Evangelization Sunday

Cardinal Sean has designated today “Evangelization Sunday,” when Catholics throughout the archdiocese are hearing about the launch of the “Catholics Come Home” program.  

The Boston Globe covered it in their article, “Archdiocese campaign targets once-faithful,” where they quoted Cardinal Sean saying, “Every Catholic can be a minister of welcome, reconciliation, and understanding to those who have stopped coming to Church.”

According to this article in The Pilot, “The first ever Evangelization Sunday will be celebrated in the archdiocese Jan. 23 as an effort to introduce churchgoers to Catholics Come Home, a nationwide program the archdiocese is launching over the coming months to bring lapsed Catholics back to Mass and the practice of the faith.”

Here is a video of Cardinal Sean’s homily, which he asked to have played in all parishes in the archdiocese today.

Here are some excerpts from The Pilot article:

Archdiocese of Boston Secretary for Faith Formation and Evangelization Janet Benestad said Evangelization Sunday is a chance for Cardinal O’Malley to “invite Catholics in the archdiocese to reflect on people they know who have fallen away from the Church and invite them back.”

Nationally, the Catholics Come Home program has been running in eight dioceses and resulted in an increase in weekly Mass attendance. The Diocese of Phoenix saw a 12 percent increase (about 92,000 people) as a result of the program, and in the same span, the area had a roughly zero population growth. The Diocese of Corpus Christi saw a nearly 18 percent increase.”

Catholic officials will be launching the Boston version in an archdiocese where weekly Mass attendance is at 17 percent. New England is the most unchurched region in the United States, according to a Gallup poll released in February 2010. The poll revealed that only 29 percent of Massachusetts residents attend a church or synagogue weekly.

Benestad did not give a quantifiable goal that the archdiocese would like to reach to label the initiative as a success.

“For us, a success would be that people return to our parishes,” she said. “In the Northeast, so many people are Catholic.” .

Though we wish the archdiocese would do a better job of practicing what they are supposed to be preaching and take more dramatic steps to model a Christ-like evangelical culture starting at 66 Brooks Drive, it is still very good to see that the archdiocese is taking at least some steps to promote evangelization and reverse the steady decline in Mass attendance.  We also think it is a good idea for faithful Catholics to always be inviting friends or family members back to the Catholic Church.

The initiative relies heavily on television and radio ads, which are not inexpensive, and apparently the initiative has only a few hundred thousand dollars to support those ads, which gets burned through very quickly in a major metropolitan area like Boston. The sooner they tackle the program we outlined to save $2 million annually by chopping back the excessive six-figure salaries and ending the so-called “vigils” at closed churches, the more funds they will available to fund evangelization and advancing the mission of the Catholic Church in Boston. (How is that new Compensation Committee doing anyway?)

All cynicism aside–if you can believe that is possible from BCI–bringing people back to the Catholic Church is about salvation of souls and helping people get to heaven.  So do not do it just because Cardinal Sean asks you to. Rather, if each person reading this blog invites just two people they know back to Church, you could be a catalyst for them to turn from darkness and come to see the light of Christ.  Who knows, maybe you will play a role in God’s plan for the salvation of their soul, and yours as well!

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37 Responses to Evangelization Sunday

  1. CAM says:

    It is good to see this focus on evangelization, but shouldn’t its launch have been some other weekend? This Sunday’s homily should have been about abortion.

    • catholic Data Nerd says:

      CAM -

      The Gospel yesterday was perfect for the work of Evangelization. It referred to Jesus calling Peter and Andrew (like Cardinal O’Malley called you and me). It then asked them to “cast out the nets” like we are being asked to do. The readings were perfect for Evangelization.

      So I think they picked it for the readings.

      I agree that it’s never perfect timing with anything. Yesterday evening kicked off the pro-life march and yesterday was also the end of a week of Christian unity that the Church celebrates.

