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Part One: The Good News of Christ

posted Nov 28, 2015, 5:28 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Jan 2, 2016, 1:47 PM ]
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)
Chapter 5 - Being with Christ
How well does our parish reach out to those on the outskirts? Who else needs to be reached and how might we go about that in an inviting way? How do we strengthen ourselves for this mission?
"I am quite proud of how we have handled the situation with the 2-3 homeless people who regularly wander into our church doors.  Most parishioners have come to accept them and are not afraid... The We are in the struggle together campaign last year was an example of how we reach out to the community. We need to put our heads together and hold an event/s which involve more than just our parish... To be a presence in the neighborhood ... To 'get a reputation' for good works outside the walls of the church. Maybe we can put a few bulletins, or flyers advertising our mass schedule, events, committees, etc in Foodtown or the Library or Post Office, Bank, etc. We need to aim for the people we don't normally reach - the people who are NOT all ready in our pews."

Chapter 4 - The Revolution of Freedom
How might we as a parish do more to help people experience the revolution through grace that changes the human heart? How might we foster more closeness with God?
"The first step in helping others to "experience the revolution through grace that changes the human heart" is to first accept it ourselves. We as individuals can start in small ways- a smile, a welcome, a kind work, an invitation. Carry out works of mercy... Sit with the ill, comfort bereaved families, become a Eucharistic minister, become a catechist, volunteer at the food bank. We can be welcoming of strangers or new people to our services. Meet and greet those who are coming for the sacraments of initiation, and invite them to attend mass with us next week, or to come to a parish social event, or join a group or committee. In this way we can become the revolutionaries that the Pope is speaking about... Get the idea out of our heads that someone else in the parish is going to do these things."

Chapter 3 - The Christian Message

"Jesus is not dead, he has risen, he is alive!" What importance might that message have for those people we are called to serve? How often and in what ways do we as a parish communicate this core Christian message?
"We need to take active rolls to show Gods love to our brothers and sisters here in our parish... Help each other even if it is only to smile and greet each other at Mass...inquire when you have not seen a neighbor in a while... See if a fellow parishioner needs something from the store... Little things can mean a lot in showing that the true Christian spirit is alive."

Chapter 2 - The Light of Faith
Pope Francis says that faith is a light coming from the past and also a light coming from the future. List ways that faith is a light coming from our parish's past. Then list possible ways that faith might serve as a light coming from our parish's future, calling us forward.
"The newly revived Youth Group is a beacon of light - their commitment to service and to welcoming new teens among them is a shining example to all of us, and a promise for a strong future. But any group that is welcoming and encourages participation or draws more people to Church moves us forward. As to the light from the past lighting up our future, I couldn't help but think of the memorial trees and angels!"

Chapter 1 - The Embrace of God's Mercy
In what ways are people likely to experience the mercy of God when they come to our parish? What more could we do to be bearers of God's mercy to all we come in contact with at the parish?
"We can be bearers of God's mercy by inviting people who struggle with faith to Mass with us, welcoming someone alone to sit with us... We could all do better. I know people by face, seeing them week after week, but have I really introduced myself? Have I asked them their names, or anything about their background? (even something as simple as, “How long have you lived in the neighborhood?” tells a story.)"
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