SCRANTON – Evangelization is all about spreading good news. As people of faith, when we evangelize, we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others so that they may respond to His invitation as well.
Unfortunately, research has shown that on average, 95-percent of parishioners haven’t completely welcomed Christ into every aspect of their life.
As a way to help parish leaders find ways to help others give their “Yes” to God, the Diocese of Scranton Office for Parish Life sponsored a ‘relit’ training course July 29-30 at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. Several dozen people attended the program.
“What I really want them to see is what a beautiful thing it is to evangelize and then give them the basic tools to be able to do it,” presenter Michael Dopp said. Dopp is the founder of Mission of the Redeemer Ministries and the New Evangelization Summit.
During the interactive course, Dopp said simple gestures can make a big difference for a parish.
“It starts with the way that we think about our faith. Our faith isn’t just for us. Our faith is meant to be passed onto others,” he explained.
He urged those attending to speak about what God has done in their life, about who He is and His plan for each of us.
“The crucial thing for a parish is to understand what it exists to do. A parish is there to evangelize and therefore every ministry within the parish is there to serve that mission,” Dopp added.
Father Mark J. DeCelles, Assistant Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima and Saint Nicholas Parishes in Wilkes-Barre, attended the ‘relit’ training.
“It’s about relighting that fire, that enthusiasm, to help us remember what we have to offer is Good News, what we have to offer is an invitation to what will truly satisfy us,” he said.
He appreciated the ‘relit’ program because it allowed him to take the good work his parish is already doing and discover ways to be even more effective.
“We all have gifts. We all have things that we can share,” Father DeCelles added.
Carla Preate, Pastoral Council President at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton, also participated in the ‘relit’ program.
“You have friends and family that have fallen away from the church and you try to get them to come back but it doesn’t seem like you’re doing the right thing or you’re getting through to them,” she said.
Preate said she looks forward to taking what she learned back to her parish community.
“I would like to expand this course out to others in the parish, get more people involved in the process of this new evangelization to bring former Catholics back to church,” she added.
Programming and events coordinated through the Office for Parish Life are made possible, in part, due to gifts and donations made to the Diocesan Annual Appeal.