  2. Priest Just Wondering says:

    I thought his talk was well done, BUT, I was wondering why he opened it with a story about a Capuchin and not a Priest of the Diocese of Boston say like Fr. Clark who worked in the Minor Seminary for years then went to do wonderful work in Peru. Or our own Bp. Bob Hennessey. Once I got beyond that, I used his example of the Gospel and called the people in the pews to be the Peter, Andrew, James and John to go out and be the New Apostle to invite people to “Come Home.” I pray it works.

    • catholic Data Nerd says:

      Priest Just Wondering -

      I thought Cardinal O’Malley just used a story that was personal to him.

      The Holy Spirit and the Holy Father chose to send a Capuchin Friar to be Archbishop of Boston. Is it that concerning that he uses stories from his experience. Ever think THAT Capuchin spirit and spirituality is part of God’s plan for all of us, including diocesan priests?

      I think the work of the St. James Society is wonderful and I admire the priests that serve in it. I just think the work of Capuchin missionaries is equally wonderful and Cardinal Sean shouldn’t be criticized for sharing stories from his life in a homily that he gives.

  3. Fr. D says:

    Come back to me with your whole heart…..and don’t forget the checkbook.

    • May Jesus Chrisst Be Praised!
      I agree with the thoughts of Fr.D. The Church is not giving the Catholics who are active the real meat of what the Church has to offer them in Christ. This is the reason so many are leaving. Is Father Sean needing more money so that he can allow the ‘professional Catholics’ on the Diocese payroll to keep there six-digit earnings?

  4. Former Employee says:

    This is a pretty good program, maybe it will bring back some of the 20% that Fr. Chris Coyne stated that the Archdiocese expected to lose during the reconfiguration process (I wish I could find that quote).

    Although I wonder if maybe the plan is to drive away the Faithful Catholics and get a whole new crop that they can hookwink.

  5. Michael Cole says:

    “The Church is not giving the Catholics who are active the real meat of what the Church has to offer them in Christ. This is the reason so many are leaving.”

    When I – and other Catholics – posted the same thing here a few months back, we were told to shut up. We were told that our posts had nothing to do with the purpose of this blog.

    I guess some are welcome here and others aren’t. Interesting.

  6. Predictable says:

    I was very turned off by the presentation. I think the fact that it stated they needed donors to support the ad campaign is telling of the continuation of mismanagement. Why embark on a costly campaign without the funds to do so? Would it be acceptable for me to spend money on myself and then seek out the funds to cover it? No, I have to live within my means. The Church should do the same.

    I love my parish. Our pastor is an exceptional man who lives a good, simple life. I am so tired of prepackaged, artificial representations of what religion is supposed to be.

    • catholic Data Nerd says:

      Predictable – My read on the presentation is that they are asking every Catholic to pray, invite, welcome, and support the commercial ads. One of the reasons our Church struggles locally is we had so many nuns and priests that did all the work and created a laity that expected the Archdiocese or the parish to do everything. This is different in other parts of the country and world.

      Getting people to spend a little (or invest) might help people actually take a first step toward helping people home. Then perhaps they’ll invite. Then welcome someone to a parish or introduce themselves to someone that looks like they might be new. Then perhaps pray together and work together for the Church.

      Is your parish overflowing with Mass attendees or can you also reach out to some of the 99 sheep that Cardinal O’Malley referred to yesterday?

  7. Anna says:

    I was out of town this weekend.

    Did anyone mention the elephant in the room or did they pretend it didn’t happen?

  8. theophilus says:

    I support this program.As in the parable of the Lost Sheep, Christ would do the same and obviously wants us to likewise.Hopefully the motive is pure and that this is about saving souls, and not increasing income. I understand they want to be warm and welcoming, but since the faithful are being asked to extend the invitation to the Eucharist, isn’t there a spiritual duty to mention and extend an invitation to Penance as well.The person may have been in serious sin and, at the very least has been missing Mass, so they need to confess before receiving. Shouldn’t this be made clearer for the spiritual welfare of the person returning to church or it is assumed that they already know that? I think a gentle reminder would have been called for: “We love you. We want you to come home. Be freed and fully forgiven, and join us at the table of the Lord,with your family where truth and kindness kiss”

    • catholic Data Nerd says:

      Theophilus – From what I’ve heard, they are launching this program in Lent in conjunction with The Light Is On For You, so that reconciliation is part of the the outreach and the welcome.

