Lent: A Mission or The Matrix
As we journey deeper into Lent, the choice is ours - a mission or The Matrix. If you saw the movie, you know the “red pill or blue pill” choice that was presented to the hero, Neo (“New Life”), played by Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. Pope Francis speaks of parish renewal in the same way. It is a choice for intentionality in the midst of a culture that would rather we just sleep-walk through life, with no real purpose other than to feed the economy. Lent is intended to be a time of disturbing questions that lead to new and vital growth. And the Gospel certainly poses larger-than-life questions to anyone who encounters Christ.
I recently assisted the parish vitality team at St. John Vianney Parish in Orchard Park to face difficult questions, and to forge from the answers, a new parish vision – “to be a place where Jesus is known, not just known about; a place where anyone can belong and everyone makes a difference.” This statement of purpose still echoes in my ears for its simplicity and its courage. Read more...
Where Do We Grow from Here?
Is the Catholics Come Home campaign over… at your parish? Let’s hope not. Catholics Come Home was never intended to be just a four week TV campaign. And it certainly was not just about getting people to show up at church again. After all, worship is essential, but not sufficient. The Eucharist is an invitation to live out our baptism – grow in faith, by sharing that faith, and be transformed by faith. We are commissioned to keep the faith, but not keep it to ourselves.
The parish is bigger than those who come to Mass every week! Thriving parishes are helping their people to: name it, claim it, tame it and aim it. Who is your parish? Do your people live their faith so abundant that it is attracting attention? Would anyone outside the parish, notice or care if your parish ceased to exist tomorrow? Jesus offers life in abundance and Jesus claims a growth paradigm for His Church! Ask yourself, where do we GROW from here?
Hundreds of pastoral leaders in parishes throughout the diocese learned new ways to connect, welcome and engage returning Catholics and newcomers in the Christmas season. Several exceptional Catholic resources are available at this site or from the Office for Evangelization and Parish Life, Diocese of Buffalo at 716-847-8393. And more Catholics will be returning on our second busiest day of the year which is (guessing?)… Ash Wednesday. What is your plan? Read more...
Parish Planning Guide
Good Worship Starts with Good Welcome
What Does Intentional Discipleship Look Like?
What Do Newcomers See When Arrive?
Hospitality - A Quick Course with Fr. Eduardo Montemayor
Support for Catholics Living with Divorce
Always Our Children - to Parents of Homosexual Children
with Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers
Church Teaching regarding Divorce
Resources for Faithful Parenting
Challenges and Marriage Difficulties
Ask an Ethicist (National Catholic Bioethics Center)
Making Sense of Bioethics with Fr. Tad Pacholczyk
Now Anyone Can Evangelize Online
So why don’t more Catholics evangelize? That’s easy – fear. Most of us are afraid of rejection or we fear being asked a question for which we lack a good answer. But now we can learn to evangelize online with little or no intimidation. In one way, evangelization has never been easier. The internet is the perfect place to gain courage for one's convictions.
So, what good news motivates you? Let’s recall that the word “evangelization” simply means “sharing really good news”. Good news makes us grateful. Think about it. When we come across a great doctor, a good book, a thrilling movie or delicious food, we are happy to share our good fortune with others. And many already do so through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. It is the same with evangelization. Has God ever done anything for you? How do you cope with difficulty? What gives you hope or brings you joy? When were you most grateful for the guidance of the Spirit in your life? Were you ever glad to be Catholic? If you can answer any of these questions, you are ready to share your own version of the Good News online. Read more...
Refer Friends to the Faith!
it might be as easy as: 1. Send one of these links to them, 2. Wait a week or so. 3. Ask them about their visit to the website. 4. Invite them to join you for a cup of coffee to discuss it or to accompany you to a church event.
Catholics Come Home offers personalized doorways for anyone interested in the Catholic Church. It is filled with energetic videos and action links.
Rediscover provides vibrant and powerful messages for all spiritual seekers on meaning, belonging, strength and peace. And it is filled with a host of other topics and resources as well.
What Else Can Catholics Do?
Grow in faith, give witness to faith, share faith and be transformed in faith...
Explore the Spiritual Riches of Lent
Bless the Home
Bendiciòn de Hogar
Pray the Daily Readings
Pray as You Go (Podcast)
View a Daily Video Reflection
Pray the Morning Office (video)
Digest Church Teaching in Daily Doses
Follow the Blog of Bishop Richard J. Malone
Listen to Lighthouse Catholic Media Messages
St. Paul Street Evangelization
What Else Can a Parish Do?
Parish Bucket List
Bless the Bicycles
Easter - an Ancient Opportunity for a New Evangelization
Connect, Welcome and Engage Catholics
Pray with the Parish - A Homegrown Lenten Prayer Book (Sample)
DIY Lenten Prayer Book (Instructions) contact us for an editable version
Support Vibrant Faith at Home
Equip Catholic and Confident
Host a God Awaits Us... in Our Stories Parish Retreat
Conduct a Parish Vitality Assessment
Open Doors, Minds, and Hearts for People with Disabilities
Follow stories and opportunities at: