Evangelization

Marketing the Church requires local efforts, sharing Gospel

Irish Bishop Paul Tighe, adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, spoke March 10 at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. At right is Helen Osman, a communication adviser. Bishop Tighe said of the festival, “Despite all the sophistication, coolness, sarcasm and the irony at an event like this, I think if you speak with authenticity, there’s still a possibility of touching people’s hearts.”

AUSTIN, Texas — McDonald's, Apple, Starbucks and ... the Catholic Church?

In terms of recognizable organization names, the Catholic Church has to rank near the top. But, does it view itself as a brand to be marketed?

Taizé at Baptist Church in north St. Louis breaks down barriers

A Taizé service was held at New Northside Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis. The gathering began with prayer and song. Ramona Neumann, from the archdiocesean Offfice of Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs, spoke with Regina Franklin, center, and Pat McCarty during a group discussion about trust and fear.

Before Feb. 10, the two Catholics and three Baptists had never met. But after a Taizé service at New Northside Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis, they opened up.

When they broke off from the larger group to discuss trust and fear, laughter erupted a couple times as they learned a little about their differences and similarities. Other times they listened closely as each described struggles they've had and how those difficulties led to a stronger faith when they realized God was at their side.

Spanish-language ministry program helps church meet needs of Latinos

Carmen Dean, director of Latino ministry at Risen Savior in Burnsville, Minn., hugged University of St. Thomas president Julie Sullivan following a 2016 ceremony at St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity where 45 Latino students received undergraduate lay ministry certificates in theology from the university in St. Paul, Minn.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Andres Ramirez now has the theological background and formation to support his volunteer endeavors at Incarnation/Sagrado Corazon de Jesus in Minneapolis.

Ramirez, who doesn't speak fluent English, recently graduated with the first all-Spanish speaking cohort to earn an undergraduate lay ministry certificate in theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. The 45 students have attended lectures in Spanish on Tuesday nights since the spring 2014.

Evangelization may be key to getting more people at Mass

John Schwob, the "numbers guy" for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, offers one word to address the decline of Catholics' participation over the years.

"Evangelization," he said, succinctly.

The director of the Office of Pastoral Planning, Schwob churns out, mines and analyzes data in massive amounts. Virtually all of the statistics in the archdiocese run through him: demographics for a parish, an area or the archdiocese as a whole; enrollments for Catholic schools; plus, baptisms, first Communions, confirmations, marriages, offertories, Mass attendance and more.

SEEK 2017 inspires college students to evangelize on campuses

Young adults prayed at Mass as part of the Jan. 3-7 biennial SEEK conference in San Antonio, Texas. The event was designed to bring evangelization efforts to college campuses.

SAN ANTONIO — In need of reigniting the fire for his Catholic faith, Jeremy Martins found the flame he needed at SEEK 2017.

"SEEK is the log I was waiting for," said Martins, a junior at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. "It has been two years since a real encounter with Christ."

Sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles rehearsed songs in their new chapel in Gower, Mo., in February.

VATICAN CITY — 'Tis the season for a huge assortment of holiday concerts and carols to choose from, making Advent and Christmas a unique period for reminding people of the evergreen beauty of sacred music.

And music can be that gentle lure that helps welcome and embrace those who have become distant from the Church, said one liturgy and music expert.

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