MissionMatters effect

Mission Matters: Mar. 28, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: Remembering Cardinal Keeler; Retreat for Families with Special Needs; Leader training for ministry to divorced and separated; Resource spotlight – St. Paul Street Evangelization; Post-abortion healing retreats; Prepare-Enrich training; MD March for Life rescheduled; plus this Thursday’s blog post. Read more


Join a Vibrant Community of Evangelizers at the ChristLife National Training Conference

The ChristLife process is a proven method of evangelization and renewal used by Catholic parishes across the country. The upcoming ChristLife National Training Conference is an opportunity to be inspired, equipped, and connected so you can bring ChristLife to your home parish. You will:

  • learn practical and proven ways to implement ChristLife,
  • be spiritually renewed and challenged, and
  • meet a vibrant community of priests, deacons, and lay-people eager to transform their parishes with the power of the Gospel.

Deacon Lee Benson from St. Ignatius in Hickory first attended the ChristLife National Training Conference after searching for a way to bring life back to the parish. Below, he shares about his experience:

My wife, Deborah, and I attended our first ChristLife conference three years ago. We were looking for something to help revitalize our parish. In the previous year our pastor initiated a parish census, asking parishioners to review information about their family in the parish database. Only a small number of parishioners responded. Additional steps were taken, but ultimately door-to-door visits were necessary. Deborah and I made some of these visits.

Most people did not answer the door. The few that did were friendly and courteous. They told us they had not switched to another parish or even another denomination, but simply stopped going to church. Their children completed their sacraments, so there was no further need to attend church or live any life of faith. They had joined the church of “none.” We came away from this experience discouraged, but knew we had to do something.

We heard about the ChristLife Series, but knew little about it. Our pastor gave us the go ahead to attend the conference and we asked another couple to come with us. During the conference we found the program to be more than what we expected. The testimonies of the previous participants truly encouraged us. We listened to success stories, and also stories of mistakes made and lessons learned.

We loved the details of how to run the ChristLife process. Nothing needs to be invented—we simply needed to follow the instructions. ChristLife offers a proven model that has been tested and revised through experience. It is not a theoretical program, but one based on lived experiences. We left the conference anxious to try the program at our parish. The conference gave us the confidence we needed to run the ChristLife series.

Our pastor gave us permission to run a “pilot” program of Discovering Christ with a hand-picked group of volunteers. Most enjoyed it and were ready to help promote the full program. Many of these people become facilitators in the subsequent pastor-approved, parish-wide program. We are now in our third year of the using the ChristLife evangelization process. We start in September with Discovering Christ, continue after Christmas with Following Christ and finish after Easter with Sharing Christ. While we do experience some attrition, more than 70% of those who start go all the way through to the finish of Sharing Christ.

Our pastor admitted later that he fully expected us to fail at getting people to come. To date, over 300 people have attended the full series. Our pastor is thrilled. Last year we added a “small group” program for the ChristLife graduates. Many of these groups still meet and we look forward to adding more this Easter.

All of this started because we attended the ChristLife Conference. I encourage anyone to attend no matter how unlikely you may think it is that your parish will adopt the program. If nothing else happens, you will grow in your relationship with Jesus and you will meet some terrific people.

The ChristLife National Training Conference will be hosted April 26-28, 2017 at St. Philip Neri Parish in Linthicum Heights. Speakers, conference talks, and registration information is available on http://www.christlifeconference.org/

MissionMatters effect

Mission Matters: Mar. 21, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: NFP training; New sacramental prep program; Resource spotlight – Altaration; Marriage as a charism; Transitions, plus this Thursday’s blog post. Read more

couple with baby shoes sm

When D(iagnosis)-Day isn’t an End . . .

Rapid advancements in perinatal testing equip families with information about their newest members as they prepare to welcome them. This information can be so valuable for families to prepare their hearts and homes for children with special needs or to prepare emotionally for what might be a short time with their children. Imagine the range of emotions: joy, devastation, anticipation, fear, stress, and others that they may experience. Read more

MissionMatters effect

Mission Matters: Mar. 14, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: ChristLife National Training Conference; Resource spotlight – Kerygma 4 Kids; Single Again Conference; plus this Thursday’s blog post. Read more


Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross according to the method of Saint Francis.

We adore you O’ Christ and we praise you.

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MissionMatters effect

Mission Matters: Mar. 7, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: Catholic Men’s Conference; Evangelization training camp; Resource spotlight – ChristLife; Maryland March for Life; RCIA article; Hospitality Training; plus this Thursday’s blog post. Read more

Pope Francis speaks during a penitential ceremony on March 13, 2015 at St Peter's basilica in Vatican. Pope Francis declared an extraordinary jubilee year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a landmark Vatican council and said the Church was bound to continue its  reforming work. The year will be dedicated to the theme of mercy and begin on December 8th, the date the Vatican II council closed in 1965, Francis said in St Peter's cathedral on the second anniversary of his election as pope.  AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI        (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Lent and Pope Francis

And just like that, Lent is upon us! If you’re looking for some suggestions for how to live this Lent, Kevin Cotter from FOCUS selected some tips from Pope Francis. Maybe some (or all) of these will help direct your Lenten practices this year.

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MissionMatters effect

Mission Matters: Feb. 28, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: “Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment”; Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat; Resource spotlight – Amazing Parish; Annapolis Update on PAS; V Encuentro; Middle School Ministry Day; Lenten resources; plus this Thursday’s blog post. Read more

Hands pulling rubber band

Called to be Stretched

This post corresponds to the Mission Priority “Encounter”

Have you ever heard this definition of insanity? In·san·i·ty: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

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MissionMatters effect

Mission Matters: Feb. 21, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: MAC fruits; Sharing meditations for Lent; Resource spotlight – Vocation VBS; Adult faith formation speaker; CRS Rice Bowl; plus this Thursday’s blog post. Read more

In this 2008 photo, Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, second from left, travels on the subway in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bergoglio, named pope on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, was known for taking the subway and mingling with the poor of Buenos Aires while archbishop. Bergoglio chose the name Pope Francis and is the first pope ever from the Americas. (AP Photo/Pablo Leguizamon)

The Choice Before Us: Safety or Health?

This post corresponds to the Mission Priority “Send”

Not too long ago, I was speaking with some folks who worked at a parish. They were eager to discuss this whole evangelization thing. Suddenly, in response to what I thought was an innocent question, one of them exclaimed: “Wait a second! What if we do go out and start doing all these things? What if all kinds of people really do start coming? Read more