From July 1-4 2017, representatives of the National Council of Catholic women attended the USCCB Convocation of Catholic Leaders.  There, they participated in inspiring plenary sessions, uplifting liturgies, and engaging breakout sessions.  

Our NCCW representatives were spread out among all of the breakout sessions at the Convocation and  produced write-ups regarding each of the sessions they attended.  Please read below to learn more about the discussions that went on at this fruitful event, and to learn some takeaways for the NCCW.

Barbara Gagliardi
Break-out Session: 
Family Life 
catholics are simply not familiar with our beautiful teaching on the family
• almost all couples ask after hearing the church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality say “why have i not heard this before!”  
• needs to taught in natural family planning such as couple to couple league
• there is a fear that we are imposing too difficult a life style on couples
• we are short changing and causing great damage to our young couples by not teaching and challenging them to live the truth
• we are saying that we don't think you can achieve holiness  
• it's too hard don’t even try      

present landscape
• loss of a relationship with god as primary source of issues
• narcissistic cultural • people are very adverse to any suffering
• youth think of themselves as the creator rather than the created
• millennial have heard it all and it is all bull
• lack of trust even in god
• no understanding of sacramental value of marriage 

the elephant in the room
• complete and utter silence on church teaching from pulpit
• culture has forgotten how to have a stable family life
• third generation of divorced
• no spirituality in the home 

fix the problem
• need to break the silence and provide authentic powerful teaching on sex
• the challenge is to be a self gift not self gratification
• real love wills the good of the other
• people are hurting and they need the truth  
• we have 200 years of truth that works
• we need to love them enough to care about their soul
• call them to be saints and stop sinning by using contraception/sterilization
• continue marriage prep for 5 years after wedding day
• sacrificing for the other developed the character needs to deal with the normal struggles of life 

Break-out Session: 
“Nones" 
• where is the thirst for god
• 50% of millennial no longer call themselves catholic  
• 80% leave by 21
• 90% leave by 30 
• for every one person who becomes catholic  six people leave  
• language matters  
• what do we mean by "i am catholic”
• believe and live the the faith in every aspect of your life
        • prayer  
        • devotion  
        • family  
        • moral choices  
        • daily behavior  
        • trials
        • rejoicing    
• nomads are people who wander from church to church
• prodigals are people who experience great tragedy and return to god
• nones have no connection with god church community 

the role of practicing parents is vital  
• when speaking to children call a spade a spade  
• the disaffiliated are not just immature or shallow  
• they are not just going to protestant church to be entertained but to be challenged  

where do you encounter the nones
        • the internet
        • the gym is where the personal focus is  
        • when god is out of your life your body becomes the focus  

young people are hungry  
• authenticity is the word  
• young people can tell when people's are hypocritical
• the majority are not angry or antagonist
• their lives say missing something
• they are not just a group but individuals 

the greatest lie is that this is someone else's work  
• the nones think the church is distant exclusive and judgemental
• we are the mentors
• religion is actually a good thing
• do you believe you need the church  
• we offer a relationship to a living god  
• no one else can offer that  

Bev McCarvel
Breakout Round A: Going Deeper into the Landscape
                                                                                            
Dialogue, Relationships, and Encounter: The Ecumenical & Interreligious Landscape

Ecumenical relationship –

  • look to marriages
  • ·need to be relational to one another not just words but action
  • ·need to know who we are as Catholics –
  • We are all in the same human race

The information we all get is from the media – be it positive or negative

Theological? – we should answer this – teach this

People really want to know more. Answer their questions.

We (catholics) need to believe we are doing good. We are open to answer even other faiths. We have healthy relationships with other religions.

 We should reach out!

 

How do we see interrelationships in our communities?

  • Help millennials
  • Fellowship building
  • Must share our faith – need to believe in ourselves
  • Walk together on campuses with other faith leaders
  • To be Catholic is to be fully inclusive of all!

Clarification------conversion is of our own hearts, not about conversion of other religions to ours.

  • Find a mutual goal to bring folks together
  • Love Jesus together

IDEA – Priest goes to apartment building – does Mass, listen to confession, bring registration form, find out who needs 1st Communion

What needs to be changed to move forward?

  • Black parish & white parish, churches of other faiths – should participate together (form relationships) very important!
  • STOP focusing on what’s different & focus on our sameness
  • Do not correct each other but understand each other
  • Put in bulletins – “all people are included”

 

 

Breakout Round B: Going Deeper into the Peripheries

Reaching the Margins in Rural America

The Catholic church today is in maintenance mode. We need to be in mission driven mode.

  • We need to take ricks
  • We need to go out of our comfort zone
  • We need to develop leadership
  • Have listening sessions in every parish across the Diocese (Rapid City Diocese did this)
  • Confirmation students – do they understand what God is calling them to?