  9. catholic Data Nerd says:

    This BCI blog has been writing for months about the need for the Archdiocese to focus more on helping people grow in holiness and hoping for more action on the real work of the Church – leading people to Christ.

    How come BCI couldn’t simply promote the initiative and save the criticism for another post?

    Given all the problems this blog has pointed out since last Summer, I’m sure it wasn’t easy for those whose task it was to implement Catholics-Come-Home within the Chancery. And the director of Catholics-Come-Home passed away 2 weeks ago.

    I would have thought that BCI would have been more supportive.

    • DBP says:

      Dear “catholic Data Nerd” – you appear to have a lot invested in the “Catholics Come Home” program, since you posted four replies to comments of people other than the blogger, and then a response of your own to the blog post itself. Hmmmmm…..

      At any rate, I’d like to invite you to re-read the post itself (not the comments – they’re independent of the blogger). When I read your comment I went back and looked at the original post again, because I had thought that BCI had been supportive, not critical of the initiative.

      Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the blogger begin with quotes about the program from the Boston Globe and the Pilot (from which much is later excerpted), and isn’t the video address included in its entirety?

      In point of fact, the only thing that could be considered ‘criticism’ in the entire posting is a single dependent clause in the first paragraph after the excerpts from the Pilot article, along with the next paragraph’s suggestion that the archdiocesan leaders could find some of the funds required for the initiative if they’d only heed advice given earlier.

      I think you owe BCI an apology. The blog article is extremely supportive of this program (certainly much more so than I); any objections you may have to criticism of ‘Catholics Come Home’ should be directed towards the commentators, not the blogger(s).

      By the way, is the small “c” in “catholic” juxtaposed with the capitalized “Data” and “Nerd” indicative of anything?

    • Catholic Data Nerd,
      Thanks for your comments, and DBP, thanks for yours as well. Indeed, we are supportive of the program and supportive of focusing on the work of the Church, and we did not intend for our post to come across as critical of the program. This writer made a cash contribution to the program yesterday because this writer hopes it succeeds. The Cardinal also made it rather clear in the video that people could contribute to the program and the funds would be used only for the advertising, and we believed him. It actually took us quite a while to figure out how to embed the Vimeo-formatted video of the Cardinal’s talk in WordPress so BCI readers could watch it here, lest we direct them to another site and they would not follow the hyperlink and leave without watching it.

      I agree with what DBP said about our post, and am wondering if you might be interpreting the comments as skewing the tone of the blog post, which often happens around here. We quoted what we thought were some of the best passages from the Globe and The Pilot, and also posted the video. We said it is very good to see that the archdiocese is taking steps to promote evangelization and reverse the steady decline in Mass attendance, and we encouraged faithful Catholics to invite friends or family members back to the Catholic Church, which was a key message of the video and the main goal of the programs.

      We are also saddened by the recent tragic death of the director of the Catholics Come Home initiative and asked people to pray for him.

      That all being said, we struggle to understand why such an important initiative as this would be under-funded by the archdiocese, while people like Mary Grassa O’Neill make $325K/year in salary from the archdiocese on top of her $75K+/year state teachers pension, Beirne Lovely makes $300K, and they and their colleagues make in combination over $1M more than other dioceses pay for comparable roles. Catholics Come Home could have $75,000 more to spend on advertising to bring more souls back to the Church if Grassa O’Neill alone were paid the exact same amount as the New York and Los Angeles public schools superintendents who have vastly more responsibility. And they could have $1M more to spend if other salaries were brought in line and maybe as much as $2M if they lowered salaries and ended vigils at closed parishes more than six months after the Vatican turned-down final appeals.

