Friday, October 30, 2009

How Evangelizing is Your Liturgy?

How evangelizing is the Mass at your parish? Since Mass is the primary contact we have with most of our adults, it is a prime opportunity to form the assembly about what it means to be Catholic and about the mission of the Church. In short, it is an opportunity to reinforce their identity as disciples of Jesus Christ.

It's sometimes easy to dismiss the frequent attitude that some people (especially the young) express - that they don't like coming to Mass because it's boring and they don't "get anything out of it." Certainly, one response is to ask what they contributed to the Mass (how much did they participate?) but that is not always the only issue. How are members of the assembly enabled to participate? How does the community assist them? How formative is your ritual experience? And what about easily available catechetical opportunities (for example, what materials do you make available for them to reflect on the lectionary readings before or after Mass?)

In preparing for the Catholics Come Home initiative in our area - high-quality commercials to draw people back to the church which will be airing in December-January, I have not only been gathering resources to help parishes serve the people who may return to the Church, but items that will assist parishes to evaluate themselves so they can be the best they can be.

One of my favorite checklists is from Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association (PNCEA) - it's called "Expressing Our Love for Christ: Full and Active Participation in the Mass Checklist for Leaders" and I have it posted on our website at This tool helps parishes look at their liturgy, from gathering to sending forth, through the lens of evangelization.

Take a look - and think about what goes on at YOUR parish every weekend. There's always room for improvement.

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