August 24, 2018

Sept. 8 evangelization event to highlight listening to God

By Natalie Hoefer

The archdiocesan Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization’s annual “Gathering of Disciples” day of reflection will take place at Roncalli High School, 3300 Prague Road, in Indianapolis, from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. on Sept. 8. The event is open to catechists, parish evangelization team members, liturgical ministers and all who are interested in evangelization. Tracks will be available in English and in Spanish.

This year’s theme is, “God is Calling—How Do We Listen?” The keynote speaker will be Damon Owens, founder of JoyToB and the first executive director of the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia.

“Damon is well-known for his ability to make the [Catholic] faith accessible for ordinary, lay Catholics—helping bridge the gap between faith and everyday life,” says Ken Ogorek, director of the archdiocesan Office of Catechesis.

He says the goal of the event is “to encourage and equip folks who serve in our parishes, helping to draw folks closer to Jesus through various ministries.”

But Ogorek also notes the event is not limited to those who serve in an official capacity in a parish or on a parish team.

“We’re defining catechist and related ministries broadly in that all Catholics are called to share and celebrate our beautiful faith,” he says. “So anyone interested in teaching, sharing and celebrating the Catholic faith—especially catechists and parents as primary educators of their children—will be enriched by this day.”

In addition to the keynote address by Owens, the day will feature five breakout sessions in English, and five in Spanish.

The five English sessions will be:

  • “Theology of the Body for Everyday Life” by Damon Owens.
  • “Discernment: Teaching the Art of Listening to God’s Voice” by Father Eric Augenstein, archdiocesan director of vocations.
  • “Lesson Planning 101: The Ecclesial Method” by Theresa Inoue, an intern for the archdiocese through the University of Notre Dame’s Echo program.
  • “You Can Do This: Being a Disciple‑Maker Within Your Parish” by Matt Faley, archdiocesan director of young adult and college campus ministry.
  • “Spirituality for Liturgical Ministers” by Father Patrick Beidelman, executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization.

The five breakout sessions in Spanish are:

  • “Supporting All to Respond to God’s Call: Sacraments and Persons With Disabilities” by Esther Garcia, National Catholic Partnership on Disability.
  • “Great Gospel Passages for Evangelizing Conversations” by Father Nicolas Ajpacaja Tzoc, associate pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis.
  • “Discernment: Listening to God in Everyday Life” by Erick Carrero, certified lay spiritual director.
  • “Lesson Planning 101: The Ecclesial Method” by Emily McFadden, parish catechetical leader for St. Anthony Parish in Indianapolis.
  • “Oremos: An Introduction to the Roman Missal in Spanish” by Oscar Castellanos, director of the archdiocesan Office of Intercultural Ministry.

To highlight a few of the talks, The Criterion reached out to three speakers about their sessions.

Father Augenstein’s talk on discernment closely follows the day’s theme of listening.

“We will be discussing the topic of discernment in general and discernment of vocations in particular ... ,” he explains. “Specifically, we will be discussing how to teach the art of discernment to young people, so they can build a solid foundational relationship with God throughout their lives, so that the tools and skills are in place to help them discern a lifelong vocation when that time comes.”

Castellanos’ talk addresses the new Roman Missal in Spanish released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 1. In his session, he hopes to “reflect on the importance that this step has made to the Hispanic-Latino Catholics in the U.S.”

Faley hopes his session about being a disciple-maker will leave participants “inspired to fulfill the call the Lord has put in our lives.”

“So often in my own life discipleship can become a good intention,” he says. “I know what the Lord teaches, but often do not know how to make it a focal point of my life. ... I have come to find discipleship, while not easy, is simple. Jesus offers us a way to live this life in communion with him and the mission of the Gospel exactly where we are in our lives.”

Faley will also lead all participants in prayer and worship to close the event.

Ogorek hopes that after the event, all participants feel “renewed enthusiasm for their disciple relationship with Jesus, lived in full communion with his Body, the Church.”

He also expects them to gain knowledge regarding sacred Scripture and sacred tradition, and practical tips for sharing the Catholic faith. To assist with this, exhibitors will be on hand to offer materials useful for teaching, sharing and celebrating the faith.

“You can’t give what you don’t have,” Ogorek says. “Folks who serve in our parishes deserve a day that will replenish them for their ministries throughout the program year.

“While online and independent study has a role to play in equipping us for ministry, there’s nothing quite like personally participating in an excellent Gathering of Disciples.”

Roncalli is located at 3330 Prague Road in Indianapolis.

The cost is $25 per person assessed to parishes in the Indianapolis deaneries, and $20 per person assessed to parishes in other deaneries.

Registrations received by Sept. 1 will guarantee lunch; walk-ins are welcome.

The registration link, along with a complete list of breakout session topics and information on Spanish translation options can be found at (case sensitive).

For additional information, contact Rose Ruiz at 317-236-1550, 800-382-9836, ext. 1550, or e-mail

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