accomplish the diocesan priorities and goals.  The LEAD events help parish ministers to develop their personal and professional skills as well as offer opportunities for prayer and networking with fellow ministers from across the diocese.  There is a great opportunity to learn from each other and for collaboration. 

 Parishes can sign up for LEAD  for an annual fee of $100 for which they can send one person from their designated leadership team, the most of the LEAD events are open to anyone working/volunteering in parish ministry for a nominal fee.

This year's (2019-2020) events include workshops built around the theme of "Holiness is possible by collaborating with God to create one holy moment at a time."  The first of the three diocesan workshops is this weekend, but the other two events are:

March 9-10: The Catechumen's Journey: The Initiation Process  in Lake Plaza

June 17-18: Recognizing the Challenge: Accepting the Mandate to Create Vibrant Parishes in Alex Bay. 

In addition there will be three Easter Regional Events and three Western Regional Events.

 

For Details, see this brochure, check eNotes the month before events, or contact your regional Catechetical Office.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Catholic Hipster Handbook

180103 catholic hipster

Catholic Hipster Handbook: Rediscovering Cool Saints, Forgotten Prayers and Other Weird but Sacred Stuff

If you are looking for a fun read that still manages to remind you of what makes being Catholic cool yet countercultural, this is the book for you!  And you do not need to be a hipster to enjoy it. 

I found this gem of a book, co-written by about 15 bloggers and authors, to be a wonderful collection of Catholic devotions and practices, with each chapter liberally supported by a classic prayer, a short biography of a saint related to the topic at hand and an activity that will help you put your faith in action.

Each section starts with the word “rediscover” … Rediscover the Attitude, Rediscover the Stuff, Rediscover the Life, and Rediscover the Attraction.  The book reminds us of the who we are in God’s eyes – that we are children of God and that we loved. It reminds us about the catholic practices that may have been left by the wayside but are being rediscovered by a new generation: from novenas, to chaplets to relics and brewing beer, growing beards and wearing sandals … all the while not being afraid of having a good sense of humor and a good dose of laughter with friends.

If you think our faith is boring, or irrelevant or just passé, check out this fun book, and rediscover (or discover for the first time) what continues to draw young people to this beautiful and ancient faith.   

The Catholic Hipster Handbook (225 pages)  is published by Ave Maria Press and edited by Tommy Tighe (www.catholichipster.com).

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Understanding Autism, Creating Welcoming Faith Communities

This week’s resource is a YouTube video of a presentation that was sponsored by the Diocese of Ogdensburg Vocations Society.  They invited Darcy Fargo to speak at their annual luncheon on a topic that is obviously near and dear to Darcy’s heart: how to create welcoming faith communities for those who are on the Autism spectrum.

I know that for myself I know several parents who have stopped going to church because of the community’s unkind response to their child’s behavior.  That response is often simply because the community judges that behavior as either bad parenting rather than the child responding to stimulation, sounds, smells and sights that are overwhelming their senses.

A parish can help create a welcoming community by letting the parents know that you love seeing them as church and asking the family how they can be of assistance.  Another simple welcoming sign would be to have some sensory tools available, such as quiet fidget toys, noise reducing headphones or even a small quiet space where they can take the child if the sensory overload becomes too much. 

Every parish has individual who are differently-abled, but all want to be included and loved.  There are lots of little things we can do with great love to help others connect and encounter Christ in our parishes, in our sacraments, in our people.  Start by being kind.

 

If, after watching the video, you would like more information, Darcy Fargo would be glad to be a resource for any parish or parishioner.  She can be reached at the chancery be emailing dfargo@rcdony.org or calling 315-393-2920.  

 

 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Alpha

190712 ALPHA

This week's resource for parish evangelization that I would like to recommend it ALPHA.  In addition, I would recommend a small book in the Divine Renovation Series called Unlocking Your Parish: Making Disciples and Raising Up Leaders with Alpha.

I most recently went through the Alpha Program again at St. Peter's Parish in Massena.  If you are considering running an Alpha Program at your parish I would highly recommend participating in an Alpha first.  You will have a much better sense of how the process works and how it can be addapted to your own parish.

The beauty of Alpha is that you can invite anyone to the process.  It is a basic introduction to Jesus, prayer, faith and the meaning of life.  It consists of a meal, a talk (the new and improved videos are wonderful) and then small group discussions where participants share their thoughts, experiences and ideas about the topic presented.

Objections I hear a lot about the Alpha process are:

It is not Catholic: True, Alpha was started by an Anglican, but it is not Not Catholic … it is the basic kerygma, that initial introduction of who Jesus is, why he matters, what has done for us.  It is thoroughly Christian and can help people enter into the relationship with Jesus, and his Church.  Because it is so basic, it allows our Catholic faithful, who may have connected with church and Sacrament, but never realized that they can have a personal relationship with Jesus today to encounter Jesus in a non-threatening way.  Similarly, those of other Christian backgrounds, or no religious background at all, can also connect with the process and come to discover for themselves the love Jesus has for them.

It is too simple, it couldn't possibly do anything: ALPHA is not a silver bullet.  It is not catechesis, or RCIA.  But it is a process that allows us, by design, to go OUT of our churches and to focus on spreading the gospel.  It will not convert everyone, and it isn't FOR everyone.  But it does create a shallow end of the pool, where people can dip their toes into this thing we call Church, and where those who may have drifted away from Church can find a way back.

 

190712 unlockingyourparish

The little book Unlocking Your Parish: Making Disciples and Raising Up Leaders with Alpha shares how Alpha is run at St. Benedict Parish in Halifax and gives some pointers, do's, and don'ts based on what they learned and experienced.

If your parish is interested in running Alpha, I would highly recommend sending a small group to go through Alpha as participants (St. Peter's Parish in Massena is starting another Alpha on October 1), browse through the material on the Alpha website (alphausa.org) and have potential team members read and discuss the Unlocking your Parish book.

Additionally, you may want to read this recent article in the North Country Catholic (Feb 27,2019) about Alpha and the experiencese of some of the participants.