Posted tagged ‘Evangelization’

The Church, young people and the role of parents

September 29, 2017

Bishop-Cozzens-Official-Portrait_300dpi.jpgYou may have already read this here, but Bishop Cozzens’ words carry way more weight than mine!  Read his version of a landmark study on the influence of Catholic parents on their children, conducted by Dr. Christian Smith and associates.

Here’s the short version:

Studies show that unless parents have created a Catholic culture in the home, the children will succumb to our society’s non-Christian way of seeing the world when they become adults. The parish, the school and the youth program are all helpful, but parental religious influence is the condition of possibility for other influences.

This is a great reminder, at the beginning of the year, that every single thing Family Formation does is intended to help you with the goal of bringing your children to an adult, life-long, rich relationship with Jesus and the Church He established.  Thanks for being with us this year, and we’re excited to help bring everyone in your family closer to Jesus!

You can read the full report here.

Evangelization at its finest!

February 6, 2017

Thanks to Kathy for tagging us in this amazing interview between Bishop Robert Barron and Dave Rubin, host of the Rubin Report.

Dave is an interesting guy. One website describes him as a “rising media star” and “the voice of liberals who were mugged by progressives.” It says he’s “a 39-year-old pro-choice, pro-pot, recently gay-married atheist with a strong allergy to organized religion.”

In this time where people of opposing viewpoints can barely have a civil conversation, these two spend a full hour in respectful explanation of their views.  Between that and Bishop Barron’s masterful explanations of the Faith, there is so much to learn here!

Highly recommended for all adults!


Behold, I stand at YOUR door and knock!

February 9, 2014

I love the ways that beautiful art can teach us the truths of the Faith and lead us closer to Christ.  I have a vivid memory of this subject being on a stained glass window at my childhood church, and I think it’s fair to say that the way it spoke to me was a more effective and lasting message than all the CCD classes I ever attended!

Anyway, as promised, here’s a little additional information about the holy card image included in your Evangelization Home Lesson.

Light of the World by William Holman Hunt

 Light of the World was painted by William Holman Hunt in the mid-1800’s and became a popular subject for Victorian era religious devotions.  It’s based on Revelation 3:20 and is filled with great symbolism for you to decode!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

  • First, it’s important to puzzle through the symbol of the door.  What does it represent? (Depending on the ages of your kids they may come up with answers ranging from “your heart” to more complex ideas involving obedience and our free will.  All of those are great answers.)
  • Then, the most obvious visual element is that Christ is bringing light.  Christ as the Light is a theme that is all over Scripture and the Catechism.  If you light your children’s Baptismal candles occasionally, this might be a good time to remind them that Christ’s light first entered their lives at the time of their Baptism.
  • Next, notice how Christ is knocking.  He certainly could be pounding on the doors to our heart – the message of salvation is urgent and nothing is more important – but instead He appears to be gently knocking.  This reminds us that Jesus will never demand a place in our lives, but He is always, always, always lovingly asking us to open the door just a little wider so His light can come in just a little more.
  • You can see from the brush and weeds growing up next to the door that this particular door/heart has not been opened to Christ in a very long time, perhaps never.  But He’s still out there hoping to be let in.  This can be a very encouraging reminder that we can never fall so far away from Christ that He is no longer there.  No matter what, He is always close by waiting for our response to His knock.
  • Another less obvious feature of this piece is that there is no doorknob on the outside.  Jesus will not let Himself in; the knob is on my side of the door and only I can open it to answer His invitation to me, and it’s the same for each of you as well.

There are lots of other versions of this work, but if you want to get a closer look at the best of them, follow the link to the highest resolution version of the original either here or here.

behold 1

behold 2

Heart of the Lesson: Evangelization

February 8, 2014


Evangelization is one of those topics that has gotten a bad rap in this modern era.  It’s easy to envision someone in a polyester suit and a megachurch on Sunday morning television, or someone going door-to-door asking strangers if they are saved.  I’m necessarily discounting either of those methods, but I am saying that it’s likely the way evangelization plays out in your own life will likely be a simpler and natural outgrowth of your everyday life.

First of all, it’s important to know that evangelization is the reason the Church exists and because you are baptized, you are a part of that!  On the most basic level, Christ has made an impact on your life and whether He saved you from a life of deep sin in some dramatic way or you just feel all warm and cozy knowing He’s there, you should want to share it with someone!

Your primary mission field has a great deal to do with your vocation – you are parents or grandparents and may have a spouse.  That is where God is calling you to put forth your best efforts right now:

  • You bring your children to Mass
  • You work on some kind of family prayer time
  • You had them baptized
  • You do Family Formation lessons with them
  • (and many other faith-based things, I’m sure)

Of course, God is calling you to evangelize others as well and that will take a thousand different forms in your lifetime. You’ll know which direction God is calling you through prayer and being open to the Holy Spirit and whatever He puts in your path!

There are so many activities that go with this lesson – probably too many to do in a single sitting.   But if February is anything like January was, weather-wise, there will be plenty of weekends and evenings where you’re stuck indoors looking for something to do.  Try doing some of them outside your regularly scheduled lesson time.  Each of these activities is designed to focus on a different aspect of the topic, so take a look at them all (or just continue reading this overview) and prioritize.