IDEA – show a movie on the wall outside the church then firepit and have smores and a question-answer time from the people (pretty soon the who neighborhood will be coming)

All cultures have something to give to us, something we can share with each other

Practical Strategies Beyond the Convocation                                                                                     
Missionary Discipleship and Business Leadership

  • The person not the dollar is at the heart of the business    
  •  We have tax advisors, investment advisors for our business BUT do we go to daily Mass     to take time to take care of ourselves?
  • Employers must have ethics and virtues
  • Be wise as serpents & confident as doves
  • Live your faith at work
  • What are our gifts?
  • Is this what God is calling me to do?

Stewardship – do I see myself as a steward or a business owner?

Bernadette Corso
The Reality of Singleness in the Church

In the average parish setting, there is usually more of an emphasis on married families, and less so on single people.  There are many single people in church communities who feel alienated and confused because of the nebulous nature of their state in life.   It is important for those in parish groups and those who lead councils to recognize the unique opportunity that reaching out to single people more provides.  Single people provide a unique opportunity for service, as they do not have the typical restrictions and responsibilities that families have.  It is critical that we welcome singles into our communities, and make them feel that they do have a place in our groups. 

There is no such thing as the “single life” in the Church, as the Church is a community.  We are all united through our common Baptism, which ultimately is a call to the Eucharist, and this unity must be emphasized in all our communities.  There should be resources provided in our groups that allow singles to participate more actively, considering their daytime work schedules, but also providing opportunities for service that they can participate in at a greater level of commitment than a married person with children.  We should make more of an effort to build programs and provide resources that are relatable and compelling to issues that single people deal with, from all generations.  It is in this way that we can access a demographic that has the potential to make a great impact on our church communities for a long time.

Understanding the Transition from Youth to Young Adulthood: The Growing Periphery

In our lives, periods of transition are the most testing for our faith, and this is especially true for young people in the transition between youth and young adulthood.  Young people are leaving the Church at earlier and earlier ages, and it is critical that we address this issue.  The biggest challenge facing youth and young adults in transition is the “crisis of affiliation”, as they are transitioning between communities (ex. campus ministry to parish community).  Young people struggle to find where they “fit” during this time, and it is important to reach out and welcome them so that they will want to become a part of their respective faith community. It is extremely important to help foster inter-generational relationships with young adults, as many of them will have only interacted with peers their age in a campus ministry setting or school. 

Another issue that young adults are dealing with are lack of opportunities to work in the Church.  There are many passionate students who get Theology or Ministry degrees who cannot find jobs or positions of leadership in the Church, due to older generations not providing openings for them to enter.  Older generations need to recognize that working with young adults does not threaten their own ministry, but gives them the opportunity to bring up the new leaders of the Church who will carry on their work. Opportunities for leadership with a lot of mentorship should be provided in parish, council, and faith ministries, and there should be a place reserved for a young person in a leadership group.  We should also reach out more to social media, as young people believe strongly in the power of their online communities, so it can be an extremely effective evangelization tool.  Finally, we should approach young adults as “seekers”, wondering and curious about the Church, and be open to “radical hospitality”—meeting them where they are and having honest conversations with them about common struggles.  This will allow us to connect with them in a way that will help them to grow and bear lasting fruits in their community.                            

Laudato Si: Practical Strategies for Caring for God’s Creation

It is truly a turbulent time as a Catholic, as our society continues to become more and more polarized along political, cultural, and moral lines.  Even among Catholics themselves, the conflict between “social justice” vs. “pro-life” groups continues to intensify.  It is critical that we recognize, as Catholics, that we are called to a “unity” of morality, and transcend human divisions to the ultimate Truth.  In Pope Emeritus Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate, he speaks to a “grammar of creation” (Benedict XVI, 2005), in which all of creation is ordered toward the good, the true, and the beautiful.  This order encompasses all issues of morality, from human life and sexuality to protection of creation. 

                Ultimately, we are not owners, but stewards of creation, and it is our moral obligation to protect God’s creation for the well-being of our environment and the impact it will have on our posterity.  There is a cultural shift in these times due to the “technocratic paradigm”, which changes our attitudes towards creation through technology. Instead of working with creation, we look for what we can get out of it, since we are used to instant gratification through ever-advancing technologies.  Laudato Si is an act of evangelization that looks to the questions of the works and provides Christian answers, charging that unbridled human power is the ultimate source of the suffering of our environment.  Pope Francis encourages us to embrace a “spirituality of poverty”, one that recognizes that we don’t really own anything, but that everything we have is a gift from God. 

                The beauty of the family structure, also known as the “economy of the family”, was created by God for the good of man.  As an institution which is so attacked during these times, it is critical to remember that questions of the family impact not only social, but environmental issues as well.  When we live with others as part of a family, eating, working, and living together, we are reducing our carbon footprint as well!  Currently, we live in a time of increasing isolation, separated by computer screens.  We need to get used to reaching out more and living closer with others; not only can it help our environment, but it can be joy-filled!  There is an inherent joy in simplicity—if you’ve ever asked anyone the question “Do you have too much stuff?”, the answer is always “Yes!”.  If we live simpler, more sober lives, we can have a positive impact on the environment and grow in holiness and joy.

