August 29, 2022 | NEW MINDS
You may have heard the term “apologetics” before in relation to Catholic Evangelization. Apologetics generally refers to explaining to someone why Catholics believe what they do. You are making a defense of the faith to someone. St. Peter tells us to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15-16). There are a few different ways that we can do this. One of those ways we often do this is to give your testimony - to talk about the ways that God has moved in your life and you have experienced his love. To be able to Tell Your Story can help make the faith approachable for others - as often times their stories are not too different than ours and it might inspire or give hope. Sometimes though, people’s objections to the faith can be more intellectual than emotional or personal. They often just don’t understand how Catholics can believe what we do, or maybe they find that the Catholic faith seems to be at odds with science or modern culture. Or perhaps, when engaging some of our Christian, but not Catholic, brothers and sisters, they may have struggles with some of the Catholic teachings that are most commonly opposed or attacked. Bishop Fulton Sheen once said “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”In order to clear up some of this confusion of what the Church actually believes and why She believes it, the Church offers us apologetics - or simple ways to explain and defend the faith in the midst of misunderstandings. Many times, when people say that they don’t feel ready to evangelize, it’s because they feel like they don’t have the answers to all the questions that they may be asked by someone who they are in a discussion with. They don’t feel fully equipped to give a defense of why they believe what they do.There is such an overwhelming amount of beautiful tradition in the Catholic Church, it’s hard to know everything - and that's okay - as long as we know where to look to find the answers! . Here are three principles to remember.1. You don’t have to know it all.
You may have heard the term “apologetics” before in relation to Catholic Evangelization. Apologetics generally refers to explaining to someone why Catholics believe what they do. You are making a defense of the faith to someone.
St. Peter tells us to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
There are a few different ways that we can do this. One of those ways we often do this is to give your testimony - to talk about the ways that God has moved in your life and you have experienced his love. To be able to Tell Your Story can help make the faith approachable for others - as often times their stories are not too different than ours and it might inspire or give hope.
Sometimes though, people’s objections to the faith can be more intellectual than emotional or personal. They often just don’t understand how Catholics can believe what we do, or maybe they find that the Catholic faith seems to be at odds with science or modern culture. Or perhaps, when engaging some of our Christian, but not Catholic, brothers and sisters, they may have struggles with some of the Catholic teachings that are most commonly opposed or attacked.
Bishop Fulton Sheen once said “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
In order to clear up some of this confusion of what the Church actually believes and why She believes it, the Church offers us apologetics - or simple ways to explain and defend the faith in the midst of misunderstandings.
Many times, when people say that they don’t feel ready to evangelize, it’s because they feel like they don’t have the answers to all the questions that they may be asked by someone who they are in a discussion with. They don’t feel fully equipped to give a defense of why they believe what they do.
There is such an overwhelming amount of beautiful tradition in the Catholic Church, it’s hard to know everything - and that's okay - as long as we know where to look to find the answers! . Here are three principles to remember.
It’s okay not to know. We should do our best to be ready with as many answers as possible, but it’s also okay to tell someone that you will look up an answer and get back to them. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a great place to start - or you can always ask your parish priest for help - after all, they have studied these topics for years.
2. It’s not your job to convert someone
Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit. We can, and should, answer as many of the questions and objections that people have, but at the end of the day we can’t make them believe. Do your best in the conversation and then remember to pray for them.
3. Don’t kill the channels of communication
Rather than shouting someone down, or making them feel embarrassed because they were proven wrong, our goal should be to continue the conversation. By doing so, that may lead to more conversations where questions can be answered. If we set out simply to win the argument, sometimes we lose the opportunity for further conversation and witness.
Be on the lookout for our next series of posts that will help you begin to know the most common apologetics necessary for Missionary Disciples who are looking to share the good news with others!
All Things New
will examine all of our parishes, schools, ministries and agencies, evaluating our effectiveness as a local Church in proclaiming the Gospel and identifying opportunities for improvement and renewal.
The goals are:
To "make All Things New" by Gospel renewal in our parishes, schools and other ministry efforts
To enhance our evangelization efforts to those on margins of society
To secure a vibrant future for the Church in St. Louis
This initiative is in response to the call of our Lord to be missionary disciples, and to the Church's desire to "make
All Things New"
by the Power and Joy of the Gospel.
The Church and its people continue to evolve as society evolves.
The landscape of Catholic faithful in our archdiocese looks different today than it did even a few decades ago. This process will allow us to move our ministries forward to meet people where they are-spiritually and geographically-while remaining constant in mission and rooted in faith.
The purpose is to:
Reimagine how the Church serves her people throughout the archdiocese.
Foster viable, sustainable, and vibrant parishes and schools that support the evangelizing mission of Jesus Christ and His Church.
Ensure we are serving effectively and preserve the faith for future generations.
This process will affect the entire archdiocese. We began this process in July 2021 with prayer and listening, and will continue collecting data and feedback from various stakeholders-including our priests, deacons, lay leaders, consecrated religious, and faithful of all ages-which will inform the rest of the planning process.
