AHEAD OF THE GAME, OR AT LEAST, WORKING THAT WAY...
Everyone is talking about discipleship; it’s a pillar for catechetical ministry and the central principle of the Church’s mission to evangelize. Jesus’ own words in the Gospel command us to, “Go and make disciples…” (Mt. 28:19); but how are we doing in our response to his clarion mantra? Are we ahead of the game, or at least, working that way? I, for one, would like to hope so.
Discipleship is the pastoral framework for the present era and it has become a regular part of the post-modern ministry phraseology. Religious education (a.k.a. faith formation) is passé. These terms have been vastly replaced by the richer and more profound vocabulary of evangelization and discipleship. Two factors are worth highlighting in regards to this shifting terminology: 1) Ministry is becoming more relational than functional. The resurgence of people-centeredness has been increasing in recent years. Parishes are learning that pastoral outreach must be customized to address people’s needs. We can no longer assume that we can build it and people will come. The days of ascending Catholicism are largely over. Today, Catholic life is tied more tightly to a descending personal experience of Jesus Christ; God comes to us. The implications of this pendulum shift are both individual as well as communal. The notion of being stewards, of caring for the earth and living small so that others might live, are principles not solely tied to Pope Francis (although he emulates them). 2) People today have a strong hunger and a deep desire for meaning and purpose. Sometimes we can be quick to critique the “nones” for wanting to be spiritual while foregoing religion. However, on the other side of this critique, is the reminder that we should ensure our religion doesn’t lack spirituality. I think one reason people are gravitating toward the language of evangelization and discipleship is because it connotes a certain level of mystic and dynamism. It sounds more engaging and exciting. In fact, this emerging characteristic is so pervasive that it can apply outside ecclesial circles. For example, a few months ago I was part of a strategic breakfast with business, NGO, and religious leaders from around the nation. I was surprised at some of their titles, like: Steward of Finance, Strengths Evangelist, and Principal for Talent Research and Development.
I congratulate those parishes and organizations that are intentionally incorporating evangelization and discipleship language into their structures. This gives a new face to their Christian experience and how they approach discipleship. I think it makes it easier for them to move beyond the temple – as Jesus commanded – to “GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES!” In fact, did you know that a few of our parishes identify their parish catechetical leader as the “director of discipleship” or the “director of evangelization” instead of DRE or DFF? Another has dropped use of director or coordinator in favor of “steward” to connote those responsibilities. These are amazing developments with EPIC implications. KUDOS!
So how does evangelization and discipleship play out in day-to-day ministry? Well, someone once said, “innovation breeds inspiration.” So, one trend that continues to grow in parishes around the world is to name ministries and programs instead of your office. Religious Education or Faith Formation now is replaced with particular ministry names that engage and enkindle a desire to take part. Here are some examples: F.I.R.E. (Families In Religious Education) or C.A.F.E (Catholic Adult Faith Enrichment), or two that originated in our diocese, G.I.F.T. (Growing in Faith Together) – thank you Saint John Vianney Parish – and Sonshine Kids (Children’s Faith Formation) – thank you Holy Name of Jesus – or F.A.I.T.H. (Faith Activities In The Home), etc.
The extension of evangelization and discipleship goes far beyond traditional catechetical ministries. I was recently sharing with some of our parish coordinators who oversee ministry to the sick and homebound about how evangelization and discipleship are at the core of their ministry, too. The implications of this are that they are specialized catechists (in a manner of speaking) – a theme the Pontifical Council of Healthcare Workers has intentionally addressed.
Some have asked why the Church is adopting new terminology. The irony of this question is that it isn’t. We are simply recuperating the linguistic heritage of our past. Evangelization and discipleship originated with early Christian antiquity and have been used for centuries. They have borne fruit in the lives of the apostles and countless saints whose lives were centered on Jesus. And that, my friends, is good enough for you and for me. Happy Easter!
THE LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER FOR NCCL IS APPROACHING! SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT…
If someone said to you as a catechetical professional, “I want to engage you in a few days of prayer, dialogue, and fellowship around the topic: Dynamic Discipleship! Dare. Lead. Innovate.”, would you be interested? Well, this is your chance, but it is fading fast. Last Friday, NCCL announced that Bishop Richard Malone will be unpacking the new Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, as a featured high-top networking event. This will be a first of its kind endeavor and it is being hosted right in the backyard of our ecclesiastical province – Jacksonville, FL. If you wanted to sign-up and something is holding you back, let me know and let’s see what we can do together. These opportunities do not come along that often, so when they do, you cannot afford to miss them! To register, click here.
EVENTS CALENDAR 2016-2017
EVENTS CALENDAR 2015-2016
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DAYTON FACE TO FACE
Dayton University and the Diocese of Orlando have partnered in the last year to offer a Face to Face formation opportunity. This version of the program allows the student to participate in a close group with a facilitator. All participants will receive a manual with all content and in some courses the student may be required to read an additional text book.
