Evangelization Sunday

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1 Evangelization Sunday January 23, 2010

2 1 I will make you fishers of men and women. January 23, 2011 has been named EVANGELIZATION SUNDAY in the Archdiocese of Boston. This helps to remind us of the mission at the heart of the Catholic Church. And, it facilitates a parish kick-off for the upcoming Catholics Come Home outreach initiative that will begin in Lent. As we live more fully our mission to proclaim the Good news of the Kingdom of God, we desire to draw others to a new or renewed relationship with God and a deeper connection with the Church, the Body of Christ. As renewed persons and a renewed Church, we seek to build a civilization of love, a culture of life, a world that is more just. To assist your parish with preparations for Evangelization Sunday this manual has been designed. It has been prepared in Microsoft WORD so that you can cut and paste items from it and make any adaptations you see fit. I would recommend a visit to two places: By going to this page, you can read a description of this initiative and access some other resources for your parish. This resource list will continue to grow, so plan on visiting more than once. This is the Archdiocese of Boston s website. Go to the Pastoral Themes section to read about Catholics Come Home.

3 2 Table of Contents Why Evangelization Sunday? God s Call and Our Response.. 3 Bulletin Announcements for January 9, 16, 23, 30 5 Timeline Overview. 7 Snow Date. 8 Instructions for Equipment.. 9 Cardinal Seán s Homily [Text; DVD and CD will be provided]. 11 Introduction to Homily/Words after Homily. 14 Pew Card 15 Processing Second Collections and Remittance Procedures 16

4 3 Why Evangelization Sunday? God s Call and Our Response God s Call Thirty-five years ago, as his summary of a Synod of Bishops, Pope Paul VI issued an apostolic exhortation, On Evangelization in the Modern World. This document thrust evangelization to center-stage in the life of the Catholic Church. There are many stirring passages in the exhortation. One, reminding us that evangelization is not just one of the agenda items for the Church but THE AGENDA of the Church is: The Church has a vivid awareness of the fact that the Savior's words, I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God, apply in all truth to herself. She willingly adds with St. Paul: Not that I boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty that has been laid on me; Woe to me if I did not preach it. [T]he task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize. People s Need Pope Benedict, just two years ago, alerted us to the need for the Good News that is present in our world today: As in all ages, man of the third millennium needs God and seeks him perhaps without realizing it. [Our duty] is to respond to this profound yearning of the human heart and to offer all, with the means and ways that best respond to the demands of the times, the immutable and always living Word of eternal life that is Christ, hope of the world. The restlessness of the human heart that St. Augustine noticed in his day has not gone away. As people of faith, we know that Christ is the place of rest for all. As Catholics we have a deep conviction that the Church, the Body of Christ, points the way for people to Christ. The Church helps people to encounter Christ and find their rest in him as they participate in the life of the Church. Some Shocking Numbers At the same time that there is an awareness of the yearning and seeking, the restlessness in people, we are also keenly aware that many who are baptized as Catholics are no longer participating in the life of the Catholic Church. In a 2008 study by CARA at Georgetown University, ~ 10% of Catholics said they attended Mass once or twice a month ~ 24% said they attended a few times a year

5 4 ~ 32% said they never attended Mass. That s 66% of Catholics who attend Mass once or twice a month or less! In addition, a 2008 study by The Pew Center reports that Catholics are fleeing the Church in record numbers. We ve been able to keep pace with the population at large only because of immigration. This study showed that nearly one-in-three Americans [31.4% of U.S. adults] said that they were raised Catholic. However, only 23.9% of adults identify with the Catholic Church, a net loss of 7.5 percentage points. These losses would have been even more pronounced were it not for the offsetting impact of immigration. The figures for the Archdiocese of Boston, as taken from the annual Mass count each October, show that 17% of Catholics in the Archdiocese gather to worship at Mass on any given weekend. That means that 83% do not attend Mass each Sunday. Living our Identity, Responding to the Need In order to live more completely God s call that we be a missionary and evangelizing Church, in a desire to respond to the seeking in the hearts of men and women, in a concerted initiative of outreach by the entire Archdiocese of Boston, we are setting aside January 23 as EVANGELIZATION SUNDAY. On this Sunday we will: 1. Pray for those who are away from the Church 2. Listen to a message from Cardinal Seán, calling us to be more active in following the Lord s command that we share our faith 3. Be encouraged to participate in the Catholics Come Home initiative beginning in Lent 2011 that uses television commercials and personal outreach to invite Catholic who have been away to come home to the Church. The Cardinal will also ask support for this initiative through a contribution to a Second Collection on this day. Imagine what could happen if each active Catholic were able to reach out and share faith with just two other people in the coming year such that those two were brought into a deeper relationship with God and greater participation in the life of the parish. People would experience new hope; lives would be made transformed. Families would be strengthened; parishes would have new life and be able to serve others with greater ministry. New relationships would be developed; people would be growing together in their faith. Worship of God at Mass would be more vibrant; there would be greater participation in parish programs. Evangelization Sunday, and Lent s Catholics Come Home outreach, can be the beginning of a new way of living our Catholic life in the Archdiocese of Boston. With God s help, it will be the stimulus that moves us, as Fr. Robert Rivers book says, From Maintenance to Mission for the sake of revitalizing parish life.

