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Opening Doors: Keys to Welcoming and Reaching Out

Fr. Frank Desiano, CSP, president of the Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association and national speaker on the subject of evanglization presented at the Feed My Sheep workshop. Fr. Frank identified ways to ensure that our parishes are seen as inviting and welcoming places.

CLICK HERE to download all of the presentations (includes both PowerPoint and pdf files)

Listen to an audio interview with Fr. Frank DeSiano.

How can we attract the younger generations?

We asked Dominic Perri, presenter at the Spring 2009 Feed My Sheep Workshop, how we can attract the younger generations to participate in parish life.

Read what Dominic has to say HERE.

How can listening change your ministry?

Listen in on four conversations between Peg Garvey-Mitchell and Mary Ellen Mahon as they explore different listening skills that improve how we work. We begin the series with listening as a spiritual practice. Peg explains that, just as we practice being present to the Word and are formed by the Word, we are called to be present to each other and to grow in our understanding of ourselves and each other through listening.

Listen to the conversations HERE.

How do different generations view Church?

The spring 2009 Feed My Sheep Workshop, "Age to Age: Ministering Effectively to Generations in Your Parish" focuses on how the different generations view Church.

Download the workshop presentation and notes HERE.

What is the new role for parishioners?

Listen in on three conversations with Peter Denio and Mary Ellen Mahon as they explore the new role for parishioners, the changing role of parish ministers, and strategies for involving busy parishioners.

Listen to the conversations HERE.

Lifelong Faith Formation: Nurturing faith – in the home and in the parish

Parishes around the Diocese of Manchester are “helping parishioners turn their hearts so fully toward Christ that a fire is lit in the heart of the parish itself.” This is the goal of lifelong faith formation and the work of Bill Huebsch, author of Dreams and Visions Pastoral Planning for Lifelong Faith Formation. Over 175 people in parish ministry came together for a workshop with Bill Huebsch. Success stories, challenges, needs, and new ideas on lifelong faith formation were shared.

CLICK HERE for more.

Share Your Best Practices

We are collecting your success stories and fresh ideas to share with others who are looking to integrate lifelong faith formation strategies in their ministries. Have a good idea to share? E-mail Mary Ellen Mahon at memahon@rcbm.org and we will post your stories here.

Best Practice: Seasonal festivals open hearts and renew faith

The pastoral staff of Good Shepherd Parish in Berlin and Holy Family Parish in Gorham attended the workshop last spring with Bill Huebsch on “Whole Community Catechesis.” Inspired and challenged from what they had learned the pastoral staff planned with the help of catechists and parishioners their first Advent Festival. Expecting up to 150 parishioners to participate they were surprised by the turn out – closer to 400 parishioners gathered together to share in prayer, a meal, and prepare for the celebration of Christmas.

Read more about this best practice.

Best Practice: Parish based retreats create opportunities to meet Christ

What is the best way to lead someone else to follow the Way of Christ? How do you help others experience lasting Christian conversion? How do you help yourself remain in a process of turning your own heart to Christ over and over again? How does this sort of conversion happen? These questions are addressed by Bill Huebsch in his work on lifelong faith formation.

Read more about parished based retreats.

Best Practice: The Question of the Week brings the Gospel to life

As Catholics, the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. When we gather to be nourished by the Word of God and the Eucharist, we are sent to live the Word we have heard and to be Christ whom we have received through service to others.The Question of the Week is a tool that can help parishioners live the message of the Sunday readings throughout the week.

Read more about the Question of the Week.

Resources for Lifelong Faith Formation

Building on efforts to move toward Lifelong Faith Formation, here are some resources:

Claretian Publications is offering a resource for parents:
At Home With Our Faith is geared toward helping parents grow in confidence in handing on the Catholic faith to their children and deepen their understanding of all that it means to be Catholic, including our sacraments, moral teachings, devotional practices, Scripture and the works of mercy. It is four-page newsletter published nine times a year. A one year subscription is $12. To order call 1-800-328-6515 or write At Home With Our Faith, 205 W. Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60606.

Twenty-Third Publications has several resources for sacrament preparation and adult faith formation:

  • Discovering the Treasures of the Mass by Lynne J. Sterritt offers twenty-eight puzzles that teach the rites and rituals of the Mass.
  • Learning Centers for First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and the Whole Community by Doris Murphy offers thirty-seven creative and formative centers for children preparing for First Penance and Reconciliation and First Eucharist.
  • 70 Sacrament Starters for Children…and those who teach them by Patricia Mathson is a hands-on approach that involves the whole child. It offers ten creative ways to celebrate and learn about each of the seven sacraments.
  • Countdown to Confirmation by Maureen Giocondo and Fr. John D. Manno focuses on the liturgical rite of confirmation to help candidates understand what it means to be a confirmed member of the Catholic Church. The eight sessions are intended as an immediate preparation for the sacrament. Each session explores the phrases used in the dialogue with the bishop and the candidate and each is accompanied by “Understanding This Session,” which offers creative ways to respond to the confirmation rites.
  • Welcome the People! Ways to Gather and Nourish Adult Catholics by Jim Smith is a guide for parish leaders an offering uncomplicated process for action and renewed faith. It includes retreat-like exercises at the end of each chapter to help parish leaders, ministers, and staff stay on fire about faith formation.

Diocese of Manchester
The Catholic Church in New Hampshire

153 Ash Street, Box 310
Manchester, NH 03105-0310
(603) 669-3100
Fax: (603) 669-0377

© Diocese of Manchester