September 6, 2019

Evangelization and Catechesis Supplement

Office of Evangelization helps parishes ‘go and make disciples’

Members of parishes throughout central and southern Indiana listen and take notes as Tim Glemkowski of L’Alto Catholic Institute presents on evangelization during a workshop sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Evangelization on Oct. 27, 2018, at St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus. (File photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Members of parishes throughout central and southern Indiana listen and take notes as Tim Glemkowski of L’Alto Catholic Institute presents on evangelization during a workshop sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Evangelization on Oct. 27, 2018, at St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus. (File photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

“Go and make disciples” (Mt 28:19) were the final words of Christ to the Apostles. The passage is known as the “great command.” It places upon each Christian the duty to spread the Good News of salvation to non-Christians (evangelization), and to Christians either lapsed or lacking in faith (the “new evangelization”).

Helping parishes live out this call is the task of the archdiocesan Office of Evangelization. Three parish evangelization leaders throughout central and southern Indiana agree: “They always come through for us.”

‘Ready to help in any way’

When it comes to parish evangelization efforts, no one knows their community’s needs better than members of the community itself.

“Oftentimes, we’re working with leaders, both paid and volunteer, who know their parish and community best,” says Ken Ogorek, who helps coordinate the archdiocesan Office of Evangelization with Father Patrick Beidelman, executive director of the Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization. “Our collaboration with local leaders consistently bears good fruit through a combination of their knowledge and love for their neighborhood and community and our support.”

One such volunteer leader who reached out to the office for help recently is Matt Hooker of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis. He is a member of his parish’s evangelization team.

“It’s one thing to be on fire with the Holy Spirit,” he says. “It’s another completely different thing knowing that the Office of Evangelization stands ready to help in any way possible to ensure the success of our efforts.”

He says with their guidance, “our committee was up and running in no time.”

With continued assistance from the archdiocesan office, Christ the King’s evangelization team has launched several efforts.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve called [Ogorek or the archdiocese’s evangelization office] needing direction, and by the end of our conversation I’m on the path to success,” Hooker says. “It’s great to know that all that’s necessary is to pick up the phone and they’re available. They always come through for us.”

The same sentiment is expressed by Megan Rust, parish catechetical leader for St. Paul Parish in Tell City.

“I know in times when I’ve felt overwhelmed or exceedingly unqualified, a call to them has put me back in perspective,” she says. “They’re a wonderful support team, just amazing in what they can do and how they can help us.”

‘Keeping us engaged’

In 2018, the office reached out to parishes encouraging and offering guidance in forming parish evangelization teams.

That fall, they hired L’Alto Catholic Institute to offer a workshop at St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus for parish evangelization team members and anyone interested in promoting evangelization in their parish.

The workshop helped Diane Sutton, an evangelization team member at

St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis, “see the big picture of evangelization and how important it is in our individual faith life, and how that carries over into our parish life.”

Ogorek says that through a parish evangelization contact list created by University of Notre Dame ECHO apprentice Theresa Inoue during her two years with the office (which ended in June), parishes are now kept informed “of the best Catholic evangelization resources,” and of other opportunities offered by the Office of Evangelization.

“If not for the communiques coming from the evangelization office, there are a lot of things we wouldn’t be aware of,” such as webinars and conferences, says Gaye McKenney, president of the parish pastoral council at St. Joseph Parish in Shelbyville. “We’re very grateful to them for being on point all the time and keeping us engaged. We use what they send out as inspiration and make it fit for what our needs are and what we can handle.”

McKenney cites one resource from the office as having “great traction”

in the parish’s evangelization efforts. With input from parishioners throughout the archdiocese, a tool called “10 Things We Want You to Know About the Catholic Faith” was created to evangelize about the faith (available at www.archindy.org/yearoffaith/10things).

“We have a booth at the [local] farmers market and pass it out there, and at the [local] Friday business exchange,” she says. “It’s amazing the number of Catholics we’ve had who are divorced but not remarried who stopped going to Mass because they thought they weren’t of the archdiocese.”

Four years ago, the office launched an annual “Morning with Mary” event open to all. It takes place each October, with its location moving among parishes in central and southern Indiana. This year it will take place at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods near Terre Haute from 9 a.m.-noon on Oct. 5.

And one final update Ogorek is pleased to announce: “We are in process of hiring a coordinator of evangelization and discipleship for the Office of Evangelization.

“We were blessed to have Theresa as our ECHO apprentice for last two years,” he says. “She laid some good groundwork for this ministry. The hope is for the new coordinator to start in the fall, pick up where Theresa left off, and keep the momentum going.”
 

(For more information on resources offered by the Office of Evangelization or guidance in parish evangelization efforts, go to www.archindy.org/evangelization or contact Ken Ogorek at 317-236-1446 or toll free at 800-382-9836, ext. 1446.)

 

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