      We have written to Cardinal O’Malley with our suggestions, Jack McCarthy, Vice Chair of the Finance Council, and members of the Cabinet. No response. We have not one whit of evidence that any action is being taken in this regard (besides an amendment of the Finance Council charter), or will be taken within any predictable timeframe.

      We said objectively that the advertising is expensive, and the sooner the archdiocese cuts excessive six-figure salaries and ends the so-called “vigils” at closed churches, the more funds they will available to fund evangelization and advancing the mission of the Catholic Church. Our intent was to encourage the archdiocese to work on saving money so there would be funds available to support programs like this. That was not criticism of the CCH program.

      We regret if our post caused anyone to conclude that we were not supportive of this program.

  10. Jack O'Malley says:

    I must admit I am “tempted” to “come home” to the novus ordure church based on this campaign. Then again, I’ve always been a sucker for cheap media ads. I actually bought a Veg-o-matic.

    I am within walking distance of at least seven parishes and I will “come home” when they all offer traditional masses and sacraments and O’Malley (our peripatetic prelate and besandled “prince” of the Church) has personally exorcised them of the residual Reformation demons of their protestantized “services”.

    That means yes to altar rails, no to altar girls, yes to real priests celebrating a real bloodless sacrifice at real altars ad orientem, no to phony presbyters presiding as glorified barkeeps for a communal eat-and-drink fest, yes to gregorian chant and sacred polyphony, no to Schiller’s Ode to Joy as orchestrated by Louie Beethoven and that egregious eagles’ wings caterwauling, yes to Communion kneeling on the tongue (if you don’t like kneeling on your tongue the Piskies (at least those non-disgruntled non-ordinariate types) will welcome you and your sodomite extended family and bless your aborted progeny with their new infanticide sacramentary), yes to maniples, no to proddy frocks.

    Yes, I’ll “come home” when my grandchildren can be adopted by good heterosexual Catholic families should the need arise, when they can be educated in the traditional Catholic Faith uncontaminated by the agenda of bigoted buggers, when my family can be admitted to a Catholic hospital in an emergency without a fetus being poleaxed in the adjacent OR, when the Cardinal Archbishop dries his superabundant tears and proclaims the Word and Sword of Christ against the might of the pagan State, when it is no longer shameful to be a Catholic in Boston. O’Malley has undermined all of that. He ought to be ostracised by the outraged Faithful.

    If Pat O’Malley (no relation, propter hanc felicitatem Deo gratias continuo ago) can’t manage that without yet another lacrimose outpouring, then in Boston the Church Militant is just the Church Poltroon.

    What about it, Pat? When are you going to act like a Prince? You’re not papabile so what have you got to lose?

    • Little Red Hen says:

      Mr. O’Malley — you live within *walking distance* of *seven* parishes? Goodness me, where is that?

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Well, that was a slight exaggeration, though I do walk a lot. It gives me a chance to say a Rosary or two for the restoration of the Church. So far it’s not working.

        But in South Boston there are St. Brigid’s, Gate of Heaven, St. Monica’s, St. Augustine’s, Our Lady of Częstochowa, St. Peter’s, Sts. Peter and Paul’s, and St. Vincent de Paul’s.

        Sts. Peter and Paul’s was shut down under the previous regime of Bernie (“after Boston there is only heaven”) Lawless, the archpriest of Santa Maria Maggiore, who earned his heavenly sinecure by allowing pedophiles and homosexuals to run rampant among the ravaged innocents. And per ukase of the current cardinal and his chancery oligarchs, St. Augustine’s was “suppressed.”

        What ought to be suppressed are the mercenary miscreants in charge of the Brooks Drive kremlin.

  11. Jack O'Malley says:

    Oops – that should have been “novus ordo”. Fringsian slip?

    • Chris says:

      Well, Jack. Tell us what you really think!

