Parishes need to reach out to inactive Catholics, priest says

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Father Frank DeSiano, CSP
Father Frank DeSiano, CSP

More than 120 pastors, parish and Camden Diocesan staff, evangelization teams, and parishioners took part in a New Evangelization training workshop on March 4 in Sicklerville, hearing from a national speaker on how to become “missionary” and “inviting” parishes.

Father Frank DeSiano, CSP, president of Paulist Evangelization Ministries who, for more than a dozen years, has served as a consultant for the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Evangelization, spoke at the all-day training workshop at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, asking “What can we do to attract people to our churches?”

Using national statistics to demonstrate the “challenge and urgency” for the Catholic Church in reaching out to inactive Catholics and the unchurched, Father DeSiano encouraged parishes to become more effective at welcoming and hospitality, and treat visitors with “love, and meet them where they are,” said Andres Arango, director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Camden.

After Father DeSiano’s talk, there was time for group discussion and a question and answer period.

Bishop Dennis Sullivan, after the well-received talk, said to the leaders in the workshop, “I think we are now on fire to evangelize.”

Attendees “really enjoyed the workshop,” Arango said.

“It was very helpful for the leaders. It doesn’t matter what it is our ministry in the parish. Everything we do, we have to do it with evangelization in mind.”