We often hear about all the “problems” of immigration, and often we never get past discussing possible solutions.
by Juan Pablo Durán, LC | Source:
We often hear about all the “problems” of immigration, and often we never get past discussing possible solutions. In Atlanta, however, a pastor and a lay consecrated man have gotten to working on a solution.
Father Brendan Doyle, the zealous pastor of Saint Catherine of Siena parish, was looking for a way to reach out to the vast Hispanic community in his area. He was conscious of the fact that 300 Hispanics who regularly showed up to Sunday Mass were very few compared to the 20,000 who live within the parish.
So this past Lent he decided to launch a pilot program of Full-Time Evangelizers (Evangelizadores de Tiempo Completo). It is an apostolate designed and directed by Alejandro Pinelo, a lay consecrated man in the Regnum Christi Movement.
The program seeks to involve all parishioners in creating a permanent structure to serve the Hispanic community. Among other things, it includes formation and personal enrichment courses, a renewal in the living of the sacraments, sports competitions, liturgical and altar-server ministries, social work, youth ministry, door-to-door missions, prayer groups, and more.
The initiative’s board is entirely composed of lay men and women of the parish who help the pastor. The program seeks to form and send out the laity, by directing their faith and enthusiasm within the evangelizing mission of the Church. “Pinelo”, as his friends call him, insists: “If we want to encourage Christian life, we have to train the fishermen.”
The first door-to-door mission was held this past Lent. Fifty-eight missionaries, together with their pastor, visited more than five hundred families, sharing the gift of their faith and reaching out to those who do not know how, or cannot find the strength, to return to the sacraments. They listened, consoled, and responded to the questions and doubts.
What were the fruits of the mission? A team of parishioners enthusiastic about living and sharing their faith; twice as many Hispanics at Sunday Mass; 26 Rosary prayer groups (called the Pilgrim Queen of the Family); 13 applicants to the long distance Master’s in Religious Sciences, at the Pontifical Atheneum Regina Apostolorum; and a further development in other Full-Time Evangelizers’ projects.
The English-speaking community has already proposed to do a mission together. And the program is just beginning…
Instead of taking about the “problems” that sometimes accompany immigration, at Saint Catherine of Siena parish they decided to maximize its enormous potential. An ardent pastor and a lay consecrated man have transformed an entire community. By giving their best, together they have gathered fruits of faith, charity and evangelization.
For more information on Full-Time Evangelizers, you can contact Alejandro Pinelo at [email protected]
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