      A very good priest told me it was perfectly correct to criticize Cardinal O’Malley in his official acts, but then as a Catholic I had a duty to pray for him, because he has a very heavy burden. (The implication was that archdiocese was beyond all human help.)

  12. Priest Just Wondering says:

    I’m still WONDERING. If the contributions received do not cover the cost of the Program, (which by the way I do support) will Parishes be ‘taxed’ for the shot-fall??? I bet they will!!!

  13. Priest Just Wondering says:

    Jack O’Malley.

    You took a chance with “Veg-o-matic” PLEASE take a chance and “COME HOME”.

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      Priest Just Wondering,

      I gotta tell you, Father, the veg-o-matic was a perfidious and quasi-heretical contraption that crushed tomatoes rather than slicing and dicing them. My faith in “truth in advertising” was shattered beyond repair. ;-)

      But I’d “come home” except that after a novus ordo service, I feel sliced, diced and crushed. And I don’t blame that on the priest’s sermon. Errr, I meant, presbyter’s homily. I still haven’t got the post-V2 lingo down right.

      • Former Employee says:

        You should head out to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes and try their Novus Ordo, from what I understand it is very reverent.

        Yes, this Parish does also offer the TLM, but I point to the Novus Ordo because it is the form in question.

        In fact if it is as reverent as reported it points to the restoration of the Extraordinary form as having the affect that the Pontiff hoped form (influence the new form to lead to a more reverent form of worship).

        Actually that brings to mind O’Malley’s blatant lie on his blog telling people the Etraordinary Form was to bring back a few schismatics…..man did he hear it when called on that one.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Former Employee,

        I went to the TLM there a couple of times in the past but it’s just a disruption to a typical family Sunday to travel to a 12:00 mass and back. Though I understand the TLM has now been moved to 10:30. Better, but O’Malley should make the True Mass available at every parish in his bailiwick. He won’t of course. And he’ll shed no tears for it.

        I think you are probably right about MIOL’s novus ordo — I really can’t imagine Fr. Higgins celebrating any rite with anything other than extreme reverence. I do have some hope for the TLM’s aura enriching the novus ordo – but I think that that rite is fatally flawed. Bugnini and his freemason and protestant conspirators wrought their havoc well. I was going to add that the Good Friday prayer for the Jews should be restored as well, except that I haven’t ruled out converting to Judaism myself. I understand that covenant is still valid in our age. I pray conditionally to Cardinal Cushing and Stanley Blinstrub for discernment. Conditionally because we are not altogether sure where Dick Cushing finally wound up. He was, after all, a Southie guy who considered becoming a politician. Stan is probably running a nightclub in the nocturnal precincts of the olam ha-ba. Simon and Saul probably show up on a Sabbath eve for a jar. And who could blame them?

        I’ve got to search the cardinal’s blog for that remark. To give O’Malley the benefit of the doubt, I think that JP2′s so-called “indult” was designed to do just that, i.e. recoup some of Lefebvre’s SSPX customers. You don’t get to be pope without a sense of where the revenue stream is coming from. But that was another ball that JP2 dropped. Spit upon the Missale Romanum but kiss the coran. Santo subito without the Devil’s Advocate. A miraculously cured nun dubiously diagnosed. Pardon my scepticism.

        But O’Malley is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal and I expect nothing from him. He ought to be celebrating a Solemn High Mass every Sunday in the cathedral; instead he puts the second-class TLM Catholics in the basement. Maybe if they learned Creole, he’d let them crawl out of the catacombs every once in a while if they’d consent to wash.

        There is only one solution to all of the problems that BCI so assiduously documents. Restore the Mass. Restore the Sacraments. Restore the Church. Ripara la Mia casa che come vedi, è tutta in rovina.

        Simple. Too simple to be understood by a so profound a liberal as O’Malley.

      • q says:

        Uhhhh… again Jack. You attack Priests who manage Parishes well, but praise MARY IMMACULATE?????? That Parish is being run on $6 million taken from the Cemetery Fr Higgins is supposed to administer. It is not a poor Parish, but is losing massive amounts of money.

