The US bishops recently published a document on the New Evangelisation: Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelisation. Towards the end of the document are some very helpful ‘parish reflection questions’. These questions would be an excellent springboard for parish reflection and discussion on how to improve our formation within parishes. How would you parish respond to these questions? How can we “re-propose” Christ to people this year?
Diocesan and parish leadership are encouraged to reflect on the following questions as they prepare pastoral plans aimed at “re-proposing” Christ to the faithful and inviting our brothers and sisters to the Lord’s Table:
• How does the parish community provide people with opportunities for a personal encounter with Jesus Christ?
• In addition to offering sound catechetical instruction in the teachings of the Church, to what extent do faith formation programs have as an objective fostering a personal relationship with Christ?
• What does the parish do to help people deepen their prayer life?
• How has the parish recruited, formed, and supported individuals to be evangelizers through the witness of their lives?
• How are pastors fostering the consciousness of the laity to be evangelizers in the modern world?
• How do pastors engage people during “teachable moments,” such as Baptisms, weddings, and funerals?
• Are there faith formation programs on how to pass down the faith for parents, grandparents, and godparents?
• Are there faith formation programs for adolescents and young adults on how to share their faith with others in college and in the workplace?
• How are pastors supported in their vocation to evangelize?
• Are there ongoing faith formation programs for pastors on homiletics?
• Is there instruction for pastors and parish leaders on how to use social media to reach people?
• What parish-based pastoral programs support people in their everyday lives? Are there programs for the newly married, new parents, divorced, grieving, and unemployed?
• How has the diocese and parish promoted the New Evangelization?