YOU ARE GLAD TO BE A MEMBER OF THIS PARISH AND CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, AS MEMBER OF HIS BODY–RIGHT?!
Then, pray we can welcome more to this family of faith… and seek with what you can do to bring someone in.
“That building is a Church?” “I didn’t know that there was a Catholic church in Burtonsville.” That is a comment we’ve heard too many times. A staff worker here says that it was several years of passing our corner building before he realized we were actually a Catholic church. So, this means we need better signs and symbols outside, we need better publicity and witness of our members–that they (you! and I!) belong to a Catholic parish whose church is at the corner of Old Columbia Pike & Greencastle Road.
How many times have people heard about our parish? You are responsible for helping to get Resurrection recognized. One of the important roles each of us is to play is of parish promoter and witness to Jesus Christ and His love and as evangelizer/evangelist of the Good News. A papal exhortation says we are – “To evangelize is first of all to bear witness, in a simple and direct way, to God revealed by Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, to bear witness that in His Son God has loved the world – that in His Incarnate Word He has given being to all things and has called men to eternal life.” Evangelii Nuntiandi, #26.
What is Evangelization and why should I do it? We evangelize because we share the good news of the Lord and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. And how do we do it? By inviting our neighbors, friends, people we talk with in line at the Giant, on the Metro, on the ballfields, or meet on a local walk – to tell them about Catholic Christianity and its importance to you, and how parish life at Resurrection is valued by you and important to the Christian Way. By sharing with others about the programs Resurrection offers, most importantly, to talk about your experience. That is–your experience as a practicing Catholic, and a verbal snippet of the story of God in your life. It is to respect the other’s answer or reply to it. Evangelization is also about allowing the other person to tell you their story. They might have a story of God where you can have a good conversation, for God is our common destiny. As for their story of church or non-church practice, you might listen to why they have stopped practicing what they once did, or how they long to come back to their faith, or you might have someone share how they had little spiritual connection with others, especially with a church. Maybe it is a conversation that is meant to be had–for the purposes of God helping that other person to meet and know Him better. Then, you’d be doing the person a great favor, and would be pleasing God in the same!
The Pew Research Center conducted a study in December 2017 of 4,729 respondents: Why Americans Go (and Don’t Go) to Religious Services. Here are some facts that you might find interesting. One-in-four said they have not yet found a house of worship they like; 14% said they do not feel welcomed at religious services; and 22% cited logistical reasons for not attending religious services (i.e., time or poor health). When regular worship attenders were asked to choose the most important reason they attend, six-in-ten said they go to become closer to God; 8% say to become a better person; one-in-twenty to be part of a faith community. When the respondents were asked why they do not attend, 28% said they have not found a church they like. The study found that on average, those who rarely or never attend services are younger and usually because they “don’t have time”. In this group, seven-in ten are under the age of 30. And for the under 30 age group, 30% adults said that they attended services regularly for social reasons. So, with all these explanations out there, we know that we “evangelizers” have our work cut out for us. We need to help people to make a connection to our parish, and to join in to share in the journey to God. By bringing others in attention to our parish, we then help to make Resurrection community to grow, and to become stronger for the future. Evangelizing one another can be as easy as saying hello at Mass and working to make the conversation last into having a personal acquaintance begin, and maybe a Christian relationship to follow.
Evangelization is not just about getting people into the church, it is about keeping those who are already attending here, and those that have lapsed to come back. We are to help others encounter Jesus Christ, to experience the love He has to give and to live as His disciples. Evangelization is not a one-time event either. We bear witness and share the story of our faith. Some persons make an effort to come to small groups at the parish, or attend some spiritual events, or even just make more visits to sit in church and pray near the Blessed Sacrament. Our church is accessed whenever our office is open, which is a lot of time during the week.
Evangelization does not need to be complicated; it is simply share to the core and heart of your faith; fostering curiosity about our faith and building an interest. We really begin about our relationship to God. We need to have some encounter with God that is meaningful, and ongoing. Have you had it? Then share it! If not so, —then come and find out more about the Lord. Call and come by to see the pastor, other clergy, or parish leaders here. What can we become? We can become the collective people of God. “Evangelism is calling people to be disciples of Jesus Christ, both as individuals and as communities, in their personal and collective lives.” –
The Parish: Mission or Maintenance? The Untapped Potential of the Parish in The formation of Lay Apostles by Fr. Michael Sweeney, O.P. and Sherry Anne Weddell.
See our bulletin about an event on Sunday, Sept. 1st. Resurrection will be hosting the first Community Kid’s Fest. This Fest will have games, outdoor fun like air slides and a moon bounce, and there will be food, and it will be hosted by the Parish Council and be a party focused on welcoming back the Religious Education students, Catholic schools students, and Pre-K program, and any of our neighbor family kids to have a couple of hours of mostly free fun in the Amadeo Hall and the outdoor lawn area. Planning is still in progress and many volunteers are needed. If you would like to volunteer, please contact John Laudwein. Resurrection is holding this event because we want to reach out to those who live in the Burtonsville and surrounding areas – to tell them that we are here, and show a little bit of what we have to offer and that, in fact, we are a “welcoming Christian Community”, as our parish mission statement attests. We get people here to have fun, offer food at the Knights of Columbus concession stand, tell them about the life of our parish, celebrate the joy of the Lord, and make new friends. This is an opportunity to bring back those parishioners who have become un-engaged. This activity will primarily aim at young families, as we have too low a number of them for this populated area of Eastern Montgomery County.
Evangelization takes a lot of us to make it work; even with many of us doing a certain part or effort. Just imagine for a moment how much stronger Resurrection would be if each of the 2,748 individuals reached out to a person to share their faith to new families of the area. Why not try it?
Call or email Kathy Ford in the parish office to get started. She will direct you along.