References:

Benedict XVI. (2009, June 29). Caritas in veritate. Retrieved July 18, 2017, from http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate.html

Francis. Laudato si. (2015, May 24). Retrieved July 18, 2017, from http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

Jean Kelly
A 10: The Catholic Landscape at Colleges and Universities

 

 There are 5,498 campuses and 38% have Catholic Campus Ministries.  ¼ of all students are Catholic.  In 2016 it was reported that 22% are going to Mass weekly. 

In answering the Synod questions, 414 answered from 36 universities.  45% said they are having trouble with relativism and secularism, sex and peer pressure is the norm, hook ups are expected and they feel they are living a double life.  They are seeking meaning in community, crave intimacy and want lifelong relationships and tips on healthy relationships. At USC they have found that to reach the students, they have offered retreats, personal follow up, discipleship training, small groups and a student leader.

There is a field of opportunity for NCCW.  Contact your local college campus ministry and offer to join NCCW as a college affiliation.  We have a retreat and much more. 

 

B18:  Catholic Healthcare:  Ministering to the Spiritual and Physical Needs of all People

 

Nurses are being told to check their consciences at the door or told not to have one.  80% of the population is cohabitating, and contracepting.  Euthanasia is legal in 6 states

We need to return to where medicine is a ministry.  Catholic institutions are in need of the New Evangelization.  We must evangelize society by coaching and helping doctor offices to be Christ centered and dependant on God’s love through healthcare and bring the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy to the culture of life. Catholic Teaching Clinics have been used (ex. Green Bay) and Healthcare Sharing is a possible option. 

Members of NCCW should sign up with Human Life Action. . Be a voice for the voiceless, Text Lifeto474747.  Participate and promote Take Action Sunday Contact your a/dccw Pro Life or Repect Life groups and support them.

 

C10:  Missionary Disciples in Solidarity with the Suffering Church

 

The suffering church is when the church feels like it doesn’t have a voice.  They feel like they have been abandoned by organizations and groups.  How do we create community and unity?  By facing conflict head on.  Pope Francis says Christianity is the most persecuted industry. 

US Catholics have a tremendous responsibility.  The vast majority that helps refugees are Catholic such as the USCCB, CRS, Catholic Charities, and Knights of Columbus.

The Pew Research Center reports 79% of all people live in countries that persecute.  When you see the suffering church – love first and ask questions later.  Nothing impacts them more than to walk with them in their suffering. 

NCCW members can continue to partner with Catholic Charities, CRS and other organizations to help the marginalized.  Sign up to receive alerts regarding the HR390 bill and keep informed.  

Joan Walker
Break-Out Session A-22

The Landscape of Parish Life and Catholic Ministry Today

 Parishes are putting new wine into old wine skins; we need to look at new ways to reach out to people and then prevent disillusionment when they attend.

A growing number of Catholics are leaving the Church; parishes and organizations are looking for ways to bring them back. 

 The most striking example came from a gentleman who founded Paradisus Dei, a men’s group that began meeting at his parish on Sunday mornings at 6:00 am.  Asked why he thought anyone would attend at such an hour, he replied that he had visited the Men’s Group at a nearby Pentecostal church that met at that time and 70-80% were fallen-away Catholics. 

 Several people in the session spoke of the seeming lack of concern they have found in parishes for Hispanic groups and other minorities.  Regardless of efforts being made, their perception is that they are being left out. 

 Another group that is disillusioned in today’s Church is young adults, who are asking questions and not getting answers that satisfy.

 Break-Out Session B-22

Who’s on the Peripheries in Our Local Parishes and Communities?

 Panelists shared these facts and ideas:

 The parish is a family of families (Pope Francis)

We should know each other and care for each other

 Jesus’ method of evangelization was to reach out, call, form, and send

 People today do not know Jesus – we should evangelize rather than catechize; help people establish a personal relationship with Christ, then they will want to learn more about the Church

 Introduce Jesus in various ways; be relational (not just facts and rules) - never accept a label in place of a story: everyone has a story; listen and accompany, share stories

Young adults especially want to be taken seriously and listened to.  Listening helps someone put their story into words.  Talk to them one-on-one; tell them what they are doing right, not what they should do or are not doing.

 There are 8 million Catholics now in Evangelical churches

Only 14% of millennials attend Sunday Mass; their children are not being catechized.  This is a crisis situation.

 Is it beneficial to change Sacramental Preparation from age-based to when a child (teen or adult) is spiritually ready?

