Archdiocese Local Special Issue - Convocation

‘The one for me’

Merlyn Mahoney is a parishioner at St Aloysius Parish in Meriden. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Merlyn Mahoney

Age: 78

Parish: St Aloysius Parish, Meriden

Occupation: Retired 

What’s in your toolkit? Knowledge of Catholic faith and evangelization honed in 25 years’ experience serving in his parish RCIA program

What is your Catholic superpower? My strength of leading RCIA for 25 years — so that’s being a role model, a witness to my faith to people who are not Catholic.

Before the convocation

Merlyn Mahoney claims his pastor, Father James Moster, OFM Cap., invited him to be part of the parish convocation team because “I’m retired and I have time to do it.”

But in reality, the reason goes much deeper.

A cradle Catholic, Mahoney has had 78 years to learn, question and grow in his faith.

“Like we all did when we were in our 20s, I evaluated a lot of other faiths,” he said. “I decided the one for me is the Catholic faith, and I put my life effort into it.”

Mahoney stared teaching religious education in the CCD program when his five children were young. After that, he became involved in his parish RCIA program and has been active helping non-Catholics learn about the faith ever since.

“So Father Jim and I have a pretty good working relationship,” he said.

Mahoney is also well-known in his community.

“I’m pretty friendly with all the local ministers of the other churches here in town,” he said. “And so, I think I have a little touch of ecumenism in what I do here in the community.”

To that end, Mahoney and his team hope, as part of the convocation, parishes can learn to be more welcoming in reaching out beyond the immediate Catholic communities.

Among a long list of challenges, his team also has as a top priority addressing the needs of Catholic youth.

Mahoney hopes the convocation will be the beginning of change and growth with ongoing support for decisions made.

“I want to return with guidance as to how we can involve [parishioners] in evangelization,” he said. “And enflame everyone’s hearts to be more active — not just be Sunday worshipers.”

After the convocation

What are the top things you’d like to see done at your parish in regard to evangelization?

The top evangelization I’d like to see done at my parish is to work with and inspire our youth.

About the author

Jill Esfeld

Jill Ragar Esfeld received a degree in Writing from Missouri State University and started her profession as a magazine feature writer, but quickly transitioned to technical/instructional writing where she had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. She returned to feature writing when she began freelancing for The Leaven in 2004. Her articles have won several awards from the Catholic Press Association. Jill grew up in Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri; and has been a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas, for 35 years.

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