6 5 Bulletin Announcements for January 9, 16, 23, 30 For January 8-9: Baptism of the Lord At Jesus baptism in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove on Jesus and God the Father spoke, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. After his baptism Jesus began his public ministry of proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God and gathering all people into new life with God. At the baptism of each one of us, the Holy Spirit is poured out and God tells us that we are beloved daughters and sons. January 23 is Evangelization Sunday in the Archdiocese of Boston. All of us will be encouraged to live more fully the grace of our baptism as we continue the ministry of Jesus and share the Good News with others. On Evangelization Sunday Cardinal Seán will invite each one of us, and all the parishes of the Archdiocese, to a bold new initiative, Catholics Come Home. For January 15-16: 2 nd Sunday in Ordinary Time John the Baptist points to Jesus and says, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus is the one who reconciles us with God and with each other. We have been touched by the light of God s love through Jesus and brought together in the Body of Christ, the Church. Having so great a gift, we are to be light to others, shining with the love and truth that God has given to us. Next Sunday, January 23, is Evangelization Sunday in our parish and throughout the whole Archdiocese of Boston. Cardinal Seán will be inviting us to join with other parishes in the Archdiocese s new outreach, Catholics Come Home. Do you know someone who is away from the Church? Come and hear how you can be involved personally to invite home any who are distant from the life of our parish and of the Catholic Church. Next week there will be a second collection. All proceeds will fund the purchase of television and radio advertisements which will air during Lent 2011 to welcome home to our Catholic family those who have been away for any reason. The Catholics Come Home campaigns in other dioceses have been extremely effective at inviting and bringing Catholics to renewed participation in parish life. With your help, we can bring thousands of Catholics to a fuller participation in the life of the Church. Please visit for more information.

7 6 For January 22-23: 3 rd Sunday in Ordinary Time This is Evangelization Sunday. Just as Jesus called Peter and Andrew, James and John, Jesus calls each one of us to be fishers of men and women, to be evangelizers. We all know people who are distant from the life of the Catholic Church. The new outreach of the Archdiocese of Boston, Catholics Come Home, gives every one of us a great opportunity to be a minister of welcome, reconciliation and understanding for these people who are our brothers and sisters. Each of us has stories of faith, of being blessed and helped by God as we have lived our Catholic faith. These stories of God s goodness will help others. Like Peter and Andrew, James and John, let s go fishing so that we might draw others to God and to the amazing life with God in the Catholic Church. Let s all get ready now to participate, individually and as a parish, in Catholics Come Home. Please visit for more information about this outreach. You can watch all the commercials that have been produced. Perhaps there s someone with whom you would like to share these uplifting messages. Today s second collection will support this evangelization and outreach initiative. All proceeds will fund the purchase of television and radio advertisements to welcome home to our Catholic family those who have been away for any reason. The Catholics Come Home campaigns in other dioceses have been extremely effective at inviting and bringing Catholics to renewed participation in parish life. Thank you for your generous participation. For January 30: 4 th Sunday in Ordinary Time Many thanks for your generosity to last week s Second Collection in support of the Archdiocese of Boston s outreach initiative, Catholics Come Home. Contributions totaling $ were made by this parish to enable us to join with all the parishes in the Archdiocese to air commercials this Lent, as we invite home our brothers and sisters who are distant from the life of the Church. Each person in our parish can continue to pray for hearts to be open to our invitation. And, we can speak of the good things God has done for us, boasting in the Lord, as St. Paul reminds us in today s second reading. We can also dedicate ourselves to living more fully the Beatitudes so that all we say and do is a blessing to others and leads them to give glory to God who is our constant help.