IMG_7099Building the Church:  The idea behind this activity is that God’s Church is made up of all His people and no matter how many choose to be part of it now, there is ALWAYS room for more!  Start with a bunch of popsicle sticks and write the name of every Christian you know on a stick (one per stick).  Next, use the sticks to make some kind of church.   Here’s the trick though: while you’re building, be sure to include plenty of blank sticks.  The point is that no matter how many people are currently part of the Church, there is always room for more.  In fact, it’s incomplete without them and it’s our job to invite them!

growing in holiness bookMake an Andrew List: For this activity, start with reading John 1:40.  Saint Andrew was so excited to have found the Messiah, that the first thing he did was to tell the exciting news to his brother, Peter!  Think about how you can follow his example and who you can tell.  Then spend some time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to give you the opportunity and words to use.  Just an aside, but this is a great place to keep the My Growing In Holiness activity from last month going.  Simply think of someone and make your prayers for them your February or March resolution.

Go Fish:  This game teaches that every act of evangelization includes four players: the person hearing the message, the person delivering the message, Jesus who is always the subject of the message, and the Holy Spirit who is the mover and inspiration behind every act of evangelization, no matter how big or small.  The game plays like Go Fish with the object being to collect one of each of these four cards in a particular color.

IMG_7100Each One Bring One:  The craft part of this activity is to create one of those zig-zag, linked sets of paper dolls (do those have a particular name?), but the idea behind it is so much deeper!  Going as far back as possible in your family history (even if that just means you start with yourself), talk about the Christian influences that have influenced you today.  Was it a Grandma who always brought you to Mass, or a neighbor who was so kind, or the parent who prayed with you at bedtime?  Everyone has stories and sometimes it’s the most ordinary influence which has had the greatest effect.  Take some time to prepare by thinking about those people and then share the stories with your kids.  At some point be sure to remind your kids that you are currently passing the Faith on to them and someday (maybe someday soon) they will be passing it on to someone else.  Not only is it exciting to consider, but you want to make sure they catch the vision.  You’ll want to be sure to do this one!

Jesus Knocking Prayer Card:  I thought this activity deserved it’s own post.  It’s coming up tomorrow!

Finally, we’ve included a handy bookmark that has ways to evangelize on one side and a prayer for evangelization on the other.

Apologetics resources

February 4, 2014


Many thanks to Todd Kraft, our speaker this weekend on the topic of Evangelization!  There were a number of apologetics resources shared by both Todd and parents, and I’ve listed them below.

Level 1 – Starter websites for apologetics.

1.) – John Martignoni’s website with newsletters and mp3’s

2.) – David MacDonald’s site that had his incredible testimony and many articles he has written.  A very pastoral website the helps dialogue with evangelicals.

3.) – Catholic Answers website.

4.) – endless supply of articles that are faithful to the Catholic Church.

Level 2 – More in depth websites for apologetics.

1.) – Excellent website by Bob Stanley

2.) – Great site by Phil Porvaznik

3.) – Steve Ray’s site with many articles

4.) – Incredible amount of great stuff here.


Friendly Defender flash cards (perfect for beginners!)

Pretty much anything offered by Lighthouse Catholic Media (available in kiosks in churches all over the place, and on their site.)

Radio Replies (Originally a radio show by two priests in the 50’s, it was eventually transcribed into 3 volumes that have stood the test of time remarkably well!  The books are still available for purchase, and the link goes to a free online version.)

Men’s Argument of the Month Club

Times of grace

March 25, 2013

AlleluiaEaster is a wonderful time for evangelization for two reasons*:

  1. Many people who are only kind of interested in religion the other 363 days of the year are on board for Christmas and Easter. Whether their Catholicism is cultural, or just a childhood habit, (or based on something else) God is glad to work with these times of special grace to bring people around to a deeper faith.
  2. You may be getting together with some of these people at family gatherings this week.

Be a little bold and think about what you can do to nudge things in the right direction.

  •  Most important, start by asking the Holy Spirit to help you recognize opportunities. God is always working in people’s hearts to bring them closer to himself, but He tends to use people like us to make that happen.
  • You’re planning to go to Mass, right?  Invite someone to go  with you!
  • Another thing you can do is to talk to your wonderful, holy children about Easter ahead of time. Make sure they have a good grasp of what Easter is all about and then they’ll be prepared to talk about it with others. Your fallen-away-Catholic uncle John may not be interested in having yet another religious discussion with you, but he’ll likely listen to his adorable nieces and nephews explain the art on the Easter placemats they made to decorate the dinner table.
  • Some cousins at your family gathering may never have heard the Easter story, but by preparing the Easter baskets or Holy Treasure Hunt in the Holy Week Activities lesson, you’ll be able to inject a bit of the story into some fun family activities.
  • I have no idea what God is calling you to do over Easter, but I do know that your witness, even in the smallest things, can have eternal effects for those you come in contact with over this holy weekend.
*Actually, I’m sure there are more than two reasons, but let’s start with these.

“Recycling” in the best sense of the word!

February 2, 2013

recyclingAnd, happily, it intersects with your mission to evangelize!

When you’re done listening  to the CD that was included in your January packet (Why Contraception Matters: How It Keeps Us from Love and Life), be sure to pass it on to someone else and ask them to do the same after they’ve listened.  One CD has the potential to pass on the message to dozens of people, so do your part!

Contraception CD

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