Column: Small faith communities touch Hispanic faithful

by Father Pat Murphy 

In my last column I promised that in the near future I would be sharing with our readers what has been going on in Hispanic ministry to promote evangelization among the Spanish-speaking.

I am happy to announce that things are going well as people’s lives are being changed one by one through a step-by-step process of evangelization. The process we have been using since February 2006 is called SINE, which stands for Systematic Integral New Evangelization. I believe SINE is a life-changing experience for both the individual as well as for the local parish.

For example, three years ago, I went to give a short four-week course at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Topeka and less than 15 people attended. This past week we started another four-week course and over 50 people showed up.

What happened? At Guadalupe, we now have over 60 people living in evangelization communities that meet for prayer, catechesis and faith sharing on a weekly basis. The majority of these people were present at last week’s formation program, and that leads me to believe people have been evangelized and they are now on fire to know the Lord.

Here is our step-by-step evangelization recipe for changing people’s lives:

1) Weekend Evangelization Retreat — this offers people a real encounter with Jesus.

2) Discipleship course — a seven-session course on learning what it means to follow Jesus.

3) Discipleship retreat — a one-day retreat that invites people to commit to the Lord.

4) Formation of communities — people are invited to live in communities of 10-12 which meet weekly for prayer and faith sharing.

5) Formation — we offer monthly formation sessions in the different sectors of our archdiocese.

6) Community gatherings — every three months we gather all community members for fellowship at one of the parishes.

7) Mission — once a year we send the community members to do door-to-door visits in one of the sectors.

8) Pastoral visits — members are also encouraged to do personal visits with family and friends.

9) Retreat preparation — we do three to four retreats a year, so people are being trained in each sector to organize the next retreat.

10) Youth retreats — we will soon offer our second retreat for youth, which is organized by a team of young people.

We currently have 18 small evangelization communities in the three sectors (Wyandotte County, Johnson County and Topeka), and so the number of people gathering together on a weekly basis for community life is now approaching about 200. In conclusion, I believe our evangelization process is working here in the archdiocese and people’s lives are truly being touched.

Father Pat Murphy is the archdiocesan animator for the office of Hispanic ministry.

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