It should be useful for choosing people to interview and lines of inquiry for research, and providing common language to talk about these ideas.
NB. I have not repeated the relevant material from the pre-requisite reading list which you can find here
Open to Conversion: Individual conversion and outreach to individuals
https://usml.edu/seven-marks-of-a-new-evangelist/ Fr Robert Barron 19 Feb 2015
In love with Jesus Christ:
Passion and enthusiasm:
Knowledge of the story of Israel
Understand the culture:
The heart of a missionary:
Knowledge of the traditions of the Church:
Adept at using the new media
21 Jan 2016
Reflection on the Sisters of Life visit to Sydney Dec 2015
“So what a great time, in their teens and entering university, to be posing that question to the Lord: ‘What did you make me for? What is my call to love?’
“They were very open and very receptive to that thought.”
http://catholicleader.com.au/people/how-a-cathedral-pulled-this-young-man-out-of-depression 25 Jan 2016
Australian conversion story, worthy of follow-up
3 Feb 2016 Aurora, Maitland Newcastle Diocese
'Missionary of Mercy on his way to the Hunter'.
Online article no longer available.
This Missionary should be interviewed.
https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/02/24/mercy-bus-run-by-former-stand-up-comedian-tours-the-north/#.Vs66vR_3wxM.twitter 24 Feb 2016
Double-decker bus being used as a reach out to lapsed Catholics in the Diocese of Salford.
Fr Frankie Mulgrew. Worthy of follow-up/interview
Tweet from Peter Kreeft @ProfessorKreeft 5 May 2016
'Nothing else can ever cure our sick world except saints, and saints are never made except by prayer.'
http://catholicleader.com.au/people/son-of-a-preacher-man-returns-home-to-the-catholic-church 10 May 2016
Australian conversion story of Protestant pastor
https://www.goodsams.org.au/article/vague-wanting/ Feb 2016 Sr Patty Fawkner sgs
“Do you want God?” The retreat director’s question to me.
“I vaguely want God,” I replied somewhat evasively.
It was a moment of clarity – yes, a moment of conversion.
Did I want God? Did I?
My prayer was raw, not even “God, help me to want you”, but a more primal “God, help me to want to want you”.
Who was this retreat director? He should be interviewed.
9 May 2011 Interview with Makoto Fujimura
The arts are fundamentally connected with the realities that God has created in the universe, as well as in communities of His people. Look at everything from the Genesis account of Adam being asked to name the animals to passages in Revelation that are full of images… All those things are the language of the arts… The reason that we need the arts is not so we can have more artists in the church, but for the sake of the gospel. The arts are a cup that will carry the water of life to the thirsty. It’s not the water itself; it’s the vessel. What we are doing in the church today is we are just picking up water with our bare hands and trying to carry it to the thirsty. We can still do it, but the effect is minimized by not fully utilizing what God has given us.
24 June 2016
In 2014, Archbishop Anthony Fisher explored the effectiveness of events like World Youth Day and the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, writing that “in the long run, (their) effectiveness … depends hugely on the formation that is offered in advance of attendance and the follow-up that occurs afterwards: what opportunities there are for sharing, evangelising, worshipping, leading and serving for those who will go and for those who return on fire with faith”…. When those opportunities are available, pilgrims are able to integrate their “mountain top’” experience of WYD with the way they live out their faith in their everyday life.
Does Archbishop Fisher have empirical data on this that he could share with us?
28 July 2016 Jenny Uebbing
Personal reflection and an introduction to the thoughts of Jason Everett on Youth Ministry
'My faithful attendance every Sunday night at 7 pm did not, for all the boxes and boxes of pizza consumed and all the ice breakers performed, ensure a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. Did not, as best as I can remember, communicate a single meaningful thing to me about the faith. And now, 15 or so years removed from the experience, I know of 2 other former members of that youth group who are still practicing Catholics. Out of 35 of us. That isn’t good enough…. What saved me, is what brought me to my senses and brought me home, finally, coaxing me back through the church doors not just in a physical return, but a whole-hearted spiritual and emotional return, was a relationship with a mentor, a FOCUS missionary who invested in me and believed that I deserved to have a personal relationship with Jesus and with my faith.'