8 7 Timeline Overview When What Requested Parish Action Week of Jan. 17 DVD delivered to Parish Save for use on Jan. 22 & 23 Comments/Notes Spanish and Portuguese versions delivered this week as well. Week of Jan. 17 Pew Cards Delivered Save for use on Jan. 22 & 23 Pew Cards are to give parishioners ideas about how they can personally participate in the Catholics Come Home initiative Week of Jan. 17 DVD Equipment Delivered If requested on Video Equipment Order Form, please be available to receive delivery of equipment needed to play Cardinal Seán s homily for Evangelization Sunday. Please let George Martell [ ; know if you did not receive the equipment. Jan. 22 Pew Cards Place Pew Cards in Pews Invite parishioners to take these card home as reminders of how they can be personally involved in this outreach Jan. 22 Masses: Jan. 22 & 23 Prepare video equipment for use at weekend Masses Evangelization Sunday DVD Please review set-up procedures and make sure equipment is ready for viewing Parishes show Cardinal Seán s DVD message and facilitate Second Collection to support Catholics Come Home outreach initiative Masses: Jan. 22 & 23 Pulpit Announcement Pastors, Priests, Deacons speak in support of Catholics Come Home outreach initiative Encourage participation in Second Collection and use of Pew Card for personal outreach Week of Jan. 24 Week of Jan. 24 Process Second Collection Equipment Picked up Please remit proceeds as soon as you have processed the Second Collection Please prepare any Video Equipment that was provide to you for pickup by the Delivery Company See the notes on page 14

9 8 PLAN FOR SNOW DATE January 29 & 30 has been set aside as a Snow Date for the showing of Cardinal Seán s Homily and for the Second Collection to support the airing of the Catholics Come Home commercials. If we are going to make use of this Snow Date this decision will be made by our Archdiocesan Catholics Come Home office and a message will be sent to every parish in advance of the first Vigil Mass on January 22. AND, of course, if we make use of the Snow Date, the Timeline above beginning with Jan. 22 Pew Cards will be delayed one week.

10 9 Instructions for Equipment

11 10

12 11

13 12 Cardinal Seán s Homily Readings: Isaiah 8:23-9:3; Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17; Matthew 4:12-23 A few years ago, I ordained a young Capuchin priest who was sent as a missionary to Papua, New Guinea. He wrote to tell me about his first experiences of the mission. A native family invited him to dinner in their hut. It was one room, a dirt floor with a fireplace in the center, a pit in the ground where some logs were burning. The family sat around the pit and the mother threw in some kau kau, or yams. Soon the father of the family pulled one of the yams out of the fire and brushed off the ashes. He then licked it clean and handed it to the young friar. Now, why would a young man leave a comfortable middle class existence in Northern Virginia to go and eat licked yams in Papua, New Guinea? The answer I believe is in the wisdom of Tom Flatley who told me once: The only thing I have to do in this life is get to heaven and take as many people with me as I can. It s a simple formula but a good description of the last instructions Jesus left for us, His disciples. In the Gospels there are two moments when Jesus bids us farewell and gives us very important marching orders. The first moment is the Last Supper where Jesus gives us a command to love one another, and He gives us the Sacrament of His love, the Eucharist, so that He can be with us always. The second farewell is Ascension Thursday when He ascends to the right hand of the Father. There He gives us another command Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He tells us I will be with you always until the end of time. A person s last words are very important to members of his family. People gather to read the last will and testament of the loved one. People are grateful for the inheritance and anxious to carry out the last instructions of their loved one. We have received the great treasure of our Catholic Faith. Jesus has called us to follow Him. He asks that we love each other and that we make disciples of all nations. Jesus has entrusted us with a mission that must be carried out in love for God and for our neighbor.

14 13 He has promised to be with us and has given us the Eucharist to nourish us and to be the source of our unity with Him and with each other. Jesus is counting on us to carry on His mission in the Church. Ours is a way of life carried on in community. Discipleship is lived only in community. Today s Gospel describes Jesus calling on Peter and Andrew to follow him. And, then Jesus invites James and John. They leave their boats and become fishers of men: they become disciple makers, Apostles. It was a costly grace: all but John died a martyr s death for their faith. We are one (1) billion Catholics in the world today. We come in all sizes, shapes and colors, speaking every language imaginable. We are here today because others passed on the faith to us. Now it s our turn. In our own local Church, the majority of our brothers and sisters do not come to Church except on rare occasions and celebrations. And some don t come at all. All of us have family, friends and acquaintances who no longer practice their faith. How many here know someone who is not coming to Mass? Let s have a show of hands. Today I want to ask you to do something about that. Listen to Christ s command that we love one another and that we share our faith. Many Catholics no longer worship with the community and therefore aren t benefiting from the graces of The Word and Sacrament. Some have drifted away because they have been hurt by representatives of the Church, or have moved away from the old neighborhood, or simply because the demands of work and other things have caused them to become inactive. We have a responsibility to them and a mission from Jesus to build up the body of Christ. In the Gospels, Jesus leaves the ninety-nine sheep and goes in search of that one lost sheep who has drifted away. Today I fear we stay with the few faithful Massgoers and allow the ninety-nine to wander off. The Holy Spirit works through us. I love St. Augustine s phrase, Without God I can t, without me God won t. Yes, the Holy Spirit evangelizes through our outreach to those who have given up the practice of the faith or who have no faith community at all. We are asking every Catholic to be a part of this plan to reach out to our inactive brothers and sisters and let them know we love them and want them to gather with us around Christ s Altar, the table of the Eucharistic banquet. We want to show our regret for any misunderstanding. We must let them know that we want them to be active members of Christ s family, our brothers and sisters. Every Catholic can be a minister of welcome, reconciliation and understanding to those who have stopped coming to Church.

