A Plan for the Future of Our Parish: Disciples in Mission
“What is the first thing you recommend that we work on to help us envision how we can make St. Julia Parish in Weston/Lincoln, a more vibrant, spiritually rich community?”
We need parishioners’ answers here, by January 25-26, 2020
In 2017, St. Julia Parish entered into an archdiocese–wide process of growth and transformation at the parish level. This process is called “Disciples in Mission” and is guided by Cardinal Seán’s pastoral letter: A New Pentecost: Inviting All to Follow Jesus. The goal of the process is reinvigorate all of the parishes of the archdiocese through an increased emphasis on making disciples and on evangelization.
Our next steps as a parish are to grow in understanding of what discipleship and evangelization look like. There will be trainings during this period from the Archdiocese that aim to give us a common language and skills for living out discipleship and evangelization in our parish. Over the next months, a team of plan writers will be formed to write a pastoral plan that will guide our parish for three years (2019–2022). The plan will have a particular emphasis on evangelization and forming adult disciples. Everyone in the parish is invited to grow in their understanding of these concepts and contribute to the building up of our parish community through this process.
What’s a disciple?
The Latin forebear of disciple is discipulus, meaning student, and this is a simple definition for a disciple. He or she is one who is a student of Jesus. But in the Christian context, there is a deeper meaning of student than we have in the modern age. A disciple is more of an apprentice of Jesus than one who merely shows up to class or reads books. A disciple spends time with Jesus, learns how Jesus operates, observes how he acts, strives to master Jesus’ Way, follows Jesus through thick and thin. The disciple does this through prayer, worship, service, community life, and study.
Wait, Catholics, evangelizing? That doesn’t sound right…
People evangelize all the time. I bet that includes you! Imagine the last time you were excited about a new restaurant or app or television show that was “life–changing”. Or maybe you’re a “zealot” for a particular health regimen or for environmental action. Evangelization happens when a person experiences something as so meaningful, so life–changing, of such ultimate importance, that they can’t keep it to themselves. It has to be shared.
Many people’s picture of evangelization includes fire & brimstone, street preachers, uncomfortable knocks on the door, and pamphlets forced upon them. These images do NOT depict Catholic approaches to evangelization. The Greek root of evangelization is evangel, “Good News”, and Good News ought to feel good for the sharer and the receiver! The first step in becoming an evangelizing Catholic is to reflect on how Jesus is “Good News” in your own life. What about your faith has been meaningful, life–changing or of ultimate importance to you?
Catholic evangelization is about building relationships and strengthening friendships. It’s about respecting the other and sharing the Gospel when it is appropriate and meaningful to someone else. It is about offering an invitation to a meaningful, life–changing, absolutely–of–ultimate–importance relationship with Jesus Christ.
In order to create a Pastoral Plan for our parish to be an effective center for the New Evangelization, we need our parishioners to assist us by answering this question: “What is the first thing you would recommend that we work on to help us envision how we can make St. Julia Parish in Weston and Lincoln, a more vibrant, spiritually rich community?” Please email St.Julia on Jan. 25-26, 2020 with your important input!