This is the eighth and final article in a series introducing members of the Archdiocesan Synod Implementation Commission (ASIC).
As pastoral associate at St. Monica, Whitefish Bay, and St. Eugene, Fox Point, Dominic Albano, by his own admission, asks a lot of questions of his fellow staff members.
“I bring up those questions no one wants to hear,” he said.
Some of his questions are related to evangelization, one of the synod priorities that ASIC will be helping parishes implement throughout the coming year.
“How are you going to meet the person down the street who drives by your church a thousand times but has never been inside?” Albano said, noting outreach to that person is “real evangelization.”
But something has to happen before that.
“I still don’t think many people know what evangelization is,” Albano said. “We have to use the Mass to teach people what evangelization is … evangelization means sharing the Good News.”
He noted that traditionally evangelization had been geared to the unbaptized, but that has changed.
“The new evangelization is sharing the Good News with the baptized and the unbaptized,” Albano said, adding, “We have to see what we do through a new lens.”
Peggy Hughes, who has been involved in parish ministry for 40 years, including the last 27 as director of liturgy and music at Lumen Christi, Mequon, sees the Eucharist as vital to the outcome of implementing synod priorities.
“I would like to see people better understand and have a deeper love for the Eucharist – understanding what the Mass is all about came through very, very clearly (as a synod priority),” said Hughes, who served on the synod preparatory commission.
She noted that ASIC is providing materials, e.g., videos and the #iEvangelizeMKE kit that emphasizes use of social media, for parishes to help members gain that understanding.
But Hughes is cognizant that resources vary from parish to parish, which is why it is important for parishes to work with each other and to share resources.
“The videos we’ve been producing are wonderful resources. That kind of evens the playing field. They’re well done. Everyone can see them,” she said. “But even at that, some parishes don’t have the means to show them at the weekend Masses. Is there a way we could facilitate a parish without the means and say, ‘Here’s the person and the video equipment.’ We forget that not every parish has those.”
Calling her parish “blessed,” Hughes said, “A parish like Lumen Christi has a responsibility for outreach, and our parish is very good at that. But it goes beyond financial support. It goes to actually saying, ‘Here are our resources. What do you need personnel wise?’”
Noting that she “was inspired by the collective energy of the synod itself and also by the ‘Return to the Upper Room,’” Hughes said that those kind of events are important to building the faith community.
“That coming together, whether it is taking your parish and going into the inner city, or being present at the archbishop’s Mass to pray collectively for peace – it lifts all of us up,” she said. “It leads to awareness that goes beyond who we are as an individual; it’s the strength of the Body of Christ.”