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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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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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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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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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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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Ephphatha! Be opened!

The New Evangelization challenges us to rethink what it means to be missionaries. Yes, ad gentes! To be disciples to all the nations is still a priority but, what about those who sit next to us in the pews or those who aren’t even there in the pews yet? We know there are many of our brothers and sisters who are baptized Catholic, but are not actively engaged in their faith.  This is one level of evangelization. And a large one at that! Overwhelming, even.

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Why They Leave. Why They Come Back – Survey Series #12

Corresponds to Question 19 and 20 of the survey

Everyone’s faith journey is unique. But I have to confess that in one respect my own journey could not be more average: when I stopped practicing the Catholic faith it was the result of gradually drifting away. My parents took us Mass every Sunday, we dutifully “got our sacraments,” and we attended “Sunday school.” But as I entered young adulthood, none of that stopped me from walking out the door. What’s so “average” about this? Over 70 percent of those who leave the Catholic Church also “gradually drift away.” It is by far the number one reason why people leave.

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At the Heart of Worship – Survey Series #11

Corresponds to Question 27 and 28 of the survey.

Worship is often at the center of our conversation with family, friends, and co-workers when we discuss spiritual and religious practices. Sociological and psychological studies and recent polls indicate that most people accept the existence of God. However, difficulties arise when talking about ways to relate to God, experience God, know God, or follow God’s call. This is precisely where the topic of worship makes a grand entrance, and how it occupies center place in our musings.

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A Reflection on Stewardship and Financial Perception- Survey Series #10

Corresponds to Question 37 – 41 of the survey.

The financial health and vitality of your parish is in your hands.

I spent 25 years in the investment business. The thought that I’d one day be sitting here as the CFO of the Archdiocese never entered my head. I also never imagined that despite my previous career success, it would be this job that would demand more of my MBA than any other. “God put me in this job to teach me patience and humility.” That’s what I tell everyone.  There were only two finance guys in Jesus’ life: Matthew was a tax collector and Judas held the purse for the apostles. Patience and humility… Read more

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