DIOCESAN PASTORAL COUNCIL
PARISH RENEWAL AND EVANGELIZATION (PRAE) SUBCOMMITTEE
WELCOME TO OUR WEBSITE! WE HOPE YOU FIND THE INFORMATION USEFUL TO YOUR EVANGELIZATION EFFORTS. PLEASE CONTACT ANY ONE OF US WITH QUESTIONS/COMMENTS.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.” (Matt 28: 19-20)
Embarking On the Year of Faith
The Parish Evangelization and Renewal Ministry Team is a subcommittee of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. The subcommittee was formed as a result of ongoing discussions which consistently arose at Diocesan Pastoral Council meetings on matters concerning the need for evangelization including inviting former/inactive Catholics who have left our church back. With the approval and support of Bishop Robert J. McManus, this subcommittee formed in order to be proactive in promoting the New Evangelization in the Diocese of Worcester and began meeting monthly in May, 2009.
A PRAYER FOR EVANGELIZATION
Almighty God, wellspring of all goodness and truth, enkindle Your Holy Spirit within and among us, to boldly yet tenderly proclaim Your Son, Jesus Christ, in our every word and deed. Grace us, such that love of Your people consumes us and enables us to go and make disciples in every parish, home, and person, in the Diocese of Worcester, and beyond. And this we both ask and claim in Jesus' name. Amen. (Prayer composed by John Zawacki, M.D.)
Understanding that God is the source of our being, we, the Parish Evangelization and Renewal Ministry Team, seek to answer the baptismal call to reach out to God’s people by spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ through living our faith. Our mission is as follows. We will encourage others in ways to personally and communally encounter Jesus Christ, and to share these stories as a witness to Jesus and our faith. We will support and resource Catholic faith communities as they envision, develop and implement a pastoral plan for the “New Evangelization” and parish renewal. We will convey our enthusiasm for living our faith with the hope that it will attract others to Jesus Christ and our faith. We will invite others to experience a relationship with Christ. We will provide training materials, programs, guidance, and support to parishes who seek to allow the Holy Spirit to become more alive within and beyond their communities.
PRAE MEMBERS PERSONAL STATEMENTS FOR JOINING PRAE
I have always loved sharing my faith with others. Being part of the Parish Renewal and Evangelization (PRAE) committee I feel that l am part of something much bigger than me. Something that with the grace of God can be a catalyst that can touch and set hearts on fire for the Good News of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. ~ Tony Merenda
Over the last two or three decades I have seen the Mass attendance and involvement at my local parish drop precipitously. As a teacher I have seen students brought up Catholic gradually drift away from the Church. I have seen the Parishioners that are left lose any sense of the unity of the Catholic Church. My hope is that PRAE can begin a reversal of these trends. ~ William Hobey
GIVING THE GIFT Of all the gifts God has given me, my Faith is the most precious. The gift of Faith calls us to be instruments in giving this Faith to others. My involvement in PRAE gives me an effective vehicle to show and share my gift of Faith and to assist others in doing so. PRAE helps me answer Jesus’ call to me and to all who are baptized to,” Make disciples of all nations…” ~ Dwain Robbins
While a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, time was given to identifying the important issues of parishioners within the Diocese. One of the major issues was people's concerns over the closing of parishes. On visiting some parishes discerning their future and assessing the vitality of their faith community, parishioners asked, how their parish might become more alive. I joined PRAE to help parishes both ask and then implement their answer to this question. ~ John Zawacki
Our world, both local and global, suffers. It is in tending to each other that we fulfill Christ’s vision of the Kingdom of God here on earth. Our great message to the world is that His vision is within our grasp. What better way do we have to spend our time than to speak to this vision, and help to make it a reality? ~ Charley O’Neill
I have been blessed to have been a member of two very vital parishes over the last several years of my life. When the opportunity came along to be a part of the PRAE group I jumped on board because I hoped this would be a chance to continue self evangelization, which it has been, and now through this group I will hopefully be able to reach out to others with the good news of sharing our time and talent which will in turn increase our treasure. ~ Carolyn Black
After joining PRAE I became even more inspired working with a group of dedicated people who share a vision of hope for the Church of the 21st Century. Baptism forms our core identity as sons or daughters of Christ and calls us to live each day proclaiming the inherent worth and dignity this brings to everyone. Evangelization involves conveying this reality to others through word, worship, service and witness. We evangelize not only for the sake of every individual but also for the building up of the entire Body of Christ. ~ LaVerne Bertin
I joined PRAE to be part of a group of committed disciples of Jesus Christ who seek to encourage/help people share their faith stories, to develop/deepen their relationship with God, to help bring renewal to our parishes, and to re-member our parishes – that is, to invite and welcome back former/inactive/hurting Catholics to our Church. There are many reasons why people have left our Church. We cannot erase the clergy sexual abuse scandal. We need healing. We cannot erase the hurt caused by insensitive comments/actions by ordained, religious, or lay leaders’ years ago. We need forgiveness. Despite these circumstances as well as differences in opinion on Church teaching that keep some away, our faith in Jesus Christ goes beyond all of these issues and compels us to active participation in the Church of our baptism. As Church – the people of God - we are called to carry on the story of Jesus Christ, his life, teachings, death and resurrection both individually and as a faith community, and to be nourished by the Eucharist. PRAE is committed to carrying on the story of Jesus Christ and building the city of God here on earth together. ~ Lori Pandiscio
Recognizing our limitations as a part time volunteer group, to the best of our ability:
· We will pray for the people and parishes in our diocese, for the effectiveness of evangelization and parish renewal, and for success in fulfilling our mission.
