Background Image

The Beacon Beacon_March 16 2017 : Page 1

ALL CHURCHES IN THE DIOCESE OPEN FOR CONFESSION ON MONDAYS, 7 TO 8:30 P.M. OUR GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY EDITION MARCH 16, 2017 11 The Catholic Center for Evangelization at Bayley-Ellard M AKING P ARISHES G REAT ANNUAL ACIES FOR THE LEGION OF MARY At the Diocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II at Holy PHOTO | RICH GIGLI Parish Catalyst founder suggests four practices that will build vibrant faith communities By MICHAEL WOJCIK NE WS EDIT OR THE BEACON CELEBRATES ITS GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY – 50 YEARS OF THE GOOD NEWS A1-A16 8-9 11 12 13-19 DO NOT DELAY — TIME SENSITIVE NEWS Rosary Church in Passaic on March 12, members from St. Nicholas Church in Passaic stand at the Vexilium during the annual Acies for the Legion of Mary in the Paterson Diocese. Ignacio Patino places his hand on the Vexilium as an act of consecration to Jesus through Mary. For story and more photos, please see page 2. V IEWPOINT W HAT T O D O O BITUARIES C LASSIFIEDS Catholics join faith communities in Morris County to resettle Syrian refugee family Hearing the cry of the poor, Catholics reach out to help By CECILE PAGLIARULO REPOR TER MORRISTOWN Violence and suffering continues unabated for many who once called Aleppo in Syria their home. Last week, while on retreat, Pope Francis offered Mass for the war-torn coun-try and donated 100,000 euros to help the poor in Aleppo. Pope Francis’ gesture reminds all Catholics that serving the least among us, is part of the Church’s central teachings. Hearing the cry of the poor, some Catholics in Morris County have been reaching out to help refugees there through Refugee Assistance Morris Partners (RAMP), a non-profit coalition of faith-based organizations dedicated to helping families from Middle Eastern refugee camps transition to productive lives of dignity, safety and hope in Morris County area. A dozen churches, religious orders, synagogues and mosques in the area are part of this coalition including St. Vincent Martyr Parish, Madison, the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station, and St. Matthew Parish in Randolph. Last fall, a Syrian family consisting of a father, mother and their three children — ages 18, 8 and 6 resettled in Morris County under the spon-sorship of Church World Service and RAMP. The family had a third son, who was killed in the bombing before they fled to Turkey, where they spent three years before coming to the United States. For more than 15 years, Father Daniel Murphy, pastor of St. Matthew’s, has been involved in in-terfaith programs because he believes dialogue among different religions is an important factor in bringing peace to the world. He learned about RAMP last year after Randolph’s interfaith com-munity discussed the need to reach out to those in the Middle East. He thought the work of RAMP was a great opportunity for parishioners to help the refugees. RAMP, 10 MADISON For parishes that are searching for ways to build more vibrant faith communities that thrive, Parish Catalyst has some tips. The non-profit organization has conducted ex-tensive research that points to four essential prac-tices of dynamic parishes throughout the U.S. These include what the organization calls the “Sunday experience”: a worshipper’s encounter of a parish that starts with a warm greeting at the door; continues with a spiritually rich Mass that features powerful music and homily; and ends with a social gathering after the I think that liturgy. That’s what Bill the future of Simon Jr., Parish Cata -lyst’s founder and the Church presi dent, told priests in America is and lay people from very bright the Diocese on March 11 in his talk, “Great thanks to Catholic Parishes,” at God, Jesus St. Paul Inside the Walls: the Diocesan and the Holy Center for Evangeli -Spirit.’ zation at Bayley-Ellard — B ILL S IMON J R . here. He spoke about a study that Parish Catalyst conducted, interviewing pastors from 244 of the greatest U.S. parishes and, from that research, identifying four practices of thriving parishes: leadership, spiritual growth, the “Sunday experience” and evangelization. Simon ‘ PARISH CATALYST, 4

Making Parishes Great

Michael Wojcik

Parish Catalyst founder suggests four practices that will build vibrant faith communities

MADISON For parishes that are searching for ways to build more vibrant faith communities that thrive, Parish Catalyst has some tips.

The non-profit organization has conducted extensive research that points to four essential practices of dynamic parishes throughout the U.S. These include what the organization calls the “Sunday experience”: a worshipper’s encounter of a parish that starts with a warm greeting at the door; continues with a spiritually rich Mass that features powerful music and homily; and ends with a social gathering after the liturgy.