Each cycle is a 5-week class. Cost of each class is $50.00 which includes the registration and the workbook. (Some courses may require an additional text book).
We have yet better news! To attain a Level 1 Certificate in Catechesis the following courses must be completed:
Survey of the Catholic Doctrine
Introduction to Scripture
Images of Jesus
Introduction to Catechesis
Introduction to Prayer
All these courses have been planned and will be offered throughout the following cycles:
Take advantage of this formation opportunity to deepen your personal faith formation and prepare as a mature disciple to serve the church. The Face to Face calendar above includes the first week orientation.
To register, please click on the link for the preferred location and continue to the Eventbrite registration page. For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-246-4912.
Catechist Formation Classes
To Whom: Catechists, Catholic School Teachers, and Catechetical Leaders Cost: $15 Registration Form. Registration: Ten days before the class meets. All registrations are online.
Please note, that the link to register for DCCP classes recently changed. Pleaseclick herefor new link to register.
SHARING AND WITNESSING
“The Synod Fathers stated in a number of ways that we need to help young people discover the dignity and beauty of marriage. They should be helped to perceive the attraction of a complete union that elevates and perfects the social dimension of existence, gives sexuality its deepest meaning, and benefits children by offering them the best context for their growth and development.” Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia. This is the lofty goal of marriage preparation.
This weekend I observed one of our Diocesan marriage preparation workshops. It was wonderful to see this group of people, clergy and married couples, come together for the day to journey with couples preparing for marriage. They and marriage preparation teams throughout the Diocese are doing a great job of helping couples discover the dignity and beauty of marriage through their witness of the sacrament and their sharing of thoughts and ideas to assist couples as they prepare for marriage.
I am very thankful for all those currently involved in marriage preparation and pray that every couple grows in love and holiness throughout their lives. CALENDAR OF MARRIAGE PREPARATION OPPORTUNITIES
Click on the following image:
Youth Ministry Update
YOUTH MINISTERS RETREAT
Join us for the Merciful Like the Father Retreat on May 10th from 9am-4pm at San Pedro Retreat Center! Set a day apart from your busy schedule to learn how to incorporate the year of mercy into your own life and service.
Our retreat director is Robert Siemens, the Director of the Office of Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He comes with years of experience in missionary, parish, diocesan and collegiate ministry and will also be sharing the importance of maintaining a healthy family life during this year of mercy.
Bishop Noonan will join us for Mass, and we will end the day with the opportunity for adoration and confession. We’re calling it a “Youth Ministers’ Retreat,” which means all who serve the youth of our diocese are welcome! Cost is $25, which covers breakfast, lunch and retreat materials. Register by clicking the image below!
YOUTH MINISTRY INPUT SURVEY
I promise that this survey is short! I am gathering your feedback on what topics you’d like to cover next year, and to see if we have interest in an evening webinar version of the roundtable discussions (to accommodate part-time and volunteer youth ministers). Here’s the survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YMLinput16
Whole Community Update
MINISTRY FORMATION CONFERENCE
Mark your calendars for the Ministry Formation Conference (Faith Formation Day) on September 17, 2016. We will be gathering at Bishop Moore High School. I would also like to invite you to send me any topics you would like us to include as well as any comments. Please send me an email to email@example.com.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Bible Verse of the Week
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me."
Registration now available, Click Here. STUDY THEOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY... Are you inspired by Pope Francis’s commitment to the “freshness and fragrance of the Gospel”? Do you want to better answer the call to holiness in everyday life and bring disciplined study to your Catholic faith? Come and see about master’s degrees and certificates in theology and ministry offered in Orlando by the Loyola Institute for Ministry of Loyola University New Orleans. These programs combine in-person study (commonly known as LIMEX) with the flexibility of online learning. The Diocese of Orlando has had a decades-long relationship with Loyola, which, with its graduate degrees and certificates in ministry, has educated teachers, ecclesial professionals, and others throughout the area.
If you would like to meet with Basil Pflumm who is currently facilitating LIMEX courses, he is willing to set up an appointment with you and, if necessary, conduct a personal information session to answer any questions you might have. You can reach Basil by text message or phone at 407.539.4596. He can also be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please consider calling Basil and making arrangements to learn more about Loyola study options and the classes that are beginning in this summer.
Don't delay, the classes are forming now.
Diocesan Events Calendar
The Diocesan Calendar is now set up to include all Diocesan events. If you have an event which you would like the rest of the Diocese to know about, submit your event to the Communications Office using the link below. Once processed, your event will end up on the main calendar on the Diocesan website, categorized by ministry.
Use the color coded tabs along the bottom to view events pertaining to a particular ministry. We hope this will aid communication about events between different parish communities. Let us know what you think!
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Dennis L. Johnson, Jr. Secretary, Laity, Family and Life 407.246.4913