Diocese of Youngstown Establishes Office of Evangelization
Friday, 15 March 2013 13:36

         For the past five years the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown has been involved in the study and implementation of a reconfiguration plan that has affected the vast majority of its parishes. During this time, the diocese has gone from 117 parishes to 87 parishes under the direction of the diocesan Office of Parish Plan Implementation. These parish mergers or collaborations have seen the hard work and planning of pastors, parish councils, and numerous other individuals committed to making each parish a stronger and more viable faith community.

In order to further strengthen our faith communities, today we announce the establishment of a Diocesan Office of Evangelization. The director of this new office will be Rev. Nicholas Shori and the Office will open on May 19, 2013, the Feast of Pentecost. The Office of Evangelization will be charged with finalizing any Reconfiguration plans still being discussed, including pending decisions regarding use of buildings, the dwindling number of priests available, and maintaining the integrity of the 2010 Reconfiguration Plan. The Office of Evangelization will also assume the serious task of raising issues not yet undertaken by Reconfiguration, including assisting and guiding all 87 parishes in their efforts to reach out to very specific groups often associated or unassociated with the church or spirituality.

The Diocese of Youngstown will address the following concerns:

  1. What are we doing to deepen the understanding of faith for the many who come to Church every week?

 

  1. How can we reach out to those who come occasionally?

 

  1. What can we do for those who love God, say they are spiritual, but do not associate with religion?

 

  1. How can we improve the involvement in Church for our youth, young families, and young adults?

 

  1. What are we doing to welcome back those who have lost interest in Church or been alienated from the church?

            The Office of Evangelization will be working with all parishes in an effort to help them understand the concern, determine which group(s) they need to focus on and what effort is more reasonable for that parish. Lastly, the Office of Evangelization will assist the parish in evaluating the success of their efforts. A number of parishes have already begun their outreach by adopting programs such as Engaging People as Disciples of Christ – Parish Evaluation Program (PEP) – Christ Renews His Parish – Generations of Faith – Catholic Men’s Fellowship – Awaken – Gospel Connects and Strong Catholic Families…Strong Catholic Youth. Each parish is free to pursue whatever effort it deems best for their need(s).

            Last October Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI convened the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to discuss “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of Christian Faith.” Benedict XVI has also designated this year as a Year of Faith. His call is a challenge to a greater commitment in strengthening and broadening the Church. Evangelization will be the effort to preserve those programs and activities that are productive, and by which non-productive activities are replaced. Additionally, evangelization will be the effort by which new and creative ideas are suggested to be a better Church in the service of Jesus Christ and all people.