Just in case January had ideas of extending its stay, I wanted to make sure it knew that it was no longer welcome.

Conversion experience: Spent much of Wednesday at “Making Church Matter: Awakening the Faithful and Reaching the Lost” sponsored by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s office for evangelization. The presenters were Tom Corcoran and Chris Wesley, staff members at Nativity Parish in Timonium, Md. The former is co-author of “Rebuilt,” a popular book for parishes trying to convert parishioners from “consumers to contributors.”

Good presentations, though much of what they said came straight from the book. But I heard two things – unsolicited – from several parish staff members: One, renewal of their parishes begins with the pastor; two, the presenters’ parish doesn’t have a school. Variables, to be sure.

Nonetheless, if even some of the seeds they sowed among the 450 people in attendance fall on fertile soil, there will be new life in many parishes.

Short-term cure for winter: In order to make it through January, I had to check a gardening book out of the library. I also bought my first packet of seeds last week. I’m open to your suggestions.

Bird is the word: For as long as I can recall, popes have released doves from the window of their Vatican apartment. Well, the other day, the doves released by Pope Francis were attacked by a crow and a seagull. And now? An animal rights group, Care2, is asking the pope to stop doing that. Had these folks been around 1,981 years ago, chances are the Holy Spirit, at least in the form of a dove, might not have been allowed to participate in Pentecost.

A month to celebrate: Catholic Press Month begins tomorrow.