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/the-catholic-church-desperately-needs-artists-48643 17 Dec 2016 Mary Farrow
“Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savour life and to dream of the future. That is why the beauty of created things can never fully satisfy. It stirs that hidden nostalgia for God…” wrote Pope John Paul II in his 1999 Letter to Artists.
This article talks about recent initiatives of Catholic creatives.
10 Oct 2016 Jason Craig
While poor catechesis and soft morality do perpetuate the problem, it is the decline in the family that usually precedes the decline in faith. No, it’s not an “either/or” issue, but we at least need to understand that the health of the family and the health of faith are inseparable. Like a DNA strand, “family and faith are the invisible double helix of society – two spirals that when linked to one another can effectively reproduce, but whose strength and momentum depend on one another” (Eberstadt).
I wanted to reach those young people. I really did have a heart for them. But it took a while to learn that if I really loved young people and wanted to reach them, I had to reach their parents.
Question arising: Could the presence of the married couple, 'in loco parentis' in the Antioch movement account for some of its success?
http://catholicleader.com.au/news/missionary-of-mercy-took-on-the-burdens-of-nsws-far-flung-faithful-and-will-do-it-again-in-2017 23 Nov 2016 Emilie Ng
Fr Richard Shortall SJ and Sydney Ukranian-Catholic priest Fr Simon Cjuk, were commissioned by Pope Francis as Missionaries of Mercy, and expected to be “a living sign of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of His forgiveness” with a special focus on being confessors. Fr Shortall has finished an exhausting mission to lift the burdens of people in regional Australian communities. Living out of a motor home that ran off the water and electricity of churches, the Jesuit priest spent the past nine months visiting 30 communities in Maitland-Newcastle diocese to bring God’s mercy as a commissioned Missionary of Mercy. “I believed that for us as Australians, in that part of the country, the emphasis would be on allowing people or giving people the opportunity to sit down with me and to tell their stories,” he said. Like the inside of a confessional, all of Fr Shortall’s conversations were private, and some, but not all, turned into the Sacrament of Penance. “Some people have come along to me and said specifically that they wanted to celebrate the sacrament and they’d been enabled to speak about matters which have been sitting in their hearts for years and years and they’ve been just too frightened to mention them in the sacrament in churches.” In his nine months as a Missionary of Mercy, Fr Shortall has recognised the power of spiritual conversation for the broken.“ And as people have told their stories, many of them have said, ‘I’m sorry I’m laying this burden on you’,” he said. “So part of my work has been the burden of carrying the stories.”
June 2017 James Zacchaeus
A deep insight into how the narrow way of truth can lead to joy; and how compromise on the truth about marriage helps no one
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/how-catholic-culture-can-thrive-on-the-internet-89699?platform=hootsuite 23 Jun 2017 Kevin J. Jones
On the internet, success is hard to predict. The success of a ChurchPop post about how all the apostles died and where one can find their remains today was surprising. That was by far ChurchPop’s most successful content across all languages. Another unexpected success? A collection of pictures of beautiful churches. “The conversion stories are the stories that bring us the most attention.”
approx. July 2017 Brandon Vogt
The amazing impact of a priest rehabilitated from alcoholism. His ministry was far more fruitful in his final years because he could directly relate to the brokenness of others and their need for mercy.
Father Lawrence Carney travels the country, walking the city streets in his cassock, carrying a crucifix, praying the Rosary and seeking lost souls. In his debut work, he writes of the many people he meets, the conversations that unfold and the divine appointments arranged for a priest who lives his life entirely for the salvation of souls. He also reveals his dream of a new order of priests, clerics and brothers, who walk and pray in cities around the United States in an effort to regain what has been lost.
https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/08/23/how-cajun-country-old-ambulance-and-1200-frog-legs-led-me-back-confessional 23 Aug 2017 Sonja Livingston
Meet the priest who bought an ambulance on eBay and turned it into a mobile confessional, but it is also about the writer's wrestle with returning to the sacrament of penance, and about how Fr Michael Champagne and his team's witness sowed fruitful seeds.
