January 10, 2020

New evangelization resource shares 10 habits of discipleship

Mercedez Vincens, left, and Domingo Lopez, both members of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis, kneel in prayer with other Catholics from throughout central and southern Indiana during the April 16, 2019, chrism Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Mercedez Vincens, left, and Domingo Lopez, both members of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis, kneel in prayer with other Catholics from throughout central and southern Indiana during the April 16, 2019, chrism Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Sharing the Gospel and making disciples of all nations is the mission of the Church in which all the faithful have a part to play.

The archdiocesan Office of Catechesis has produced a resource to help Catholics across central and southern Indiana to do just that in their daily lives.

“10 Things That a Disciple of Jesus Does” is a resource available in English and Spanish that archdiocesan director of catechesis Ken Ogorek describes as a “conversation starter” that can hopefully help people grow deeper in a “disciple relationship with Jesus.”

Included among the habits of discipleship in the resource are “A relationship rooted in prayer”; “Embrace the cross”; “Will you let me be your servant?”; and “Be bold—for the glory of God.”

The new resource follows up on one created by the office in 2013, “10 Things We Want You to Know about the Catholic Faith.” It is intended to build on the knowledge of the faith that the first was intended to open people to.

“Lately, I think a lot of Catholics are focused on the fact that, without a strong sense of disciple relationship with Jesus, even the good doctrine can just seem like interesting but odd facts about God,” Ogorek said. “So, what we’re seeing now is an effort to retain the doctrinal clarity that we’ve gained in recent years while helping folks cultivate a strong sense of having a real disciple relationship with the living Jesus.”

Both resources are the fruit of parish and deanery meetings held across the archdiocese where members of various parishes could share their thoughts about the faith.

For the new resource, meeting participants were asked to answer questions about how their own disciple relationship with Jesus has made a difference in their lives, and what they see in the lives of others that lets them know that they are disciples of the Lord.

“Really, the result is the resource that we have,” Ogorek said.

Although made available only in November, 4,000 copies have already been sent out to parishes across central and southern Indiana. Two parishes included it in books that they gave out to people attending Mass during Advent.

More than 50,000 copies of the first resource have been distributed in the six years that it has been available. Although it can be given out in mass quantities or shared in social media, Sean Hussy sees it being most effective at a personal level.

“My hope is that ordinary parishioners have this in their homes and can give it to somebody that they know,” said Husssey, archdiocesan coordinator of evangelization and discipleship. “I think that’s where it can have the most impact. I hope that this resource and the habits described in them can be small steps toward walking with Jesus.”

He also hopes the new resource can spur small changes in people’s lives that grow over time.

“Hopefully, they’ll be able to pick up on at least one of these things as a habit in their lives,” Hussey said. “It doesn’t have to be a significant change in our lives right away. But the small habits that are outlined well in this resource will really help any person in his or her ordinary life to follow Jesus.”

In his position, Ogorek has a certain sense of pride in knowing that Catholics across central and southern Indiana know the faith and embrace it enough to produce the new resource and the first one.

“For me, it’s a healthy reminder that Jesus is the teacher,” Ogorek said. “When we focus on the authentic Jesus of sacred Scripture and sacred tradition, not only do good things tend to happen, but there’s a beautiful consistency in what people will say about Jesus and what they witness to about their relationship with him.”

Many commercial Catholics publishers have materials that can be used to help share the faith. But Ogorek emphasized the importance of sharing the Gospel in ways that are fitted to the place where people live.

“There’s always a personal and maybe even a local witness dimension to evangelization,” he said. “That’s why we felt that, in addition to all of the great resources that are commercially available, we wanted to give the people of our own archdiocese a chance to weigh in.”

Ogorek said he hopes the resource will be a way for Catholics across the archdiocese to reach out in positive ways to unchurched people, Catholics alienated from their faith and practicing Catholics as well.

“People can disagree or argue about a teaching you might share,” he said. “But nobody can disagree with your witness. This resource is more of a witness to the difference that having a relationship with Jesus makes in our lives. In that regard, I think it’s a great conversation starter.”
 

(To view “10 Things a Disciple of Jesus Does,” visit www.archindy.org/habitsofdiscipleship. Readers interested in obtaining copies of the resource should contact leaders in their parish.)

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