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Two Initiatives for Evangelization in our ACC

When I was ordained, I followed the custom of choosing a Scripture verse for the invitations that is also chosen as a sort of theme for each priest’s hopes for ministry. I selected Philippians 3:10: “I wish to know Christ and the power flowing from his resurrection; likewise to know how to share in his sufferings by being formed into the pattern of his death.” There is enormous depth to St. Paul’s words. But note how the passage begins: I wish to know Christ. This is the goal of evangelization: to help each person we encounter to both experience that longing (“I wish …”) and that Person (“to know Christ”).

This “knowing” is not abstract theology or history. It is a personal relationship with the One who calls us “friends.” Like any meaningful friendship, it will go through stages and endures through times of both joy and sorrow, in extraordinary moments and in the routines of life.

Evangelization is the very essence of the Church’s purpose. Jesus told the Eleven: “Go into the whole world and make disciples of every nation.” Finding the best ways to do this in all the changes of place and time means it is never finished, and never simple. I want to draw your attention and ask your prayers and support for two new evangelization efforts in our One in Christ Area Catholic Community that will be unfolding in the coming months.

First is Young Life. While Young Life began as a Christian ministry that was not originally Catholic, there is a long history of involvement with the Diocese of Saint Cloud, most notably the annual Castaway retreat for youth during Lent and some early youth ministry efforts some decades ago.

You may remember hearing of the “Going, Going, Gone” nationwide survey of young people and faith; among the many striking findings was that youth report “disaffiliation” (the individual choice not to associate with a formal religious group) happens on average around the age of 13, in the middle school ages.

Young Life works to form and empower believers to reach out, befriend, and accompany youth at this period of life when they are exploring their personal faith lives. Bishop Patrick worked with this in his parish in Portland before he became our bishop, so he is very supportive of our piloting the Catholic outreach of Young Life. Again, watch for much more information about how our parishes can become agents of evangelization and welcome for those who are searching for what Christ brings.

Second is the project of the National Community of Catechetical Leaders called “Parents and Families at the Center of Faith Formation.” This is a fully grant-funded effort that is “designed to explore how to strengthen faith transmission at home in the first two decades of life and create parish communities that intentionally accompany parents and the whole family.” Rather than a faith formation “program,” this is a project to develop an approach that best meets the diverse needs of different families and demands. Again, much more will be communicated on this work.

As you read this, please join me in praying – and praying over – Philippians 3:10: “I wish to know Christ and the power flowing from his resurrection; likewise to know how to share in his sufferings by being formed into the pattern of his death.”

Save the Date – St. John Vianney Drama on September 8

Leonardo deFillipis is president of Saint Luke Productions, specializing in Catholic live theater with dramatic presentations on the lives of the saints. (Some may remember him being at Sacred Heart a number of years ago to present St. Maximilian Kolbe, the martyr of

Auschwitz.) Leonardo will be in the Saint Cloud Diocese in early September and will be presenting a 90-minute drama on St. John Vianney the evening of Sunday, September 8 at Sacred Heart. This is an event suitable for anyone around teenage and up, and is ideal for the ongoing Eucharistic Revival in our country. This is another “watch for more information” item, but please reserve the evening of September 8 for a moving and inspiring drama.

—To find out more information about the Eucharistic Revival, please visit the Diocese of

St. Cloud Website at

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