December 16, 2018
The lastthing I am interested in is a capital campaign. However, the repairs that needed to be done on the top floor of the community center, plus the opportunity to do some important seismic retrofitting made this an opportune time to renovate the whole community center building.
But why do this? We have many groups needing space for meetings. But what motivates me is our need to focus on evangelization, including training members of the parish to evangelize. Pope Paul VI wrote in an encyclical on evangelization in 1975 “In the long run, is there any other way of handing on the Gospel than by transmitting to another person one's personal experience of faith? It must not happen that the pressing need to proclaim the Good News to the multitudes should cause us to forget this form of proclamation whereby an individual's personal conscience is reached and touched by an entirely unique word that he receives from someone else.”
I would like to see the community center used as a place where members of our parish are evangelized and learn how to effectively share their faith with people in their lives with whom they have a bridge of trust. I learned about how to do this when I worked as co-Director of the Catherine of Siena Institute.
Millennials (born between 1981-1996) are much less likely than older Americans to pray, attend church regularly, consider religion to be an important part of their lives, or return to the Church when they marry. Their Baby Boomer parents encouraged them to find their own moral compass, according to Michael Hout, Professor of Sociology at New York University. Millennials are also rejecting institutions like the press, government, businesses and churches. Without learning to “transmit our own experience of faith” and our relationship with Jesus, our churches will be as empty as those in Europe! An even greater tragedy is whole generations will not know the story of God’s love, power, healing and forgiveness.