That’s what Bill Simon Jr., Parish Cata - lyst’s founder and presi dent, told priests and lay people from the Diocese on March 11 in his talk, “Great Catholic Parishes,” at St. Paul Inside the Walls: the Diocesan Center for Evangeli - zation at Bayley-Ellard here. He spoke about a study that Parish Catalyst conducted, interviewing pastors from 244 of the greatest U.S. parishes and, from that research, identifying four practices of thriving parishes: leadership, spiritual growth, the “Sunday experience” and evangelization. Simon also talked about the ongoing work of Parish Catalyst, which builds vibrant Catholic faith communities through research and collaboration among parishes.

“Parishes are important places in the lives of Catholics and of our cities, states and country. My friend, Rick Warren [author of the book ‘The Purpose-Driven Life’] calls the local church the greatest engine of good in human history,” said Simon, author of the book, “Great Catholic Parishes.” “I think that the future of the Church in America is very bright thanks, to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. My hope is grounded in both optimism and realism,” he said.

The 18-month study — conducted by Simon and a team of researchers — discovered that the four practices of thriving parishes include leadership. Increasingly, pastors have been sharing leadership of the parish. This approach has given them more time for “self care”: exercise, participation in priest support groups, prayer and thinking about the Mass and “what’s best for their parishes,” said Simon, co-chairman of William E. Simon & Sons, an investment firm, which he cofounded with his brother, Peter, and their late father, William E. Simon Sr., a former U. S. Secretary of the Treasury.

Parishes also should focus on another important practice: spiritual growth, which includes matching ministries with the personalities of their faithful. This approach that ensures that “they get engaged and want to show up at church,” said Simon, who grew up in Summit; attended Holy Family School, Florham Park; and lived in Madison, before moving to Los Angeles.

The best practices of parishes include the “Sunday experience,” which begins on Monday and continues throughout the week with online formation programs, social justice outreaches and small group sharing. Some small groups meet in parishioners’ homes for dinner and discussions of Bible passages, said Simon, also co-chairman of the William E. Simon Foundation and the Cynthia L. and William E. Simon Jr. Foundation, which help the urban poor through faith-based efforts.

“Small groups are a way to invite people in a way that is comfortable for them,” said Simon, who belongs to St. Monica Parish, Los Angeles. “Small groups are a great way to fire up parishioners. Then, they roll into Sunday with momentum,” he said.

The Eucharist remains “the source and summit” of our Catholic faith, but, in addition, the “Sunday experience” should feature other important spiritually enriching elements. These include greeters at the door, uplifting music — although “one size does not fit all” for congregations — and homily and a “table or a meal” after Mass, where people can hang out and meet each other, said Simon, who founded and leads Parish Catalyst with the encouragement of many notable Catholics and Christians from other denominations.

Lastly, dynamic parishes evangelize, today inspired by St. John Paul II’s challenge for the faithful to engage in the New Evangelization: spreading the Gospel largely to the unchurched. Pope Francis has sparked a passion for evangelization among Catholics with his emphasis on social justice, Simon said. “Pope Francis is pastoral. He provides leadership and encouragement for our pastors,” Simon said.

After his talk, Simon answered questions from the enthusiastic audience, which included students of the Diocesan Certificate in Evangelization program. He fielded inquires about the work of Parish Catalyst, which gathers together groupings of parishes from around the U.S. — or “cohorts” — to learn about and discuss best practices to help their faith communities thrive. Simon encouraged local parishes to sign up to participate in a cohort.

Each cohort studies one of the following several specific areas: Parish Leadership, Discipleship Today, Sunday Worship, Evangelization and Mission and Shepherding Millennials. Each pastor brings a team from the parish to travel to Los Angeles for four three-day meetings over an 18-month period. There, they listen to prominent speakers on their topic. Each parish stays accountable to the cohort by announcing its goals relative to the topic and later, reporting the results, Simon said.

Last year, St. Paul’s Young Adult Ministry finished participating in Parish Catalyst with other young adult outreaches in a cohort about Shepherding Millennials. The Beacon reported last year that St. Mary Parish, Pompton Lakes, completed work in another cohort that focused on the same subject.

“Parish Catalyst was one of the most organized and encouraging groups that I’ve ever been involved with. It got us to thinking strategically, theological and pastorally. It has affected not only members of St. Paul’s, who went [to Los Angeles], but also our entire staff,” said Father Paul Manning, St. Paul’s executive director and diocesan vicar for evangelization, who years ago, traveled with Simon and other Catholic priests to Saddleback, Warren’s “mega-church” in California, to examine its best practices. “I thank Bill for coming to St. Paul’s today. He gives pastors encouragement and has an unshakable optimism in the Church, rooted in God,” the priest said on March 11.

Afterward, Jane Delvin of the faith community of St. Paul’s told The Beacon that she attended Simon’s presentation “to better understand what makes a vibrant and great parish.”

“That understanding turns into action to make a more relevant parish that welcomes people home. A parish has to be nurturing and friendly and offer unconditional love,” said Delvin, who agreed with Simon that a Catholic’s “Sunday experience” should include powerful music and homilies.