This is a multi-year project, involving ongoing prayer, listening sessions, and collecting feedback from various stakeholders that will develop options for a strategic plan for the entire archdiocese which will be finalized by Pentecost 2023.
July 1, 2021: span Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski announced a new strategic planning effort that will examine all parishes, schools and curia offices and agencies in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Summer 2021: Data gathering from parishes and schools begins. Priests and Deacons surveyed. Focus groups held with ministries and stakeholders. Scripture, guiding texts and prayer unveiled the name, logo, guiding principles and goals.
Fall 2021: Presented and collected feedback for All Things New from Priests, Deacons, Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly, Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Curia, Elementary Principals and Presidents, Youth Ministers and teenagers, Young Adults, and Consecrated Religious.
January 25, 2022: All Things New is officially launched on the celebration of The Conversion of St. Paul.
March 2022: Disciple Maker Index is administered through the parish of the archdiocese. Parish and school data are analyzed. Current reality is assessed.
Summer 2022: Disciple Maker Index results are shared; draft modeling begins; draft of parish planning process is completed.
Fall 2022: Listening sessions at each parish to receive input and feedback on draft models.
Winter 2022: Discernment and refinement of models.
Pentecost 2023: Archbishop Rozanski announces the plan for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Summer 2023: Pastors and parish leaders begin preparing for implementation.
The initiative is planned for a two-year time period in order to allow for prayer to root and ensure the proper time for discernment, consultation, and the refinement of models based on the feedback collected. It is vitally important to Archbishop Rozanski, priests and diocesan leaders involved to ensure plenty of time for listening and consultation with the people. With 178 parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, this requires time for listening as well as adequate time for analysis and refinement.
The data and feedback from various stakeholders-including priests, deacons, lay leaders, consecrated religious, and faithful of all ages will guide the planning process for evangelization. While we are not yet in a place to make decisions regarding structures, we anticipate a significant impact on our current blueprint and will address immediate needs as they arise.
Each pastor was asked to recommend up to five parishioners to serve as Key Parish Leaders and one Primary Point of Contact. Collaborating with the pastor and councils of the parish, these Key Parish Leaders serve as ambassadors to their fellow parishioners concerning All Things New. The Key Parish Leaders of every parish have four primary responsibilities:
Publicize and support the All Things New planning initiative in their daily interactions so that as many people as possible are invited to participate.
Refine the description of their parish provided by the All Things New leaders so that the baseline for discussion about future change is as accurate as possible.
Participate in parish listening sessions within their planning area and give feedback regarding future models of parish life.
Support parish listening sessions to inform parishioners about the pastoral planning initiative and obtain their feedback on future models of parish life.
Please note: the Key Parish Leaders do not have any role in creating the draft models nor do they have the responsibility to make any decisions.
The faithful will be invited to take the Disciple Maker Index survey starting Ash Wednesday, March 2 through April 4, 2022. This fall, listening sessions will take place to hear ideas and concerns.
The All Things New initiative has multiple workstreams each with various subcommittees that are helping to guide the conversation and discernment process.
The following subcommittees already engaged in the process:
Archdiocesan Pastoral Council
Deans of the Archdiocese
Archdiocesan Council of Priests
Ministry Team Advisors and Archdiocesan Officials
Archdiocesan Finance Council
Professional Advisory Board
School Advisory Task Force
Young Adult Subcommittee
Youth Ministry Subcommittee
Social Justice Subcommittee
The Disciple Maker Index (DMI) is a web-based survey that is accessible through an online link that your parish will provide between March 2 and April 4, 2022.
The Disciple Maker Index (DMI) is a web-based survey that is accessible through an online link from your parish between March 2 and April 4, 2022. Each parish has a unique link that will be shared closer to the launch of the survey. The survey takes between 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey can be completed on a computer or via a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet. A paper version of the survey is also available to download in more than 10 languages.
The DMI will also be accessible through the All Things New website. A dropdown parish selection menu will allow you to select your parish which will connect you to the unique parish link.
Note that this survey will only be active during March 2 and April 4, 2022.
It is important we hear from you. It is recommended that you use the unique parish link for the parish where you most often attend Mass. If you do not feel affiliated with one particular parish, the All Things New website will offer an option on parish dropdown selection menu for "Unaffiliated with a Parish".
Archdiocesan-wide and parish-specific results will be available in summer 2022. Parish-specific results will be shared individually by each parish, and the collective results for the entire Archdiocesan will be shared on the All Things New website and through other archdiocesan mediums. This data is being used to determine how each parish and the archdiocese as a whole can "make All Things New" by Gospel renewal, enhance our evangelization efforts and secure a vibrant future throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis for future generations.
Each pastor and his designated parish team will receive the results in May 2022. After the results are reviewed and understood, each parish publishes their results to parishioners in Summer 2022.
Archdiocesan-wide results will be available on the All Things New website. The results will be sent to parishes as a handout for parishioners in Summer 2022.