https://catholicherald.co.uk/issues/march-2nd-2018/how-social-media-is-leading-millennials-to-rome/#.WpiQtn2kTBg.twitter 1 Mar 2018 Dan Hitchens
In a sense, both Byrd and Reezay followed the same path that has been trodden by innumerable others over the past 20 centuries: someone hears the Gospel from a persuasive preacher or a Catholic apologist, or comes to know Catholics personally and is able to explore the faith. But now those things take place over the internet. Andrew Sullivan urged religious leaders to realise that “the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction” – the endless updates which prevent us from focusing on the one thing necessary.
https://catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2018/04/06/i-first-read-humanae-vitae-as-a-protestant-its-truthfulness-made-me-weep/ 6 Apr 2018 Luma Simms
"When I read it for the first time, while I was still a Protestant... I was moved to tears." "It was Humanae Vitae that succinctly described my dignity as a human being, that as a woman I was not a second-class citizen to man."
https://churchpop.com/2018/05/25/the-amazing-humanities-dept-that-got-shut-down-after-too-many-students-converted-to-catholicism/ 25 May 2018 ChurchPop Editor
Three professors, Dr. Dennis Quinn, Dr. John Senior, and Dr. Frank Nelick, ran a program called the Integrated Humanities Program at the University of Kansas from 1970 to 1979. A “great books” program that started with the ancient Greeks and led students on a journey up to the present, the motto was Nascantur in Admiratione, translated “Let Them Be Born in Wonder.” “Students weren’t allowed to take notes, although the professors didn’t mind if they knitted,” Dana Lorelle wrote about the program. “They taught students the state song of Kansas, took them star gazing, spoke Latin out loud and introduced the freshmen and sophomores to classic literature and poetry. […] “The professors, noticing that the students had no skill in formal ballroom dancing, organized an annual waltz. They took students to Ireland and Greece. They told stories, required the students to memorize poems and spoke of callings rather than careers.” The program grew super fast, from 20 students in 1970 to 140 in 1971, and 186 in 1972. But then the conversions started happening. By one estimate, over the 10 year course of the program, more than 100 students decided to join the Catholic Church…As to why the program led so many young people to the Church, Archbishop Coakley has said, “You put people in touch with the true, the beautiful and the good and let the Holy Spirit work.”
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/july-web-only/how-to-witness-to-distracted-world-disruptive-witness-noble.html 17 Jul 2018 Alan Noble
How do we bear witness to our faith to people whose default is to avoid reflection and contemplation, the very things that are important to recognize our sin and need for Christ?
Tweet: @MrsSasser 28 Aug 2018
Two years ago, I was saying “do you have any questions?”. Last year I switched to “what questions do you have?” It made a difference. Today I tried “ask me two questions”. And they did! And those ?s led to more ?s. It amazes me that the littlest things have such a big impact!
22 Jan 2019 Katie Prejean McGrady
Pope Francis recently told a group of parents, “The important thing is to transmit the faith with your life of faith: that they see the love of the spouses, that they see the peace of the house, that they see that Jesus is there.”
The domestic church is not constructed in a day but built up over time, growing with the family through the witness of the parents, the things filling the house and the conversations encouraged and shared. The faith is not simply learned and memorized. It is transmitted. It is experienced. It is witnessed and then loved and then lived. It is in those homes, where faith is visibly lived and loved, that the church becomes a home one would never leave.
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/from-a-dumpster-to-the-head-of-a-procession-the-story-of-broken-mary-86289 7 Jun 2019 Mary Farrow
Matthews first spotted what is now known as ‘Broken Mary’ outside of a dumpster at a flower shop, covered in trash and cracked in half. Mortified, he picked up the heavy concrete statue, brought her home and cleaned her up. He had her restored to one piece again, but asked that her chips and scratches be left as they were: “No, she is broken, just like me. We all are broken and in need of repair. She represents the broken,” he told the repairman. After finding Mary, Matthews experienced a profound new devotion to the Mother of God. Matthews connected with Fr. Joshua Caswell, S.J.C., an associate pastor at St. John Cantius in Chicago, because of ‘Broken Mary’, they decided to start organizing a Chicago procession with ‘Broken Mary’ in February.