[Information: www.parishcatalyst.org or (310) 500-4286.]

Read the full article at http://www.livedigitaleditions.com/article/Making+Parishes+Great/2736255/392053/article.html.

Catholics Join Faith Communities In Morris County To Resettle Syrian Refugee Family

Cecile Pagliarulo

Hearing the cry of the poor, Catholics reach out to help

MORRISTOWN Violence and suffering continues unabated for many who once called Aleppo in Syria their home. Last week, while on retreat, Pope Francis offered Mass for the war-torn country and donated 100,000 euros to help the poor in Aleppo. Pope Francis’ gesture reminds all Catholics that serving the least among us, is part of the Church’s central teachings.

Hearing the cry of the poor, some Catholics in Morris County have been reaching out to help refugees there through Refugee Assistance Morris Partners (RAMP), a non-profit coalition of faithbased organizations dedicated to helping families from Middle Eastern refugee camps transition to productive lives of dignity, safety and hope in Morris County area.

A dozen churches, religious orders, synagogues and mosques in the area are part of this coalition including St. Vincent Martyr Parish, Madison, the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station, and St. Matthew Parish in Randolph.

Last fall, a Syrian family consisting of a father, mother and their three children — ages 18, 8 and 6 resettled in Morris County under the sponsorship of Church World Service and RAMP. The family had a third son, who was killed in the bombing before they fled to Turkey, where they spent three years before coming to the United States.

For more than 15 years, Father Daniel Murphy, pastor of St. Matthew’s, has been involved in interfaith programs because he believes dialogue among different religions is an important factor in bringing peace to the world. He learned about RAMP last year after Randolph’s interfaith community discussed the need to reach out to those in the Middle East. He thought the work of RAMP was a great opportunity for parishioners to help the refugees.

“Reaching out to refugees is core to who we are as Catholics, particularly in the Gospel of Matthew, ‘I was a stranger you took me in,’” said Father Murphy. “The word Catholic implies universal. We are part of a larger world and Pope Francis calls us to reach out to those in need. The Catholic Church has always been countercultural. We need to do what God’s work teaches us and not follow the prevailing culture.”

Several parishioners were involved in setting up the apartment furnished by RAMP and provided household basics. Doreen Guzo and Marybeth Boughton are two parishioners from St. Matthew are who volunteered with RAMP to set up the new home.

“There were 30 volunteers in the house from all faiths,” Guzo said. “It was a beautiful interfaith gesture. Our parish did such a small part in the work of RAMP. There have been so many others who have gone above and beyond to help this family.”

Boughton added, “It was exciting to have people of all faiths and ages sharing the gifts they had to make this come together. We made a house into a home. On a personal note, this was the first time I got to know Muslims. I spoke to a young woman who was volunteering and a father who came with his two young children.”

In addition to setting up the new apartment, RAMP has been working with the refugees to provide community orientation, identifying appropriate social services, educational assistance, teaching them English and finding transportation and medical care. RAMP also hopes to find employment for the family members. The father is skilled in many areas of construction; the mother is a hairdresser and the oldest son has computer programming skills. In the spring, RAMP is planning a pot-luck dinner for volunteers to meet the family.

According to RAMP, the first English words, the family spoke were “thank you.”

“The family has been eager to express gratitude after their extraordinarily difficult journey from their native Aleppo, to their three years as refugees in Turkey, to a true home here. The family, especially the mother, has truly fallen in love with their home here.”

Interfaith discussions and fellowship have always hit close to home for Father Murphy. He attributes the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City for this desire and passion to bring peace to the world. Father Murphy lost his brother, Edward, that day in the terrorists’ attacks. “Since 9/11, I always want to give honor to my brother. I don’t want my brother’s death and the lives of so many lost to bring about more violence and hatred but peace, love and understanding.

While the talk of helping refugees has become political lately, Father Murphy reminds all Catholics that helping those in need is what they are called to do. He invites the faithful to join in dialogue with the interfaith communities of Randolph, which are also co-moderated by Imam Wahyud Deen Shareef of the Islamic Center of Morris County in Rockaway and Rabbi Menashe East of Mount Freedom Jewish Center in Randolph.

Upcoming events that will take place are: a film screening on “Three Faiths, One Land” on May 11 at a site to be determined and a Holocaust Memorial Service June 6 at the Mount Freedom Jewish Center. Both events are at 7:30 p.m.

“Conditions in Aleppo are terrible,” Guzo said. “There is so much poverty, a lack of food and people need to feel safe. Try to put yourself in their situation and you can’t help but want to reach out.”

Read the full article at http://www.livedigitaleditions.com/article/Catholics+Join+Faith+Communities+In+Morris+County+To+Resettle+Syrian+Refugee+Family/2736261/392053/article.html.

Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here