Proclaim ’17: Building Missionary Parishes

On Saturday 21st October, parishioners gathered from all across the dicoese in St David’s Sixth Form College for our Evangelisation Conference designed to kick start evangelisation in our parishes by giving everyone practical steps forward for the work of the Church.

The conference was truly transformative with delegates coming away with practical tips, ideas and initiatives to begin evangelistic work in their parishes. Do you want to get involved too? Get in touch with Madeline using the details at the bottom.

Not only did we learn how to evangelise, but we actually evangelised in the midst of Storm Brian! In the afternoon, our Evangelisation Officer Madeline, took a group down to Wellfield and Albany road and passed out scripture verses, praying that the Holy Spirit would ensure the ‘right’ verse would go to the ‘right’ person.

One lady, after being handed the verse, said that she would put it on her fridge – pride of place for the words of our Lord! Another gentleman said ‘this is perfect, you have no idea how perfectly this fits with my life today, thank you so much’. There are people that have never heard God’s word! People have never experienced His love and mercy and this conference was an opportunity for us to learn how best to proclaim our faith.

As Catholics, we are all called to be missionary disciples; we are all called, inherent of our baptism, to ‘make disciples of all nations’. Archbishop Bernard Longley spoke of this, of the New Evangelisation and of how we can live this out in our daily lives. Archbishop Longley sits on the Pontifical Council for the Promoting of the New Evangelisation in Rome and therefore brought with him a wealth of initiatives and ideas that are being utilised across the globe to spread the Good News.

Julia Palmer, Diocesan Adviser on Parish Catechesis and Adult Formation in Nottingham, gave a seminar and workshop on non-church going Catholics, and how we can better engage with those no longer attending mass regularly; with only 1 in 5 Catholics in England and Wales attending mass it is a question that many parishes are asking! Julia spoke of the ‘Crossing the Threshold’ initiative that was piloted in Nottingham diocese and how it can be utilised here in our parishes.

Fr Jonathan Cotton explored deepening the faith of churchgoing Catholics and focussed on key themes in his book ‘Evangelising the Baptised’. It is estimated that only 5% of mass going Catholics are intentional disciples of Jesus – are you one of them? Have you made a conscious commitment to follow Jesus? It is important to ensure that our parishes are not only helping those who are not coming to mass to meet Christ but also that we form parishioners and journey with them as we grow into a deeper relationship with Our Lord.

For those that do not have an evangelisation team, Fr Gareth Leyshon, Director of Evangelisation for the diocese, led a seminar that drew on research from Sherry Weddell’s book ‘Forming Intentional Disciples’ showing how we can nudge people to take one step closer to the Catholic faith. It was followed by a workshop by Deacon Rob Coyne and his wife Sue on testimonies and how we can share our faith story with those around us – crucial in not only witnessing, but proclaiming, our faith.

Br Loarne focussed on starting an evangelisation group in a parish and how to move the parish from being focussed on maintenance to being a missionary parish. Penny Cavill spoke about Alpha and how it can be a great tool to draw in the ‘unchurched’ – those who have never heard of Christ before.

Were you unable to make the conference? Resources from the day have been made available online at www.rcadc.org/evangelisation/resources.

You may also like to come along to our monthly Keep FIT sessions which give training on evangelisation. Next session we will be focussing on the transcendentals: Truth, Beauty and Goodness and how we can harness them in our evangelistic efforts. It will take place at the Pastoral Resources Centre behind St Illtyd’s High School on Newport Road at 7:30pm-9pm on Monday 13th November (every second Monday of the month).

A disciple’s prayer:

“Jesus, I want to be your disciple, no matter what the cost. I believe this is your call for my life, and I say yes to this call. Your grace is sufficient for me to be faithful to this call. Father, your love is more than enough to sustain me. Thank you for giving me your peace, joy, and rest. In you alone will I find fullness of life!”

Missed out on the event? Want more information on how to evangelise? Get in touch with our evangelisation officer, Madeline Page, on madeline.page@rcadc.org / 029 2036 5965.