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Help others ‘get the faith’ by sharing yours

Posted By January 27, 2017 | 12:59 pm | Local
1-20 Mending Bldg Book

Enter drawing for a book.

By Tanya Connor  | The Catholic Free Press

“At what point in your life did you really come to ‘know’ Jesus, and not just ‘know about’ him? What happened? How did this change your life?”
About a dozen members of different parishes in the diocese shared personal stories to answer these questions at an evangelization meeting held recently at St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury.
“Now, what does all this have to do with reaching out to inactive Catholics?” asked the meeting facilitator, John Boucher, a member of St. John Parish in Worcester.
Ann LaRoche, of St. Mary of the Hills Parish in Boylston, responded by suggesting that people share their experiences of Christ instead of holding back, “assuming they won’t get it.”
Inactive Catholics might not “get it” immediately, but sharing with them can plant a seed, explained Deacon Robert F. Dio, who serves at St. Peter Parish in Worcester.

 

– Mr. Boucher and The Catholic Free Press are teaming up again to give out copies of his latest book, “Mending Broken Relationships, Building Strong Ones: Eight Ways to Love as Jesus Loves Us.” To be included in a drawing send your name, address and phone number to editor@catholicfreepress.org

 

Mr. Boucher explained to The Catholic Free Press that this exercise helped people share their experiences of Christ in a “safe setting,” to prepare them to share such experiences with inactive Catholics.
He said Tuesday’s meeting was a followup to the 10-session evangelization training program he and his wife, Therese, gave last winter. People in the permanent diaconate program and others attended that training called: “SENT to Share God’s Mercy and Message: Intensive Training for Catholic Evangelization.” The Bouchers, natives of the Worcester Diocese, first gave the course in New Jersey and New York when Mr. Boucher was director of evangelization for the Diocese of Trenton, N.J.
The Bouchers are offering this program of prayer, presentations, readings, sharing and “people homework” again.
They are encouraging parishes to send a group of  parishioners so they all experience the same formation  and can work together.
Those seeking more information can contact Kathleen J. Barrett, administrative assistant for the diocesan Office of the Diaconate at kbarrett@worcesterdiocese.org or 508-929-4335.
Last summer, the Parish Renewal and Evangelization team, a subcommittee of the Diocesan Pastoral Council,  sponsored the first followup, Mr. Boucher said. PRAE sponsored Tuesday’s session, and is to sponsor future followups, he said.
The gatherings allow people to network and share what they are doing to evangelize and what is working, Mr. Boucher explained.
Tuesday’s discussion topic was: “How do our parishes reach out to inactive Catholics at Christmas and Easter?” but participants went beyond that in their sharing.
They said occasions that draw the most inactive Catholics to church seem to be Christmas, Easter, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Mother’s Day.
Dwain Robbins, co-chairman of PRAE and director of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Mary Parish in Uxbridge, said their pastor, Father Nicholas Desimone, asked active parishioners to park farther back in the church parking lot for popular Masses. He wanted them to leave the closer spaces for the “Christmas and Easter Catholics.” The pastor also asked them to move in in the pews, letting others sit there too, and to smile and greet people warmly.
“I’ve been 50 years in the parish,” Mr. Robbins said. “I used to refer to it as Our Lady of the Comatose.” But in the last several years “you can hear laughter; you can see people hugging each other.” He said he would like the Christmas and Easter Catholics to see that.
Mr. Boucher gave participants a list of suggestions for welcoming inactive Catholics. It included praying for them daily, asking them after Mass what they liked most about coming, inviting them back for a parish activity and listening to those who are hurting.
Reasons given for why many people don’t attend Mass regularly included moving to a new area and giving priority to children’s sports.
“Our kids and our parents don’t realize Mass is worship,” said Mrs. LaRoche. “It’s a personal encounter.” She asked how to help them have a personal encounter with Jesus.
Mr. Boucher and Mr. Robbins mentioned programs parishes in the diocese have used: Alpha, Light of the World and Christ Renews His Parish, as well as the Cursillo movement and the annual men’s conference.
Other helpful activities participants mentioned were a parish Bible study, small faith-sharing groups and giving out Christian books.

– Mr. Boucher and The Catholic Free Press are teaming up again to give out copies of his book, “Mending Broken Relationships, Building Strong Ones: Eight Ways to Love as Jesus Loves Us.” To be included in a drawing send your name, address and phone number to editor@catholicfreepress.org

 

In a world of broken relationships, here’s a book for you!

Worcester author John Boucher notes that “our country is on edge since the presidential election” and he feels that a book he and his wife, Therese, have written may be of help. “Mending Broken Relationships, Building Strong Ones: Eight Ways to Love as Jesus Loves Us” can help guide you through the process of reconcilation.
“Due to the extremely contentious nature of this election, strident disagreements have caused many broken relationships: evidenced by people blocking and un-friending close relatives and friends on social media, arguing at family meals, weddings and holiday celebrations…. Some family members did not join Christmas and New Year’s family gatherings for fear of facing off with opposing relatives…
“At their meeting in November, even the United States’ bishops recognized the pain and enmity we are experiencing. They contend that we need to work to heal these broken relationships.
“We believe that we Catholics need to revisit the deep wisdom of our heritage to mine the riches of personal relationships,” Mr. Boucher said.
You needn’t be upset by this year’s election process to benefit from this book. Certainly we all have relationships that could benefit from the healing balm of Jesus.
As reviewer Dawn Rusinko points out: “We can’t change people’s hearts, but God can. Our prayer holds the authority to break open the hardened heart so God can do his wondrous work. This book is great for the spiritually mature minded person as well as those just beginning their faith journey.”

To Enter: The Catholic Free Press has teamed up with the Bouchers and their publisher, The Word Among Us Press, to offer this book. To be included in the drawing, send an email to editor@catholicfreepress.org with your name, address, and phone number. Please include “Mending Relationships” in the subject line. We will announce one winner each week for 10 weeks. You need only enter once.

“Ever hopeful, this book will crack a ray of light even for those who feel there is no hope. ‘So take heart. You are empowered to build life-giving relationships that both imitate Christ’s life and connect others to Jesus.’ Not only did I find this book helpful for me but we recommend it for those who are involved in our ‘Scripture and the 12

Steps’ program….”  – Allan F. Wright
“We’re selfish, we make mistakes, and make decisions in our own best interests. Often that ends up hurting loved ones, destroying relationships, and alienating friends. We all need help. This book is that practical help for the Catholic Christian who feels the demand to love like Jesus, but doesn’t always quite know how to make it happen.”  – Marc Cardaronella

You needn’t be upset by this year’s election process to benefit from this book. Certainly we all have relationships that could benefit from the healing balm of Jesus.

The Catholic Free Press has teamed up with the Bouchers and their publisher, The Word Among Us Press, to offer this book that has applications to the many relationships in our lives.

– Mr. Boucher and The Catholic Free Press are teaming up again to give out copies of his latest book, “Mending Broken Relationships, Building Strong Ones: Eight Ways to Love as Jesus Loves Us.” To be included in a drawing send your name, address and phone number to editor@catholicfreepress.org