 Break-Out Session C-9

Communicating the Church’s Vision of the Human Person & Human Sexuality

 The human person is composed of body, mind, and soul.  We express who we are through our bodies.  God made us for love and we are fulfilled only when we live according to his plan for us.  When we do that we find the greatest happiness.

 Every virtue is a share in Jesus’ virtue.  We want to increase our charity toward others, seeing them as God sees them; to be pure as Jesus was pure in heart and mind.  To grow in virtue we must pray and practice.  God’s grace helps us as we make the effort to increase in virtue.

 Our young people are very confused about who they are.  In Catholic language we are beloved children of God. No one should be described by their sexual attractions or by their physical attributes. 

 A college application has 20 choices for gender, male or female are not included. 

 The Church offers programs to help parents and schools to teach children starting at a young age a healthy respect their own bodies as well as others.  

Judy Brose
Addressing and Understanding the “Throw Away Culture” (Breakout Session Round A on Sunday, July 2, 2017)

Bishop Brendan J. Cahill (Diocese of Victoria), Dr. Matthew Bunson (Catholic Distance University), Marianne Luthin (Archdiocese of Bostgon), Meg McDonnell (Women Speaks for Themselves and I Believe in Love), Adam Ureneck (Pennsylvania and Drexel University), Bishop Jorge Rodriguez (Archdiocese of Denver) were the panelists for this breakout session.  The “throw away culture” in our society ignores and neglects the unborn, the elderly, those with disabilities, those on death row, and the homeless.   Young people can evangelize to the peripheries who are forgotten and ignore by going on mission trips in their communities to visit the elderly, visit the disable, feed the hungry and have clothing drives for the homeless and pregnancy centers.   

The Silent Voices: Reaching Out to the Victims of Violence, Abuse, and Trafficking (Breakout Session Round B on Monday, July 3, 2017)

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor (Diocese of Little Rock), Mary Beth Hanusm LMHP (Archdiocese of Omaha), Sharon A. O’Brien, PhD (Catholics for Family Peace Education and Research Initiative), Dr. Joseph White (Our Sunday Visitor), Laura Yeomans (Catholic Charities), Deacon Fred Molina (Human Trafficking Task Force), Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio (Diocese of Brooklyn) were the panelists for this breakout session. hrist present on the peripheries, reaches out and gives people courage to speak.   This session discussed the need to listen to and support victims of violence, abuse, and trafficking to help them find safety and healing as part of a call to missionary discipleship.  After listening to the panelists, we broke into small discussion groups for discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing the Catholic church. National Human Trafficking Hotline number: 1-888-373-7888.

The Life and Dignity of the Human Person: Strategies for Promoting and Living Catholic Social Teaching. (Breakout Session Round C on Monday, July 3, 2017)

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann (Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS), Bishop Steven J. Raica (Diocese of Gaylord, Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei, SV (Sisters of Life), Deacon Omar Gutierrez, MA (Holy Family School of   Faith Institute), Dr. Kristin Witte (Catholic Relief Services), David Wilson (Asset Health) were the panelists for this breakout session.   When we embrace the Church’s social teaching on respect for human life, we are more capable of helping people and communities in changing lives for the better.     Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei. SV discussed    three Spiritual strategies to live out social teaching: 

  • Anchor your life in Christ
  • Create a culture of Mercy
  • Foster a contemporary outlook

It was a spiritual, powerful, and joyful experience sharing our Catholic Faith with other Catholic Leaders from around the country. 

Judy Brose, Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas

Resources: Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America Program Book and the 2017 Convocation App.   

Laura Dodson
A16:  The Landscape of Popular Culture, Media, and News in the United States

 This break out session identified many wrongs in the culture that media is portraying and promoting:

the pop culture is often at odds with gospel values and encountering Christ; the breakdown of the family; the fear of the stranger; escalating violence; failure of political leaders to come together for greater good. The media promotes secular progressive principles; is biased to attack religious freedoms and liberty; sees us as counter-cultural/irrelevant to the nation and popular culture; the reluctance to cover news that is good; the church is not portrayed as Christ-like; social media gives only the partial story, not the whole truth; the news is “fake”, inaccurate; has a mistrust of institutions; no civility or respect and not reported accurately.  

Suggested solutions: Dialogue and identify where the pop culture is receptive to the joy of the gospel; identify the challenges of personal resistance and where there are positives - see opportunities. Increase the opportunity for silence rather than constant noise.  Unfortunately, we Catholics are mirroring the world rather than our Catholic values.

NCCW should be very much aware of and consistently reflect/mirror our Catholic gospel values rather than the popular culture. We should use social media to build community and to reach out to the peripheries.

 B2: Marginalization of Motherhood: A Growing Periphery

 Pope Francis was quoted as saying, Motherhood is a descriptor of the Church and it’s a Church that sees itself as a mother. The Church is as marginalized as motherhood.  We do not value woman, we do not value children – we do not value motherhood. Roe vs. Wade destroyed the value of children and women and the marginalization persists. The economy kills – there is greater exclusion, inequality and external threats. Violent masculinity marginalizes women.