15 14 We want them to know that being a follower of Christ in the Catholic Church is a beautiful life and can make us all better people, working together for a better world, a more just society, a planet more in conformity with the plan of our Creator, where the poor and weak are cared for, where people are more important than money, where community and the common good trump the individualism and consumerism of our age. This Lent, we have made an outreach to inactive Catholics one of our most important initiatives. With your help, we will be doing something we have never done before in the Archdiocese of Boston launching several television commercials to invite our brothers and sisters home. Let s watch together one of these messages. [Ad is shown] Millions of people have already seen and liked this in other parts of the country and more than 200,000 people have already taken steps to come home. We want to air these ads as often as possible so that no one misses out on our Catholic family s invitation to our brothers and sisters. To make this possible I am coming to ask for your support today. If you support this outreach and believe, as I do, that it will help many to rejoin us here in our parishes, I ask you to take three actions: First, pray for all those who are away so that their hearts will be open to our invitation. Secondly, please invite others to come to Mass and to parish activities with you so that together we can share and grow in our Catholic faith. Volunteer to work with others in your parish to invite and to welcome. Please contribute generously to today s second collection. I ask you to consider a contribution equal to what you normally give in the first collection. If you can t give at that level, please give what you can. If you can give more, please do. All the proceeds from today s second collection, on this Evangelization Sunday, will be spent buying time on television and radio to broadcast these commercials. Thank you for your generosity today and for all that you do to build up the Body of Christ, the Church. We pray that, by God s grace and your involvement in this initiative, many will hear our invitation, respond and come home. God bless you.

16 15 Introduction to Homily/Words after Homily The priest who is celebrating Mass may want to introduce Cardinal Seán s homily and say a few words when it is done to help people to respond to the Cardinal s appeal for support of the Catholics Come Home initiative. A sample text to consider is provided. Before Homily Isaiah reminds us of God s goodness. We have seen a great light; on us a light has shone. Jesus is that light, Light from Light as we profess in the Creed each Sunday, Light of the world as he himself says in the Gospel of John. We, too, are to be lights for others, shining with the light of Christ. Or, to use the words from the Gospel of Matthew, we are to be fishers of men and women called to this service by Jesus just like Peter and Andrew, James and John, the first whom Jesus called as disciples. Today is Evangelization Sunday in the Archdiocese of Boston. It is a day to remember that the life we live as followers of Jesus Christ is not meant just for those of us who are gathered here today. We are to live our faith fully and to share our faith with others so they can see, be guided by and have shining on them the Light who is Christ. Cardinal Seán has prepared a homily for the parishes of the Archdiocese to help us understand Christ s call for us to share our faith. Let s watch this together. After Homily Reaching out to our brothers and sisters to invite them to join us again as we gather here each week at Mass. Reaching out to invite them to connect again to the life of this parish. Reaching out and welcoming them home. That s something all of us can do. In the pews this week are some cards with actions all of us can take right now and can continue to as the Catholics Come Home commercials air in a few weeks. And, so that as many people as possible can see these ads many times over, I ask you to be as generous as you can in today s Second Collection. Your support for this new and bold outreach is deeply appreciated.

17 16 Pew Card A sample of the Pew Card is below. These will be shipped to your parish for use on Evangelization Sunday. These cards are being prepared in Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole.

18 17 Processing Second Collections and Remittance Procedures The processing and remittance procedures for Evangelization Sunday follow the general procedures for Second Collections: All collection proceeds for Evangelization Sunday should be remitted as soon as possible after the collection. In most cases, this should happen within two weeks of the collection. If a parish needs more time to receive the envelopes, it should remit within 30 days of the collection. Collection proceeds should be remitted to: Cashier, Archdiocese of Boston Pastoral Center, 66 Brooks Drive, Braintree, MA Catholics Come Home Initiative 66 Brooks Drive Braintree, MA For Further Information

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