Originally published in The Catholic Voice, September 2, 2019
“Why does this parish
Fr. Brandon Macadaeg described helping revitalize a parish “almost on the verge
of giving up!”
for a key to energizing a parish, he challenged it with a central question–why does this parish exist?
Coming up with the
answer grew into a success story through combined efforts of the clergy, staff
and members of the parish, he explained at the 2019 Napa Institute.
heart of parish revitalization “is all relational” among people in the
community, which means people work together and energize each other. “That
brings forth life in a parish,” as Fr. Macadaeg sees it.
often starts with people getting re-energized by each other in staff meetings
and spreads to the entire parish community.
Macadaeg now is rector of the Oakland’s Christ the Light Cathedral, an
assignment he began July 1.
a parish is only a spot where people spend an hour a week, then hurry off in
different directions without strengthening each other, the parish is much more
likely to fail than if the community’s members interact with and strengthen
revitalization was a recurring focus for a wide range of discussions and
soul-searching at the Institute, which explores the current state of the Church
and challenges of reform. More than 600 people participated, with 115 priests
and bishops, including Oakland Bishop Michael Barber, SJ.
Patrick Lencioni, of
Lafayette, is a successful business energizer who, in his faith life, formed
The Amazing Parish program. He said bluntly “there is nothing remotely
compassionate” about accepting mediocrity.
“The acceptance of mediocrity is unacceptable!”
That program has
helped parishes begin to revitalize, using methods of energizing many business
organizations. Core building blocks it uses are prayer, teamwork and active
A key is getting
people to interact in their religious lives.
“Teach people to talk
about their faith lives to one another,” emphasizes Leoncioni. “Teach people to
evangelize one another.”
Amazing Parish is one of several distinctive efforts to strengthen Catholic
parishes and re-energizing the people in them.
Fr. James Mallon,
vicar for parish renewal and leadership in the Archdiocese of Halifax/Yarmouth,
Nova Scotia, “We will never succeed if we get angry with the world.”
There is a huge
difference between maintenance and mission, he emphasizes.
“Most of our
missionary work is like a fishing boat that stays in the harbor,” Fr. Mallon
said. “The only fish it will catch are those that jump into the boat!
“If we are only
maintaining, we become irrelevant!”
“teach people to talk about their faith lives to one another. Teach people to
evangelize one another.”
parish should be a nuclear power plant of prayer!”
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