From Papal Visit to Packed Pews

Pope in DC

Packed Pews Part Two: Looking to the Year of Mercy

Continuing the conversations started before the visit of Pope Francis, the Office of Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Washington invites all pastors, parish staffs, and volunteers to join us for Packed Pews Part Two: Looking to the Year of Mercy. In these conversations, we will reflect on our parish experiences of the Holy Father’s visit, including the fruits of the visit and ongoing evangelization efforts and opportunities. We will also discuss ideas and plans for celebrating the Year of Mercy in parishes and across the Archdiocese.

Please join us for either conversation. Dinner will be provided!

Tuesday, October 20th – 6:30-8:30pm
Archdiocesan Pastoral Center
5001 Eastern Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20782
Register Here

Wednesday, October 21st – 6:30-8:30pm
Immaculate Conception Church
28297 Old Village Road
Mechanicsville, MD 20659
In the Parish Center
Register Here

Click here to download a flier which can be printed and shared.

For questions or special needs please contact Mike Owens, Coordinator of Evangelization, at [email protected].


Use Papal Visit Energy to Maximize the Evangelizing Capacity of Your Parish

Pope Francis’s visit to Washington is an exciting opportunity to reach out to many in our communities who will have a renewed interest in our Catholic faith. We have a great opportunity and responsibility to share the Good News in this unique time in the life of our local Church. We hope these resources will continue conversations about opportunities to evangelize through your parish community this fall and beyond, as well as the ways the staff of the Archdiocese of Washington can help.packthepewsencounter

During the “From Papal Visit to Packed Pews” regional workshops, we discussed the three movements of evangelization:

  • Encounter with Jesus
  • Formation in the Christian Life
  • Mission of spreading the Good News and inviting others into their own encounter with Christ

KEY TAKEAWAY: Pick ONE focus area to grow the evangelizing capacity of your parish. Use the energy of the Papal Visit to take the next step this summer and fall!

Is The Holy Spirit Calling You To Focus On…?

  • Helping people ENCOUNTER Jesus through Parish Life?
  • FORMATION OF DISCIPLES?
  • Sending Disciples on MISSION?

Keep reading for more information and resources about each area!

Helping People ENCOUNTER Jesus through Parish Life

  • Encounter is building community – a sense of “home” and “belonging”.
  • Encounter includes empowering staff, volunteers, and all parishioners to mirror Christ’s love to each person and to personally invite others to be a part of the community.
  • Encounter includes hospitality – greeting, welcoming, and engaging newcomers in renewed, intentional ways.
  • Encounter includes increasing the availability of the Sacraments and extended access to the church spaces for prayer.
  • Encounter includes convenient opportunities for Confession and Adoration.
  • Encounter includes ensuring that parish registration helps initiate a person into the life of the community.
  • Encounter includes helping parishioners intentionally discern and use their gifts.

If focusing on ENCOUNTER then… Focus on hospitality and the experiences of newcomers.

To help, Archdiocese staff can offer:

  • Resources on hospitality ideas and best practices. (Coming soon!)
  • Facilitation of local or regional gatherings to discuss best practices. Contact Mike Owens to arrange.

FORMATION of Disciples

  • Formation is a comprehensive, intentional apprenticeship of the entire Christian Life: knowledge of the faith, understanding of liturgy and sacraments, moral formation in Jesus Christ, praying with Christ, living in community and participating actively in the life and mission of the Church, and promoting a missionary spirit that prepares the faithful to be present as Christians in society. (National Directory for Catechesis, 20)
  • Formation includes helping more people grow in their faith through increasing participation in current faith formation offerings and/or through offering new faith formation opportunities, such as small groups, etc.
  • Formation includes emphasizing preparation for evangelization.
  • Formation includes broad and renewed outreach to invite people into the RCIA.
  • Formation includes reaching out to engage and support new populations, such as youth, young adults, Hispanic or other ethnic communities, seniors, etc.
  • Formation is instilling disciples with a sense of personal mission!

If focusing on FORMATION then… Expand opportunities for people to grow in faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. Move people toward missionary discipleship.

To help, Archdiocese staff can offer:

  • Becoming Everyday Evangelizers: a three-hour workshop that teaches all Catholics how to identify and articulate their personal experience of God in their lives, then share their faith with family, friends, and communities through simple acts of testimony and witness. To host a workshop in your parish or region, contact Mike Owens.
  • Coordinating trainings for the evangelization small group organizations that presented during the “Packed Pews” workshops: ChristLife, Alpha, RENEW International, and Landings. If five or more parishes request training for one of these programs, the Archdiocese will organize and cover the cost of the training!
    • ChristLife: For more information, click here. To start ChristLife in your parish, contact Mike Owens.
    • Alpha: For more information, click here. To start Alpha in your parish, contact Mike Owens.
    • RENEW’s Be My Witness: For more information, click here. To start a RENEW program in your parish, contact Maureen Colleary FSP. Sr. Maureen will offer information webinars for the decision-makers of any interested parish.
    • Landings: For more information, click here. To start Landings in your parish, attend an upcoming Landings Training Session. Contact Pat Watson to register. (Please have Pastor approval to initiate Landings at your parish before registering.)
    • Adult Faith Formation and Catechesis programs: Living Catholic & Faith Foundations. Contact Sara Blauvelt.
    • Adult Sacramental Preparation: RCIA Bootcamp Workshops – one day formation workshops that provide a strong foundation in the RCIA model. Offered in both English and Spanish. Contact Sara Blauvelt to register.
    • From Practicing Catholics to Apostles on Mission: This semester long young adult formation program addresses the challenge of living out the Catholic faith as a young adult in the Church and in the world through short videos, small group discussion, and the development of an ‘Evangelization Start-Up’ project. In this program, developed in collaboration with the Catholic Apostolate Center, young adults are formed to be missionary disciples by learning the history and mission of the Church’s call to evangelization and gaining the tools necessary to put their own personal apostolate into action. Participants will not simply learn about evangelization but discern and draw on their talents and interests to put their faith into action in their local community.

Sending Disciples on MISSION

  • Mission is “paradigmatic for all the Church’s activity.” (Pope Francis)
  • Mission includes going out, inviting others into encounter with Christ.
  • Mission includes outreach to inactive Catholics, encouraging them to reconnect.
  • Mission includes door-to-door evangelization.
  • Mission includes increasing the visibility of the parish in the community and in public places.
  • Mission includes new or renewed parish service ministries.

If focusing on MISSION then… Increase the ways your parish is going out into the larger community to encounter, invite, and serve others and to publicly testify to the Good News.

To help, Archdiocese staff can offer:

Not sure what the right NEXT STEP is for your parish? We can help facilitate those conversations. Contact Mike Owens, Coordinator of Evangelization Initiatives, at [email protected] or 301-853-5347.

Pope Paul XI Quote