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We are moving ever closer to a Parish Priority Plan—January 1st is my hope.  The Planning Team has met around 12 times, including 4 full day sessions.  There are two full day sessions remaining, November 3rd and December 1st. As I previously shared with you, Our Challenge will finish on December 31st and we will then transition into the next steps which will be outlined in the Parish Priority Plan. 

The inspiration for the Parish Priority Plan really comes from Pope Francis. In his document on the New Evangelization, Evangelii gaudium, he states:

“I want to emphasize that what I am trying to express here has a programmatic significance and important consequences. I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are. 'Mere administration' can no longer be enough. Throughout the world, let us be 'permanently in a state of mission'."

The New Evangelization is not to remain an idea, but has practical implications and application in the life of the parish, including its structure and most certainly each individual parishioner. It is for the purpose of giving the New Evangelization “programmatic significance” that we are committed to creating a parish priority plan. My hope is that every part of parish life reflects the focus, content and dynamic of the New Evangelization.

Part of the New Evangelization concerns the ability and importance of sharing one’s faith with others.  This week we include a review of the DMI (Disciple Maker Index) survey item, “In the past year . . . I shared my personal witness story with another person.” Every one of us is on a journey to God. Consequently, we all have a story of faith that can be shared with others as a means of evangelizing. I often recall the importance of sharing one’s story with how the devil is overcome in the Book of Revelation, “They defeated him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12: 11).

You might be interested in knowing that two new parish initiatives are coming forth to serve the need of sharing the faith.  The first is ChristLife, which you have been hearing about over the past weeks. ChristLife is a systematic approach to evangelization that first guides participants to be evangelized deeper themselves so they can follow God’s call to evangelize others.  The second initiative will come through our social media, Blog, Facebook, etc. We are calling it, Stories of Grace, and it will be modeled off of the radio program StoryCorps. Stories of Grace will highlight the faith journeys of individual parishioners. 

The stories will be available through our social media in audio format and transcribed through our blog. More to follow . . .

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Rev. John F. Jirak

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