When Fr. Joshua applied for the permit, a city official saw the title of the event, “Hope for the Broken,” and said: “Oh, I really hope so Father, because we could really use some hope around here in this city,” Eisenberg recalled. Two days later, the permit came through. Eisenberg said that she thinks ‘Broken Mary’ appeals to so many people because brokenness is something to which nearly everyone can relate. “I think that people really resonate with brokenness, there isn’t anyone who can say, ‘Oh well, I’ve reached perfection, I’m not broken, this doesn’t apply to me’,” she said. It also makes holiness seem “attainable,” she added.
Throughout his ministry, Matthews said he has witnessed many people come back to their faith through ‘Broken Mary.’ “It’s just a concrete statue, but where that statue is, Mary is, and where Mary is there’s Christ, and where there’s Christ, there’s God,” Matthews said, “and I’ve seen a lot of people literally cry and empty themselves in front of Mary.”
https://cruxnow.com/church-in-oceania/2019/07/04/bagpipe-playing-australian-bishop-faces-challenges-with-a-joke-and-a-smile/ 4 Jul 2019 Ines San Martin
When the issue of the abuse scandals comes up, Bishop Macbeth-Green's demeanour changes completely. The laughter is gone from his eyes, and he says the response to what needs to be done when a victim comes forward is clear: “You have to shut up and listen, talk with them, spend time with them. But you have to be genuine in doing that. You have to do so because you want to, not because you have to or because the judge ordered you to do so.” “When someone is in pain, sometimes, nothing is going to work. But you take on their pain, you’re there, sometimes cry with them,” he said.
“I was a trauma chaplain, and I was called in to talk to victims who’ve suffered the worst people can do to other people, like murder their children,” he said. “But even then, in the right place and at the right time, you have to be able to maintain your sense of humour, because it’s a coping mechanism. Why do you think people in the force sometimes have some of the darkest sense of humour?”
You have to sit with them for however long they need, he said, going back to survivors of clerical sexual abuse: “You sit with them, but you don’t bring your lawyers, you find out what they need and react appropriately.”
“If someone is pastorally sensitive and aware, you know what to say and when to say it, if we allow the Holy Spirit to inspire us,” he said. “There are people you just can’t reach, but you have to give them the privilege of trying to. The difficulty is not passing on their tragedy on another person. Yet seeing what I have seen, if I didn’t have a sense of humour, I’d be in the loony bin or just lying on the floor in a foetal position.”
Broken Bay diocese has released a new program on family called 'At the Heart of the Home', as mentioned on page 25 in the June 2019 issue of Broken Bay News.
It would be worthwhile following up to see who uses it and what the fruit of it is like.
Matt Sparks, a protestant pastor shares his specific game plan for reaching the souls of Sydney-siders. This is worth a follow-up interview to see how that game plan is going, and whether it has evolved since the article was written.
Blog of a city priest
We pray because we love God. We have heard a lot about what God is asking of us for the Plenary Council. You know the first question I think God is asking us at this time: do you love me? Not programs and revolutions and regulations but first of all: do you love me?
Laurie Maher, former mayor of Gosford, Catholic, and impetus behind Coast Shelter, would be well worth an interview for his insights on what messages resonate with Central Coast of NSW residents and with those doing life tough.
https://www.amazon.com/You-Found-Millennials-Irreligious-Surprisingly/dp/0830841547 by Rick Richardson
A study of 2000 unchurched people across America reveals that the unchurched are still remarkably open to faith conversations and the church. Even unchurched "nones" and millennials are quite receptive if they are approached in particular ways. In this book you will also find best practices from further research into the top ten percent of churches that most effectively reach the unchurched. People who were previously unchurched share what actually moved them to faith and Christian commitment. And the research shows that churches and organizations can be transformed to become places where conversion growth becomes the new normal.
The next blog-post in this cycle will be background reading resources for the sub theme 'Open to Renewal'
At the very end of the cycle I will put it all together in a printer friendly PDF.