The Lord wants to do something significant in northeast Kansas. He is opening doors throughout our area so that more people can come to know him and live in the community of his church.
As we move forward, the archdiocese is implementing an evangelization initiative entitled Prairie Fire. We have enlisted many prayer warriors to begin praying that the work of the New Evangelization — so often called for by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II — might take root here in Kansas.
In this past year, in order to fully respond to this call:
• Over 100,000 prayer cards were handed out, in Spanish and English, inviting Catholics in the archdiocese to begin praying for a New Pentecost, for a New Evangelization.
• Over 80,000 educational pamphlets were made available to parishes to help prepare Catholics to come back more often to the sacrament of reconciliation.
• Six parishes have committed teams of 12-15 people to begin the Light of the World evangelization process in their parishes. The process begins this May with leadership team retreats for these parishes.
• Four parishes and the archdiocesan department of parish ministries have committed teams of six to eight people for an extended training in evangelization called Making Disciples. These teams have agreed to formulate a plan of action for evangelization at their own parishes.
• The archdiocese has worked in collaboration with the Maryvale Institute, a leader in catechetical renewal in the church, to establish a Maryvale Center in Kansas. This is the first center in the United States. Eleven lay leaders from the archdiocese have begun study with Maryvale for a master’s degree. Another 30 people started a two-year Maryvale certificate in catechesis in January. The certificate in catechesis program has received recognition from the Congregation for Clergy in the Vatican.
• The most significant drop in church participation occurs from time a young person enters college until the time he or she graduates: 75 to 30 percent. To respond to this alarming trend, the office of evangelization and catechesis has worked with Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) to begin outreach to college students by college students. Over 20 young people participate in SPO households at Benedictine College in Atchison. These young people have begun forming relationships with people at Washburn and the University of Kansas in hopes of establishing households for evangelization at those schools also. SPO will be hosting a Fan Into Flame Retreat for students from those three schools this February at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg.
• Nearly 400 people attended the Called and Gifted workshop designed to help lay Catholics discern their spiritual gifts in January. The conference was co-hosted by the archdiocesan office of evangelization and catechesis along with the Bishop Helmsing Institute in Kansas City, Mo.
• We continue to try to meet the growing demand for resources and to respond more wholeheartedly to the Lord’s commission: “Go, and make disciples.”