The word sacrifice was heard repeatedly – it was sad to realize the degree to which women and men consider parenting a sacrifice. The prevailing attitude was that grandparents had raised their children and shouldn’t be expected to raise others. The marginalization of children persists, pervades the culture and will continue to devalue women if the attitude prevails.

NCCW needs to raise up the role of motherhood, model Jesus’ love and invitation of children. We must be aware that we are not modeling the prevailing negative attitudes of the culture.

 C21: Growing by Attraction: Evangelization Through the Beauty of the Word of God

 Each panelist spoke about listening to the Word of God in Small Christian Communities preparing to experience the Sunday Mass. Everything flows from the Word of God and every meeting/everything should begin with lectio divina – which then leads to mission – responding to the Word of God. How can we know Jesus, if we don’t know the Word of God – the Word made flesh? Lectio divina is an incredible encounter with the Word of God. Reiterated multiple times and by the Apostolic Nuncio as well, “Most Catholics don’t know they can listen to God speak.”

NCCW should promote lectio divina at all meetings and encourage its members to join in small groups to reflect on the Sunday readings – it might also be a wonderful way of increasing membership.

 

Maribeth Stewart
Convocation 101-Engaging the Vision -Organizational and Institutional Leaders

Though we are passionate about Church, we need to make better connections; we need to share.  The Rule of Saint Benedict teaches us to “Listen with the ear of your heart.”  Our actions are motivated by our heart; not our intellect. We need to light a fire in the world. 

We have had generations of sharing faith traditions.  We need to work to create a new paradigm of what it means to be Church; to be aware of the Holy Spirit and find ways to share that.  We need to discern how to share that gift.

It is easy to see the connection to NCCW:  What is our unique role in the Church and what challenges and opportunities does this present to us? How do we communicate a sense of missionary discipleship to our members?

 

Breakout Session A:  A-20  Illuminating the Landscapes and Challenge According to Evangelii Gaudium

 

Jesus called us to be His Witnesses but the context of witnessing changes over time. Our present context is that of the New Evangelization; proclaiming faith with a new ardor.  Part of today’s context is individualism which reduces faith to a sphere of private opinion.  But the world needs one single objective point of reference.  We must not just pass on the teachings of the faith but the experience of living the faith with an understanding of why our faith makes sense.    “Missionary Discipleship” means that we need to be well formed. 1) Know your world and your mission field.  2.  Be aware of how we are all victims of cultural trends.  3)  Realize the importance of your daily encounters with others.

Takeaway for NCCW:  We need to lead with genuine joy, understanding that our own formation and attitude reflect the joy of living the Gospel message to all we encounter. 

 

Breakout Session B  B-6  The Feminine Genius: The Role of Women in the Church

Women cannot use their full set of skills in the Church so it is less relevant to young women.

Vatican II saw women as influencers of Society. Women’s Advisory Group at the Vatican makes suggestions but few are adopted. We need the fullness of conversation on what women can do.  The woman’s perspective is necessary; it is different from that of men but is complementary.  Bishops need to consult women as experts on the issues of today.  Women are natural evangelizers but women need to feel invested and feel that their contributions are heard and valued.  

NCCW Takeaway:  NCCW needs to continue to promote its strong unified voice as the platform for American Catholic women and we need to continue to strengthen the awareness of our American bishops of the value of NCCW.

 

Breakout Session C  C-1  Evangelii Gaudium at the Parish:  Revitalizing the Local Community

Parishes can be the most significant opportunity for change in the community but we don’t make our parishes all they could be.   Parishes need to come close to the people and invite everyone to come close -not just a certain clique in the parish. 

We don’t offer a clear path to a personal relationship with Jesus.  Jesus is the Church but kids can’t find Him so they go to evangelical churches.  Examine the infrastructure; stop focusing on content.  We have content.  Hire specialists with proper formation and modify our process.

We are firm believers but we don’t give witness.  Need everyday evangelization in our parishes. 

Takeaway for NCCW:  Offer programs that are of interest and use to parishes.  Make our resources known and keep offering what is needed for the time in which we live.  Invite people in. 

Mary Matheus

The Feminine Genius:  The Role of Women in the Church

                                                                                                                By Mary Matheus

 

Our Blessed Mother links us into the mystery of the feminine genius through two events.  First, The Visitation which is an experience of true encounter.  Mary serves her cousin, Elizabeth.  And secondly her presence at the foot of the cross.  Mary never gave up or felt abandoned by God.

 

Mary also reveals the secret to life at the wedding feast of Cana when she says, “Do whatever he tells you” but the question is do we listen? 

 

Out of Vatican II came the responsibility of women to shape our culture.  We are called to take the truth and bring it to others.  We as women need to be invested.  We need to receive the gift that we are and respond with only the gift that we can give. 

