Our Spirit of Evangelization

MJTwo years ago, today Fr. Francis called me into his office and asked me if I would consider taking on a new role at our parish.  I had served as Director of Religious Education for the last 8 years and I absolutely loved what I was doing.  However, my interest was piqued, so I asked him what the new role was.  When he responded, “Director of Evangelization,” I about fell off my chair.  In my 30 years as a Director of Religious Education for the Catholic Church, this word was not one with which I was familiar.  I believe the first thing I said to him was, “But we are Catholic, not Protestant.”  He just smiled.  I asked him if we could change the title.  He just smiled.

Two years later my favorite word is “evangelization.”  I am proud to be the Director of Evangelization for St. Josaphat Parish.  

What does it mean to evangelize?  To evangelize is to share religious beliefs, especially Christian ones, with other people.  The word evangelize comes from the Church Latin evangelizare, "to spread or preach the Gospel," with the Greek root euangelizesthai, or "bring good news."  

My new role is to not only share the good news with everyone in our pews, but to reach outside the church doors and help others to have a relationship with Jesus.  It is my job to help people feel a part of our community, to invite and to welcome.  I should reach out to those who don’t feel included.  I am responsible for creating new programs and ministries to do just that.

One of my first steps was to activate the Alpha program.  We just completed our 4th season of Alpha this spring.  Alpha is a time for asking some of life’s difficult questions, such as, “Why am I here?  Who is Jesus?  What am I to do with the rest of my life?”  Fr. Francis is hoping and praying for all of his parishioners to go through the Alpha course.  It is a great way to grow closer in your faith while talking about your faith with others in a safe environment.  Our next Alpha begins on September 23rd.  Sign up on our website.

As I begin my third year as Director of Evangelization I am looking to hire an Associate Director of Evangelization.  This new hire will work closely with me as we strive to bring our parish from maintenance (just sitting in the pew) to mission (living out our faith).  We will work to offer many new programs for our parishioners to gather and discuss and share their faith.  We want our parish to be a place where everyone feels welcome and sees our parish as their support system.  We want to help bring people into a closer relationship with Jesus and our church.  If you or someone you know might be interested in this new position at our parish, please have them contact me.

I am Catholic and proud to call myself your “Director of Evangelization!”

Mary Jane Sullivan
Pastoral Associate