Ten Ways to Keep Moving with Mission!

These Ten Ways apply to the Archdiocesan Four Priorities: Life-long Formation, Sunday Assembly, Stewardship, Vocations.

Prayer: “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ (EG, # 3). Prayer is our personal relationship with Jesus Christ and prayer continually deepens this relationship. Prayer is critical for detecting the movements of the Spirit to move forward in evangelization. The fruitfulness of our individual and communal efforts depends upon prayer—listening to the voice of God. Only after the community prayed together, were they filled with the Holy Spirit and able to speak with boldness. We, like the early disciples, pray for the Spirit to grant us the vision for our own parish/cluster “to take part in this new missionary ‘going forth’” (EG, # 20).

Disciples Formed in God’s Word: “All evangelization is based on that word [word of God], listened to, meditated upon, lived, celebrated and witnessed to” (EG, # 174). In order to evangelize, we must KNOW Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Word of God. All movement of the Spirit comes from Jesus Christ and leads to Christ. All faith formation leads to …“communion with Jesus Christ. (NDC)” All formation, whether in the homily or an adult faith formation offering must be based on the Kerygma, which is Greek for “proclamation.” Formation based on the Scripture holds true for life-long formation, which is always seeking and encountering Jesus in ever-deepening ways.

Sacraments and Sacramental Moments: The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.” (EG, #47) How do we respond when young adults call to schedule a wedding or a young parent brings a child to be baptized? How do we reach out when a parent dies, a young adult graduates from college, or there is a national tragedy? The parish moving with mission looks through the lens of evangelization when celebrating the Sacraments and other sacramental moments.

Family Matters: “In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children.” (EG, # 66) All offerings and outreach should be mindful of the many challenges and needs of families today. The evangelizing parish encourages, inspires, and equips parents navigating ways to create a domestic church and to form their children into disciples. Moving with mission is mindful of the real life concerns of family life (parenting, financial concerns, time commitments, relationships) and seeks to engage families of every kind in every stage.

Witness: “God’s word, listened to and celebrated, above all in the Eucharist, nourishes and inwardly strengthen Christians, enabling them to offer an authentic witness to the Gospel in daily life” (EG, # 174). From the time of Jesus, evangelization has been dependent upon the credible witness of Christians. Our witness is our lives, and we share the joy of the Gospel with those who struggle with poverty, loneliness, restlessness, sorrow, sin, or emptiness.

Gifts-Based Shared Ministry:The Holy Spirit also enriches the entire evangelizing Church with different charisms. These gifts are meant to renew and build up the Church.” (EG, #130) The parish does not belong to a few chosen, but to all the baptized. More than filling a ministry position with a warm body, we empower parishioners by helping each to discover and then use their particular gifts, talents, and charisms to participate actively in the mission of Jesus Christ. As we begin to know ourselves as disciples, we are compelled to go out to serve and evangelize through our particular gifts.

Hospitality: In the presence of a Christian, no one is a stranger. Jesus invited each person, no matter race, economic status, age, gender, etc., to follow him. Each person should be welcomed and find a place of belonging in our parish/cluster/schools. As Christians, we build bridges, not walls, as we give priority to those on the fringes. Hospitality is not simply a “hello,” but an evangelizing community that “gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives” (EG, # 24).

Small Groups: When Big, Go Small! Since the early Church, when Christians gathered in homes, small groups have served as an essential vehicle for forming intentional disciples. In small groups, men and women practice “the art of accompaniment” by removing “sandals before the sacred ground of the other” (EG, # 169). Participants in small groups provide “spiritual accompaniment” through the “art of listening,” (EG, # 171) and by studying and discussing God’s word, praying together, and sharing their joys and struggles.

Primary Place for the Poor: “The new evangelization is an invitation to acknowledge the saving power at work in their lives and to put them at the centre of the Church’s pilgrim way. We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.” (EG, # 198) Who are the poor in your parish (those in physical, spiritual or emotional poverty)? Who are the poor and destitute in your city? Who are the poor you are called to serve?

Outreach: The parish “is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach.” (EG, # 28) As a parish of missionary disciples, we are summoned to reach out to those struggling, searching, and suffering. The parish/cluster is no longer to be “attractional” (the place where all activities occur, including bingo) but “missional”—with the Eucharist as the source and strength for all our evangelizing efforts. Pope Francis sends us out to the peripheries and grants us permission to fail, but always to begin “anew.” As he told the youth in Rio: “I want a mess. Outreach necessarily creates a mess by getting involved in people’s messy lives. Go out, and make a mess!