 

 

 

Sharing Christ’s Story…  Sharing Our Story:  Effective Witness and Communication

                                                                                                                By Mary Matheus

 

We are all sinners who are both in laws and outlaws.  Each of us has been there and done that.  We need to be living epistles because we may be the only book that someone reads.  Everyone has a story and a responsibility to share it.  We resist telling our stories because we don’t like our stories.  The part of our story that we want to edit out is the part that we need to tell. 

 

One way to evangelize will take no more than 4 minutes.  For the first 30 seconds, share who taught us about God.  In the next 3 minutes, share an encounter with Jesus and how you were changed.   Then in the final 30 seconds explain how you were sent forth with the Holy Spirit.

 

The secret is to not be afraid, accept people where they are, listen to them and lean into the hard places.    And remember that people do not care about how much you know until they know you care.

 

Social Media and Digital Media: Their Impact on the Church Today

                                                                                                                                By Mary Matheus

 

Our digital highways full of people aching for truth, longer for relationship.  The Church is called to transform social media/digital media into places to be able to grow in faith and in relationship.  We need to ask the question, “How can social media/digital media draw people into conversation to fulfill the mission of the Church?”.

 

The challenges we face are:

1.       Live in a hyper opinion age

2.       Gain credibility – make something beautiful for God

3.       Church systems do not relate to the 20 yr old…  Eg – they might not even have checks to put in the collection basket

 

We need to rise above the fear of using social/digital media.  Must find ways to use them to grow as Church.   A social media ministry is needed in every parish.  Catholic Apostolate center contains a social media crash course 101 that is recommended.

 

Four things that we can do for social/digital media:

1.       Pray for digital outreach in the Church

2.       Be patient.

3.       Make sure to have a vision and plan for social/digital media.

4.       Create long and lasting friends thru social media

 

 

 

                                                                                      

Sharon O'Brien
Panel A9:  Violence and Unrest in Our Communities

 

Violence in our communities can be seen from a nested perspective: family, community structures that keep people in poverty, and international unrest. The panel stressed how societal and economic issues that impact families need to be addressed.  It seems like a small effort but every effort to teach and practice peacemaking in the home, school, work, and in public affairs makes a difference.

 

Breakout Round B: Going Deeper into the Peripheries, Monday, July 3, 2017 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

 

Panel B8: The Silent Voices: Reaching Out to Victims of Violence, Abuse, and Human Trafficking

 

 

Pope Francis oftentimes addresses abuse and trafficking. Google “canon 1153” to learn church teaching and visit the websites of Catholics For Family Peace as well as the National Council of Catholic Women to learn more about Church response. Dioceses and Catholic Charities also attend to the issue. Of special note is the work of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Catholic Charities of Washington.  When people have been hurt by any church personnel, they are encouraged to reach out to the local Victim Assistance offices. USCCB provides resources to decrease pornography and human trafficking.

 

Panel C12: Reaching Out to Those Hurt by Leaders and Members of the Church

 

This panel started with acknowledging that the Church wants to make right the wrongs it committed against children. They encouraged people to continue to come forward to report cases, even if they are "old cases".  Then the panelists coached the audience to be supportive in our language and actions, to be sure that we reaffirm that we want people to seek justice and healing.  Panelists then addressed the many other ways that we hurt each other in the church: ranging from being petty and cliquish to how we dismiss church personnel in work situations. Practicing peace and kindness were recommended.    

Suzanne Lindergren
The Silent Voices: Reaching Out to the Victims of Violence, Abuse, and Trafficking.

2017 Convocation Workshop

This workshop explored the opportunities and challenges facing the Church in how to help these victims.  50% of women and 12% of men have suffered from abuse in some form in the US. 85% of abuse happens by family and friends. Bishop Taylor stated, ”Those who live with violence and abuse may not “look so nice”, may not “behave so nice. We need to walk with them where they are.”

As women of Council we have many tools at our disposal with the Women Healing the Wounds brochures and Activity Guide.  We can lead workshops and provide education in our parishes to help others learn how to identify and support victims. The USCCB has programs that we can also use as resources, such as the SHEPHERD program and AMISTAD Movement for Trafficking.

                                                                                Respectfully submitted by Suzanne Lindergren, Seattle ACCW

 

 Leadership Formation and Lay Ministry in the Work of Missionary Discipleship.

2017 Convocation Workshop

Bishop Gerald Barnes spoke about how the Church is growing in certain areas and mostly in poorer communities.  The concern is how do we provide leadership training and support to lay ministers in those areas? Leadership formation needs to happen at every level. How do we bring in leaders? Bishop John Quinn added that they are thankful for lay people in the Church and advised to keep things simple and “don’t let the cement dry. Keep it moist so that others can come and make use of it the way they need it to be”. In Council we have set term limits which allows the next leaders to come in and carry on the mission. His words recognize the importance of this. We are called to mentor others to become leaders. The NCCW LTD program advocates this.

