Archdiocese Local

Outfitting new evangelists with tools for the mission

From left, Pilar Herrero, Lupita Villalobos, Genaro Sanchez, Sister Monica Bernadette Aguello, SCTJM, and Armando Diaz talk about practical resources for sharing the Gospel at work and in their own lives during the March 7 Day of Equipping at St. Pius X Parish in Mission, which was conducted in Spanish. There was also an English Day of Equipping held March 19 at Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa. The Days of Equipping were sponsored by the archdiocesan office of evangelization. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — July will be here before you know it. Are you equipped for the mission?

This summer will usher in the final phase of the U.S. bishops’ three-year program for National Eucharistic Revival: The Year of Going Out on Mission from July 21, 2024, to Pentecost 2025.

On March 7 and 19, members of several archdiocesan parishes got ready for phase three by attending ArchKCK Days of Equipping. The session on March 7 at St. Pius X Parish in Mission was conducted in Spanish, and the second on March 19 at Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa was conducted in English.

The Days of Equipping were sponsored by the archdiocesan office of evangelization.

Deacon Dana Nearmyer, archdiocesan director of evangelization, was pleased with the turnout. The Spanish session had 25 in-person attendees and 23 online, with an additional 700 who later accessed a video recording of the event. The English session had 65 in-person attendees.

“People were thrilled at both of the sessions,” said Deacon Nearmyer. “People are excited [about going out on mission] and feel it’s important to evangelize, but they’re frightened of it and they also feel unequipped.

“We broke it down into tiny, little things people can do in their regular, everyday lives that are pretty non-intimidating to be evangelizers, and we walked through some of the science, too. People really appreciated that. The hope is they can go and lead these equipping sessions in their own parishes. . . . We trained the trainers.”

The ArchKCK Day of Equipping for Spanish-speakers was held on March 7 at St. Pius X Parish in Mission. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

The Days of Equipping covered practical resources for sharing the Gospel at work in their own lives, celebrating the good work that has already been accomplished, planning for the Year of Going Out on Mission, how to offer one’s testimony and how to live one’s witness of faith.

“Equipping is really about increasing the confidence in people who already have the grace and ability to do this as baptized Catholics,” said Emily Lopez, archdiocesan director of adult evangelization.

“It helped remind them it’s more about being in relationship with people and earning the trust to have conversations that require vulnerability and intimacy,” she added. “It’s not just knowing facts about faith but really being willing to give time and going into the messiness of people’s lives to speak Jesus into the struggles they’re dealing with.”

Karla Melgar, archdiocesan consultant for evangelization, speaks to those gathered at the Spanish session of the ArchKCK Day of Equipping. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

During the Spanish session, one presentation was offered by “experts” in what it means to go out on mission.

“We invited [the Sisters the Poor of Jesus Christ] to give us a presentation about what does it mean to be on mission and what is mission, and I presented the context about why we are doing this,” said Karla Melgar, archdiocesan consultant for evangelization.

“It’s living the mission every day in your life in the different aspects that we are moving in the different areas we move,” she continued. “How do you identify your own mission and how you are called to live the mission in those areas, but also the importance of the testimony of your life — how you are the Gospel living .  . . and people are attracted because of the way you live.”

A lot of what was presented during the two sessions tied into concepts the office of evangelization had been promoting for the past three or four years: living a life of prayer, caring about others and sharing the faith — that’s mission.

Sisters Poor of Jesus Christ grab lunch during the Spanish session of the ArchKCK Day of Equipping. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Catholics on mission must learn how to have conversations with meaningful questions and having the faith and patience to let the Holy Spirit speak through us.

“We are not responsible for converting anyone, but we can muck it up if we show up with our own agenda,” said Lopez.

Authentic relationships are time-consuming and intensive, and you have to invest in others, but it is the only way faith is transmitted.

“You don’t have to be a super-evangelist, but you can be a real friend,” said Lopez. “Everyone needs real friends. . . . It’s within relationships and spiritual friendships where people grow.”

For information about current and upcoming events and resources from the archdiocesan office of evangelization, go online to:

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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