· We will study and make available pertinent documents and materials on evangelization.
· We will encourage others in ways to personally and communally encounter Jesus Christ, and to share these stories as a witness to Jesus and our faith.
· We will proactively reach out to parishes/clusters and offer our support and consultation.
· We will provide training materials, programs, guidance, and support to parishes who seek to allow the Holy Spirit to become more alive within and beyond their communities.
· We will offer catechesis to clarify misperceptions/misunderstandings of evangelization.
· We will offer training and materials to empower Catholics to be one-on-one evangelizers.
· We will support and resource Catholic faith communities as they envision, develop and implement a pastoral plan for the “New Evangelization” and parish renewal.
· We will meet with parish staff and committees to assist in developing a custom program of revitalization by conducting study groups to identify areas needing improvement, and suggesting means in which improvement can be accomplished.
· We will meet with interested pastors and parishioners to assist them in discerning the spiritual needs of their parish, and we will help to provide the prayer, programs, processes, and personnel required to meet these needs.
· We will disseminate parish “success stories” and highlight best practices in evangelization and parish renewal.
· We will collaborate with other diocesan departments and agencies to encourage evangelization through all that we do on the diocesan and parish levels.
· As a long term goal, we will endeavor to sponsor a Diocesan Day on Evangelization and Parish Renewal.
Invitation to All Evangelization Committees:
If you are on an Evangelization committee, and want to share your information with us, please contact Dwain Robbins via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in becoming an active member? We would love to have you join!! Please contact Dwain Robbins @ email@example.com.
PARISH RENEWAL WEEKEND – please contact Charley O’Neil or John Zawacki for more information.
Notable quotes on Evangelization
The First Form of Evangelization Is Witness: …The evangelical witness which the world finds most appealing is that of concern for people, and of charity toward the poor, the weak and those who suffer. The complete generosity underlying this attitude and these actions stands in marked contrast to human selfishness. It raises precise questions which lead to God and to the Gospel. A commitment to peace, justice, human rights and human promotion is also a witness to the Gospel when it is a sign of concern for persons and is directed toward integral human development.” Redemptoris Missio 42
John Paul II, "The Mission of Christ the Redeemer, Redemtoris Missio
"The moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelism [a reevangelization of Christian communities that have lost their original vigor] and to the mission ad gentes (the Church’s mission "to the nations," regions not yet touched by Christianity)."
"The new evangelism is not a matter of merely passing on doctrine, but rather of a personal and profound meeting with the Savior."
“The Kingdom of God is not a concept, a doctrine, or program subject to free interpretation, but is before all else a person with the face of Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God. If the Kingdom is separated from Jesus, it is no longer the kingdom of God which he revealed…"
Evangelli Nuntiandi – On Evangelization in the Modern World - Pope Paul VI
“ ‘We wish to confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church.’ It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection.” Evangelli Nuntiandi 14
"The finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if not explained...and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus." Evangelli Nuntiandi – On Evangelization in the Modern World - Pope Paul VI
REDEMPTORIS MISSIO - On the permanent validity of the Church's missionary mandate – Pope John Paul II
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger on The New Evangelization
APOSTOLIC LETTER IN THE FORM OF MOTU PROPRIO,UBICUMQUE ET SEMPER, OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF BENEDICT XVI ESTABLISHING THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR PROMOTING THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
United States Catholic Conference of Bishops Committee on Evangelization
“Go and Make Disciples”