        Offertory is OK, about $4,000 per week, but SPENDING on operations is about $10,000 per week, and the OPERATING deficit is $1 million every four years. The Cemetery sold some of its land, and the Cemetery money is now funding some pretty out of control spending.

  14. TheLastCatholicinBoston says:

    Dear Jack,
    You rock.

  15. Priest Just Wondering says:

    Dear Jack:

    I read your well-written comments and I am truly impressed. At the same time, I “read” a saddness in your heart and soul. I will continue to pray for you. May I suggest the next time you walk by one of your 5-6or7 churches you go in and sit before the Lord with a truly open mind, heart and soul. Let Him speak to your being. When you speak of the “Liturgy” don’t get caught up in anything except the Precious Word of God in Sacred Scripture and the Precious Gift He gives of Himself, His Sacred Body and Blood. My life in the Priesthood for many, many years would be so empty without those two wonderful, peaceful and gracious gifts. Oh, how I love Him and His Gifts. I also hear that “love” in your writings. If you are truly ‘away’ then PLEASE “Come Home”.

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      Dear Priest Just Wondering,

      Thanks for that, Father. I truly appreciate your prayers and have copied your comment and saved it. I will pray for you too. I really can’t tolerate the novus ordo yet…..

      In a strange sort of way, I think I am home, never really having left. But while the family inside the house are bickering and acting like a bunch of crazed snake-handling charismatics, I think I’ll just camp out in the back yard for the time being. It’s actually not bad sleeping under the stars. The cosmic canopy gives you a sense of the infinite majesty of God. It’s the only mystery (i.e. sacrament) left after the bugninization of the Mass.

      I have on occasion dropped into the Arch Street Chapel during my excursions into town but there is a barrenness there that leaves me cold. As for the parish churches, they are locked during the day. Confession? Make an appointment during non-golf hours. Communion? Some liturgical lady mouthing “boddya Christ” while you palm the wafer. Another epicene gentleman with a flagon of wine for those Byzantine wannabes. It’s really too buffoonish to endure. Sic transit gloria Christi.

  16. Interesting as the discussion is about readers’ perspectives on TLM vs novus ordo, we here at BCI feel obliged to remind readers that BCI is probably not the best venue for that discussion, given our focus on much more mundane matters like archdiocean mismanagement, failed governamce, corruption, and deception.

    Those who want to discuss TLM vs novus ordo will no doubt find other blogs that focus on liturgy to be better-suited to that discussion.

  17. TheLastCatholicinBoston says:

    Dear BCI,
    Jack’s observations are far more than entertaining. I think he speaks like he walked out of the church in 1968 and is waiting to return. I was carried into a church for my infant baptism in the 1960′s and only since Pope Benedict XVI have i fully realized the true destruction since V2. We need men like Jack with wit and wisdom to counter the effeminate bozo baby boomer reformers in high and influential places.(see the usual suspects found at BCI) The Vatican’s initiative to require that local bishops offer The Latin Mass in their diocese at the request of the faithful is huge.

  18. Jack O'Malley says:

    Dear BCI,

    Sorry to keep this going but I can’t resist commenting on LastCatholicinBoston’s comment. Besides, as some guy named Fr. Zee (Fr. Zed in transpontine English) quotes “save the liturgy, save the world.” I’m content with “save the liturgy, save the Church” but I’d be the last one to knock hyperbole.

    Dear LastCatholicinBoston,

    Actually I sort of went “out in the cold” (i.e. sleeping in the backyard, metaphorically speaking) about 1966 — so yours was a good guess. If O’Malley ever sees the light and offers a TLM in his cathedral, I’d be in the line to kiss his ring and take back all the jibes I’ve made. Of course, I’d prefer he lose the sandals but let’s work on one thing at a time.

    And “effeminate bozo baby boomer reformers”! That was priceless! ROTFL!

    Thanks for the kind words too.

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