                                                            Respectfully submitted by Suzanne Lindergren, Seattle ACCW

Growing Isolation in America: Individualism and Indifference

2017 Convocation Workshop

Archbishop Chaput opened this session with, ”In 2017, we are a people of isolation and division. Our political climate is a snapshot of this.” We need to return to finding joy in the friendships of others. Our country was built on the concept of the Individual Person and America protects the rights of the Individual by breaking the bonds of being together. He asked us, what practical things can we do to rebuild our communities? The human person has an inborn capacity to turn towards the other. The word sin means – what is meant to divide. Our country has many in the forms of pornography, abortion, divorce, adultery and more. In Council we can utilize the 5 moments for evangelization listed in Evagelium Gaudium #24; 1. Reach out. 2. Get involved. 3. Accompany them. 4. Bear fruit. 5. Celebrate. Suggested reading: Bowling Alone (book) and Dying of Despair (article in First Things blog)

                                                            Respectfully submitted by Suzanne Lindergren, Seattle ACCW

 

 

 

 

Teresa Boscia
Breakout Round A - A15

International Solidarity: Our Role Within the Global Landscape

  Catholic Relief Services represents the Church and peace building is its work.  CRS has to deal with corruption and governments need to be held accountable.  CRS workers are often asked why they will go to one place and not another.  The impact of CRS requires choices.  Their work often goes from crisis intervention to development intervention.  CRS is a leader in establishing local businesses.

     There have been dramatic improvements in the lives of the poor.  Malaria has been eradicated, young girls are being educated and more people have access to clean water.  The mortality rates for children have dropped but the poor  still lack access to markets, government services and voting.  It was mentioned that many people are tired of hearing about the poor and giving to the poor.  The fact is that less than one penny on every dollar is donated.

 

 

Breakout Round B - B8

The Silent Voices: Reaching Out to the Victims of Violence, Abuse and Trafficking

 

     It is recognized that 27% of women and 12% of men in the US suffer abuse at the hands of a partner.  Many people don’t know the extent of the problem and others close their eyes.  Family abuse and domestic violence exists in our parishes.  The victims are in the pews but they are silent.  In response, the USCCB has put out the resource “When I Call for Help.”  Parishes need to organize domestic violence ministries.  The USCCB information should be readily available and even put in the confessionals.  The Church must take the first steps and recommend appropriate professional services. We shouldn’t be afraid to get involved and at the same time understand that those who live with violence have a hard time interacting with people.

     Anti-human trafficking taskforce groups should be speaking to school staffs, bus drivers and religious education teachers.  They need to be aware that 1 out of 9 in high school and 1 out of 3 middle school students have been approached by traffickers.

 

 

Breakout C - C3

Welcoming the Stranger:  Ministry with Migrants, Refugees and Immigrants.

 

     Pope Francis said that every person is a continuation of the Incarnation. We will encounter the stranger just as Jesus did.  His disciples had to undergo the experience of migration.  Pope Francis has a special concern and love for migrants.  Not long after his election he insisted on saying Mass on an island in the Mediterranean where a boat carrying many migrants had sank.  It was described as the “Voyage of Nobodies.” Migrants have said, “People treat us like dogs and we just want to be human.”

     They are looking to be respected.  It is natural to fear people we don’t know but we need to envision their lives and ask them to tell their stories.  Migrants and immigrants have much to offer and they bring many gifts.  They just don’t want a handout but want to contribute to the community.  Migrants require spiritual assistance, pastoral care and legal services.   

 

       

   

Liz Schiavone
Reaching Out to Individuals and Families Affected by Incarceration"

 Rejoice in Freedom Reach Out

 Conditions of prisons

Heal /evangelize prisoners  

Visits

 1/28 children have parent in prison

Poverty

 Death penalty-death row

Need court chaplain

 Victim/ Survivors of crime

Prayer for victims

need safe place to meet -inside church

 Offenders need chaplain

Support/connected to diocese

No id when released  

 What is working / positive ?

-Prayers

-Programs

--Finding the Way-12 steps

-- based on love-Spanish

--At Risk kids - school to prison pipeline

 **meet person where at 

 OAR-offender aid restoration

Grocery shopping

pay rent

cant live -section 8

prisons run as a business

Priest class   1/3/ priest 1/3 cops/fire fighters  1/3 prison

Parish/Diocese--Peace & Justice

BINGO

Get together

Jobs-Car Wash  DC area  -

Genification  an issue

 Dignity of all life

Pro Life-Social Justice

Encounter

 Ideas

-Parish dinner

-National wide diocesan programs 

 Prayer service

Retreat inside prison

TAKE YOUR BISHOP TO PRISON

 HOW TO ENGAGE COMMUNITY

-Education

-Reading

"Families as Principal Agents of the New Evangelization"

 Daily  Mass. 

