The Evangelizing Parish

In a recent presentation at the National Federation of Priest's Councils in San Antonio Jesuit Fr.Allan F. Deck said that evangelization includes at least four fundamental components:

1. an encounter with the living God (ongoing conversion)
2. the inculturation of the gospel message
3. transformative action on behalf of justice and peace
4. ecumenism and interreligious dialogue

He said that the "key to a successful parish is precisely what it always was: creating the conditions whereby many diverse groups experience a sense of real belonging."

Signs for Global Evangelization

We are now more aware of other countries and their peoples through new technology. We are experiencing a convergence that calls for a new cultural ethic. This ethic alerts us to the fact that wealthy counties may carry out a "cultural invasion" particularly with the media. Avoiding a spiritual and cultural colonialism means that we recognize others as brothers and sisters. Accepting the richness of individual cultures can give a soul to our 21st century. This also means making a dilberate choice for the poor and neglected as an essential expression of evangelization. There is a social relevance to our faith. The theology of redemption is correlated to the liberation of the human person. If the Absolute is missing, basic human rights begin to crumble. Another sign for global evangelization is that the role of every Christian is essential for human promotion, a more just society, and as witnesses to living Christ today.

Five Steps for Evangelizing Culture

1. Begin with a life of prayer - a rhytmn that is open to transendence through meditation, contemplation, private prayer, liturgical prayer and especially the Liturgy.
2. Where are conversations taking place today? Culture is created as a network and the gospel is the message for that network. Where is the new Areopagus? Be there.
3. Read - the great encyclicals, Catholic classics, Catholic fiction, watch movies - follow the blogs:  see listing of media blogs and media sites
4. Build relationships in the family, in the neighborhood, in the community, in the parish. In other words practice and live communio - communion of life in the Body of Christ.
5. Mission. What are our culture's values? Life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. How do we re-express these values with the gospel?

Thanks to Cardinal's George's article on Evangelizing our culture for giving cues for these five points.

New Blog Reflects on Daily Spiritual Life

Check out this new site by Sr Sharon Anne. You will be glad you did!

Unfurling our Sails for the Spirit

“For us, freedom is pulling the cords that unfurl the sails. But this is not enough to make the boat go forward. The wind has to blow. However, if the wind blows and the sails are still furled, the boat cannot go, either. This is where the complicity of our liberty and the infinite liberty of God comes into play.” Abbe’ Pierre, Testament Piemme Editions, 1994.

St Nathanael, Evangelization and Communication

Feast of St Bartholomew (Nathaniel or in Hebrew Nathanael)

The Gospel of John 1:45-49 is a compass for our refection: “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth,’ ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael; asked him, ‘Where did you get to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Nathanael changes from an almost sarcastic distrust to the admiration of unexpected faith. This change takes place when Jesus surprises him by revealing that he know him in depth: "…I saw you under the fig tree."

The meeting between Jesus and Nathanael is a reflection on the meeting between evangelization and communication. The fruitful meeting between evangelization and the press and later between evangelization and the mass media and between evangelization and the culture of communication, forms part of the “DNA” of the Pauline charism. The two elements are inseparably united and thus we cannot concentrate on just one of them and live just one of them. Without communication, evangelization is lived in a space and time determined solely by our interpersonal and communitarian relationships. Without evangelization, communication transforms the Pauline charism into a publishing business.
In Christ, the mystery of the human word and of the Word of God meet and become a mutual law: God hands himself over to human words, allowing himself to be wounded and compromised in and through them. And human beings find in the eternal, inexhaustible and fecund Word of God the “grammar” needed to express themselves. Basically, this is what salvation is: an act of communication in which God and human beings draw near to one another to the point that they are bound by a mutual presence in which the life of each becomes that of the other. This is not a forced bond but one that liberates and that communicates dignity, freedom, hope and vigor.
Silvio Sassi, SSP

Evangelization is God coming close

"If our relationship with God is not living, if it is not lived, then none of our other relationships can take their correct form. And this also holds true for society, for humankind. Here too, if we do without God, if God is absent, we lack the compass ... to show us the path, the direction we must follow.  Let us bring the truth of God back into the world, make Him known. Evangelization consists precisely in the distant God becoming close, in God no longer being far off but near, in this 'known-unknown' finally making Himself known and revealing His face. ... He shows us His face, He enters our world. There is no longer any need to use other powers because He is the true power, the Almighty". Pope Benedict XVI

The Word of God is Living and Active

Video ads to printed page
By Kenneth Li in New York

When some readers of Entertainment Weekly open their magazines next month, they will discover characters from US television programmes speaking to them from a wafer-thin video screen built into the page. The marketing experiment – which is being conducted by CBS, the US broadcaster, and Pepsi, the soft drinks maker – recalls the fantasy newspapers of the Harry Potter films and works much like a singing greetings card, with the video starting once a reader turns the appropriate page.
Where does the printed page already speak to us, complete with visual? God's Word is constantly speaking to us in human events - all creation speaks of God's presence. Blessed James Alberione, founder of the Pauline family,  invites us to pray the news - to let the words on a page leap to life, to remember that televison broadcast is just a screen...for Paulines all comes to life in prayer and gives life through the gospel - apostolate. Of St Paul Alberione wrote: "His writings are eduring monuments, beams of light that are inextinquisable."

Storytelling and the Internet

A Guide to Digital Ministry By Colleen Boland

As part of its Catholic Speakers Online series, The Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association (PNCEA) hosted a webinar on July 22, 2009, entitled “Story Telling Over the Internet: Proclaiming the Good News.” The presenter, Sr. Caroline Cerveny, explained how catechetical ministry can be enhanced through the use of technology. Caroline Cerveny, SSJ, DMin, is the President of Interactive Connections, as well as a writer, consultant and presenter on educational technology.

Sr. Cerveny began by giving a history of storytelling, putting it in the context of both religious and cultural traditions, describing the evolution from oral storytelling to cinematic and professional storytelling. She explained that in today’s digital world, ordinary people can assume the role of storytellers again, as they once did in the past. Sr. Cerveny explained that storytelling is natural for humans, and stories touch us, helping us to live in community. For this reason, it is important to our religious and faith traditions. In Scriptures we tell the greatest story of all, carrying on our tradition and fostering the community of believers.

Sr. Cerveny repeatedly emphasized that stories tell us something. She added that storytelling is an art, and we are natural artists whether we recognize it or not. She discussed how stories are both personal and universal, and that people can realize their own inner creativity and ability to reach their listeners. This resource is especially helpful for sharing among parishioners and for sharing with the parish community as well as the larger community beyond the parish.

To view the presentation and download the handouts with links to many resources, go to and register.

Media Platform Agnosticism

Platform Agnostic
A conversation with Phil Vischer creator of Veggie Tales
Interview by Todd Hertz | posted 8/17/2009
Christianity Today

As Christians, we need to be platform agnostic: "No, I am not in the tv business or the internet business. I am in the content business." We need to get our content out in as many ways as possible: iTunes, Hulu, YouTube, Comcast Video on Demand, etc. There are so many ways to transmit storytelling and teaching into a household, you can't say there is one way. They are all how we can reach people. It's an interesting and quite tumultuous time in media."