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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/

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A Thanksgiving Prayer

In November of 1791, Archbishop John Carroll wrote a beautiful prayer for our country. This November, as our country prepares for a transition in government, we pause for prayer. And we pause to give thanks! Let us recall the words of our first bishop and hold our country in prayer. Read more

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Welcoming Those Who Grieve

When we think of “welcome” as a mission priority, what comes to mind? A user-friendly website? Parking attendants? A family-friendly Sunday experience?

Yes, yes, and YES! Read more

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Leading Through Change

Our recently published Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan describes how we will be forming pastorates that “…will be centers of worship and prayer that promote lifelong conversion and reverence for the Catholic faith.” As parishes “come together,” as my colleague Daphne Daly wrote about a couple of weeks ago, and begin to work together to sustain a vibrant community that spreads the mission of the church, some changes will be inevitable. Read more

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Got Kerygma?

That’s kerygma, not charisma.

Yes, a personality with a lot of charisma is a great gift when it comes to evangelization. But what we’re talking about here is even more powerful and essential to evangelization. Read more

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How’s Your Elevator Speech Coming?

I spend a lot of time helping to form volunteers and ministers in parishes and schools. We have spent time in prayer and reflection, time learning about our rich faith, time redefining our priorities, and time learning how to do the ministry to which we have been called.  However, as I reflect on encountering these wonderful people and accompanying them on their journey with Christ, I fear I have been missing an important step: the proclamation of the kerygma. Read more

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The Sound of Silence

I had the privilege of leading a couple of parish retreats this summer. The participants were parish volunteers from all different kinds of ministries. They gave themselves a gift of time with our Lord, and I was truly evangelized by their faith and their presence.

Read more

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Coming to Church But Not Spiritually Fed? – Survey Series #6

Corresponds to Questions 19, 27, 28, 31, 32, and 33 of the survey.

I really enjoy sushi.  It is beautiful food art that is at once pleasing to the eye and the palette and never fails to improve my mood.  I wasn’t always a sushi convert as the idea of eating raw fish and seaweed wasn’t really appealing at first.  But wise sushi connoisseurs introduced me slowly to the wonders of the sushi experience, beginning with simple, familiar flavors like cucumber and avocado, advancing slowly to the fully cooked California roll, adding in miso soup and wasabi when appropriate, waiting to introduce the raw fishes (salmon, tuna, yellowtail, …) and exotic sea creatures (octopus, sea urchin, abalone, …) until much later.   Read more

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Mission Matters: May 24, 2016

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: Fortnight for Freedom; New marriage preparation programs; V Encuentro of Hispanic ministry; Camp Glow 2016; plus this Thursday’s blog post. Read more

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Faith is Not a Smoothie – Survey Series #5

Corresponds to Questions 14-17 and 20 of the survey.

When we experience something wonderful, something life-changing, when we have met someone who has changed our whole world, it is natural that we want to share it. And so it is with our Catholic faith.

Read more

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Nothing Else Matters – Survey Series #4

Corresponds to Question 21 of the survey.

If Jesus Christ is not the center, nothing else matters.

It may sound drastic, but our whole parish survey may come down to Question 21: Which of the following best describes how you practice your faith and relate to Jesus Christ? Read more

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Developing Young Missionary Disciples

Thanks to Pope Francis, much of the Church- including our own Archdiocese – is talking about Missionary Discipleship. That’s a really nice catch phrase, but what does it look like?  How do we do Missionary Discipleship and how do we create a young church full of Missionary Disciples? Here are three ways to start: Read more

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