 "Don't make your mark on the couch but in the World"

 Popes Francis book Joy of Love (324)

Hospitality and welcoming

 Have Passion

Ministry-Living the Call of the Family'

 Landscape for Missionary

Disciples within  the family -Encounter Christ

JOY -Jesus, Others, You

 Family

Ones experience, memory, own presence

SCHOOL OF LOVE

NOT PERFECT

LOVE-SELF GIVING  and RECEIVE

"Self Gift"

 fail begin again

RADIANT TO OTHERS

 MEN NEED TO BE MEN

"Father figures"

 Disney Princesses no hero for boys 

 **FAMILY MEAL**

 Be a witness

BE BOLD & DETERMINE

 THE MISSION OF THE FAMILY - MISSIONARY DISCIPLESHIP

 Daily- family should

Reach & touch people’s hearts

Theology of the body

Share to regular folks

 HOW DOES IT APPLY TO ME

  "INVITING OTHERS INTO THE FAMILY " and   Home

PRAYER

Older couple mentor

Encounters, more than doctrine

 Parishes, small groups

 witness, openness, diversity, most in works of mercy

 Prayers

Prayerful as parents

 “Enjoying Cultural Landscape including the Political"

 Challenging -political and cultural climate.

 Helps us Evangelize

Catholic Charities

Religious Liberty;

Listen to our Culture even if against us

Listen to why people disengage

Understand /cultural climates Hope, Joys,  Fears and Anguish

 1-Tendency -adverse stand and cultural warrior

2 Teaching cuts against cultural ideology and parties

 Times to confront and bare witness

Evangelizing;  Advocating

 Our Times Mission

-Abortion

-Euthanasia  

-Death penalty

 Catholic everywhere

Educate

Feed poor

Cloth the needy

 Evangelize & Persuade

 Inviting, people to have personal relationship with Christ

Marriage man-woman family-parenting

"We are created by God"

 Church transcend political . evangelize  souls

 standing  up for

-Immigrants

-Healthcare

-Life

 Outreach 

Medical students

College

Law school

 ***POPE FRANCIS LOOKS AT THE WORLD BOTTOM UP

 LOVE , JUSTICE

OUR FAITH NOT POLITICS

CATHOLIC FIRST

 MISSION IS SERIVCE

BUILD COMMUNITY

POLITICAL NOT PARTISAN

CIVIL NOT SOFT

ENGAGE

 Challenges

Heightened Individuality -think of self welfare

-Lose of Enthusiasm

 DONT GIVE UP

Rose Martinet
CONVOCATION
OF CATHOLIC LEADERS

 Breakout Round A: Going Deeper into the Landscape

A12: The State of the Family and Human Sexuality: Struggles and Opportunities Rose Martinet

Our landscape should be of Hope and Joy as we are all called to be saints.  The Family should be a crucial point of focus.  Sexuality is a part of our identity.  Lack of knowledge of the gospel has caused a weakening of our social bounds and brokenness of the family.  People need a place to feel safe and need encouragement and support. 

 

One of the things that were discussed was that Marriage Preparation should not end with the wedding.  The mentoring, encouragement and support should continue for 5 years after.  We are called to proclaim and witness the beauty and truth about marriage and family.

 

Breakout Round B: Going Deeper into the Peripheries

B17: Reaching Out to All Cultural Families: Healing the Experience of Exclusion Rose Martinet

Bishop Garcia spoke about how we are challenged to “Include All”.  He stated that all of us are part of the problem of exclusion but we are all baptized to be evangelists.  We have to speak God’s truth with love.  As Sister Theo Bowman said we have to “tell the true truth.”  We are to share our lives with others. 

 

Others on the panel gave hints to help us:  We should call on the Holy Spirit to help us be effective in our challenge.  We need to be intentional, responsible and accountable.  People want to be acknowledged for who they are.  We have to overcome our tribal instinct to want to be with people like us.  Healing starts when we don’t have anger and reach out to welcome people.  Remember we all have the same worth.  Be kind and focus on the wonderful things in life. 

 

Breakout Round C: Practical Strategies Beyond the Convocation

C14:  Faith in Action: Advocacy and Organizing with Poor and Marginalized Communities     Rose Martinet
 
Panel consisted of Bishop David O'Connell of Los Angeles and others from Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Schools and St. Vincent DePaul.  These organizations work together to help those in need. When working with the poor and marginalized we need to ask them what they need and understand their strengths and weaknesses in order to provide the services that fit their needs.  We need to respect the dignity of the poor, often they just need assistance to become self sufficient.  Some of the things that help bridge people out of poverty are: Skills training especially to those 18-25, Mentoring, Helping them complete their Education, Giving them self worth.  The social mission of the Church should be part of everyone’s discipleship.