What If Every Weekend Were Like Christmas?

So you just completed your Christmas liturgies, one of the two biggest and busiest times of the year at your parish. It was special to be sure, putting your best foot forward to make a great experience both for your regulars and for the hundreds of people you might only see once or twice a year. Hopefully, you saw it as a way to get those twice-a-year folks back next week and God willing, all year long. A superb opportunity for evangelization! Read more

Christmas: A Welcome Opportunity for All

It is finally Christmas!  The day we have been preparing for since the first day of Advent. For many of us in Church ministry, Christmas celebrations are bustling and busy, full of extra Masses and duties that may make us forget the first quiet Christmas when our Lord came into the world so intimately as the baby Jesus. Often our faithful parishioners look at the Christmas Masses with frustration, having to arrive much earlier for a seat with pues overflowing with those “flower Catholics.” But what an opportunity Christmas is! Read more

Paris, Your Parish, and the Wisdom of Silence

Sometimes it’s only in silence that our hearts can hear most clearly what’s being said.

Last week, news from Paris began streaming across our TV screens, smart phones, and tablets. In the midst of TV news anchors updating us on the latest developments, politicians shouting for retaliation, reporters reading the terrorists’ messages, it was the silences in between that spoke to our hearts. Read more

Engaging Archbishop Lori’s Pastoral Letter: Universal Call to Mission

Lessons on evangelization sometimes come from the most unexpected places.

My two-year old son recently discovered that he loved lollipops. On Halloween, trick-or-treating at the first two houses we visited, he received chocolate and was unimpressed. Read more

Transformation: Using our Strengths to Transform the Culture of our Parish

“Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)

Clearly, we serve a God who is about transformation. It is this transformation that is the stuff that dreams are made of for Pope Francis: “I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of TRANSFORMING everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” Joy of the Gospel, 27 (Of course, the emphasis is added.) Read more

In Memory of a Friend: The Art of Leadership

Years ago, I was at the retreat house where Fr. Art Valenzano was assigned. He and I were chatting when we heard a raised voice.  A chaperone was really lighting into a young person who had broken a window by playing ball in the house. The young person was going to be sent home. The chaperone told him to pack his bags, she was going to call his parents. The young man was crying.  Fr. Art and I quickly headed toward the chaperone and the young person. He told me to take the young person into the next room, and he would talk to the chaperone in the chapel.

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