After the conclusion of the public comment period, all of the input provided by priests, deacons, school administration and lay faithful will be considered in order to finalize . Once finalized the recommended models will be presented to Archbishop Rozanski by those who have guided the All Things New initiative. The final recommendation will be the product of more than two years of prayer, discernment, consultative work and numerous iterations. The announcement will be on Pentecost, May 28, 2023.
Yes, Catholic schools are being considered as part of All Things New, and school leaders have been engaged in the planning process. This initiative will affect the entire archdiocese. Archdiocesan Catholic elementary schools and high schools are a direct ministry of individual parishes or grouping of parishes and play a vital role in parish life. The Office of Catholic Education and Formation and the School Advisory Task Force is poised to support and assist as needed with local decisions.
Yes, however it is not known at this time which ones. There is a plan to create a plan. This is a consultative process. The feedback received during the listening sessions in the fall of 2022 will help to determine new models, including the structures, for parishes and schools. Additionally, the Archdiocese will engage in a process to objectively evaluate the physical condition of all the buildings in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Finally, buildings need to support the ministry of the parish, and the Sunday Liturgy is the center of our lives as Catholics.
As part of the ongoing strategic process for All Things New, the Archdiocese will be hosting listening sessions for each parish throughout the fall. Parishioner participation in these sessions is critical to helping shape the future of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Yes. Canon Law limits the number of Masses a priest can offer. Our declining number of priests is one of the reasons why we will have fewer Masses. Having fewer Masses will ensure that each Mass is well-attended, which contributes to that vibrancy. This is keeping with our archdiocesan guidelines, which say that the attendance at any Sunday Mass should not be less than 50 percent of the seating capacity of that church. The Mass is the source and summit of our lives as Catholics, so we want to gather as a community for the Eucharist.
Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI) is working with the Archdiocese of St. Louis to assist with the creation and leadership of the All Things New planning process. CLI is a non-profit apostolate that works with numerous dioceses nationally and internationally, helping bishops to build diocesan teams, training parish leaders, and assisting in the development of strategic plans. Because of CLIâ€™s skills, its focus on evangelization, and its knowledge of the Church. CLI has supported processes like this in other dioceses and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this important initiative.
Information regarding All Things New is available at
and will be updated as the process continues. Special editions of The St. Louis Review and Catholic St. Louis magazine will be published during the initiative. Parishes will publish articles and updates on topics related to All Things New through their communication mediums such as the bulletin and website. Become a subscriber through the All Things New website to be among the first to receive updates via email. Follow the Archdiocese of St. Louis on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.
The Synod on Synodality is a two-year process of listening and dialogue beginning with a solemn opening in Rome on October 9 and 10, 2021 with each individual diocese and church celebrating the following week on October 17. The synodal process will conclude in 2023.
Pope Francis invites the entire Church to reflect on a theme that is decisive for its life and mission: "It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium." This journey, which follows in the wake of the Church's "renewal" proposed by the Second Vatican Council, is both a gift and a task: by journeying together and reflecting together on the journey that has been made, the Church will be able to learn through Her experience which processes can help Her to live communion, to achieve participation, to open Herself to mission
There is a working subcommittee making sure that All Things New, the Synod and the Eucharistic Revival all align with one another. Some of the principles of Synodality; listening, discerning and participation, align perfectly with the All Things New Initiative and the conversations we intend to have.
As part of All Things New, every parishioner in the Archdiocese will be provided an opportunity to provide feedback via a survey sent out March 2, 2022 called the Disciple Maker Index, as well as participate in one of the 356 listening sessions we plan on hosting throughout the Archdiocese next fall. Some of the other principles articulated by the
that also align with All Things New:
Dimensions to Consider
Planning is Permeated in Prayer
Planning ministry is Focused on Fruitfulness---What is our vision/goal
Effective Planning is Rooted in the Teachings of Our Faith and Supported by Foundational Pastoral Practices
Effective Planning Develops a Culture of Encounter and Trust
Effective Planning Requires Training of Leaders
To lead ourselves instead of being led by God
To focus only on our own immediate concerns
To see only "problems"
To focus only on structures
To not look beyond the confines of the church
Giving into conflict and division
To view the discernment process as a "parliament" with sides pitted against each other
To listen only to the highly engaged
The first guiding principle of All Things New is unceasing prayer, so it aligns beautifully with the Eucharistic revival that will be taking place over the next few years throughout the United States and here locally in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
We have already posted resources for Adoration that focus on our personal encounter with the person of Jesus, and our call to go out and make disciples! The pillars of the Eucharistic Revival also align seamlessly with All Things New. They are:
Foster encounters with Jesus through kerygmatic proclamation and experiences of Eucharistic devotion.
Contemplate and proclaim the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist through the Truth of our teaching, Beauty of our worship, and Goodness of our accompaniment of persons in poverty and those who are vulnerable.
Empower grassroots creativity by partnering with movements, apostolates, parishes, and educational institutions.
Reach the smallest unit: parish small groups and families.
Embrace and learn from the various rich intercultural Eucharistic traditions.
We will keep you updated through our newsletter about scheduled events and other developments regarding the Eucharistic Revival.
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