Witness to Hope will provide support for successful parish programs that support evangelization. What types of programs are likely to be supported?
Encounter opportunities such as Alpha, Life in the Spirit seminars, Christ Renews His Parish, ChristLife, Cursillo, High School Kairos and more will be supported. Support also will be given to discipleship group initiatives, parish welcoming formation and leadership training.
Can you give some examples of successful evangelization programs from around the country?
Success can be a little difficult to measure, since it relates to individuals’ personal conversions. Yet the majority of evidence I’ve seen out there suggests that all of the encounter opportunities I mentioned above bear the most tangible fruit.
How will parishes be able to receive funds?
We haven’t yet decided on exactly how funds will be appropriated, but I’m sure it will have similarities to how our existing evangelization grant program works, where the diocesan grant money subsidizes a large portion of the expenses to help a given parish put on an evangelistic event.
How do you see this effort affecting the work being done through the two previous diocesan assemblies and the one to come?
I think the timing is perfect. God has blessed us with a special grace of renewal in our diocese, and I believe Witness to Hope is an important part of what God is doing. There is a lot of new energy and vision among the faithful of our diocese for advancing the mission of God. With that new energy and vision come a lot of new ideas. Increasing our resources to help those new ideas birth new initiatives is one of the best ways we can cooperate with the graces we’re being given in this time.
Will these funds help us reach out to the growing Latino community and other new groups to our area?
Absolutely. Several of our diocesan offices are working together at intentionally branching out into the Latino communities of our diocese. Bishop Boyea has asked us all to keep asking the question of how we can involve and reach out to the Latino community in everything we’re doing. I am confident there are many good things to come on that front.