April 26, 2024

Nationally known author to discuss evangelization at Greenwood parish

By Sean Gallagher

Every baptized person has a call to participate in the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel to all nations.

How that mission is accomplished can be mysterious to many Catholics because it can vary greatly, depending on the particular circumstances of life of each of the baptized.

Julianne Stanz, a nationally known Catholic author and speaker on evangelization, will be in the archdiocese at Our Lady of the Greenwood, 335 S. Meridian St., in Greenwood on May 20 and 21 to help people better understand how they can share the Gospel in their daily lives. The presentations are sponsored by the archdiocesan Department of Parish Leadership.

A native of Ireland, Stanz is the director of outreach for evangelization and discipleship for the Chicago-based Loyola Press. She also serves as a consultant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Institute on the Catechism and the National Eucharistic Revival.

Her presentation on May 20, “Our Universal Call to Mission,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. and conclude at 9 p.m. It is geared for all Catholics in the archdiocese.

“When you look at who Jesus was, who he is today and what he’s asking us to do, you realize that he chose ordinary people to do extraordinary things,” Stanz said in an interview with The Criterion. “And I think our parishes, our schools, our places of ministry are places where ordinary people are doing extraordinary things. I want people to understand and know and feel that this is part of what God wants for them, which is to step up and share their faith.”

Ken Ogorek, executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Evangelizing Catechesis, is looking forward to Stanz’s visit to the archdiocese to help Catholics learn how to share the Gospel.

“Julianne is a proven leader in helping Catholics—as individuals and parishes—get comfortable with the word ‘evangelization,’ ” he said. “Beyond that, she helps folks grow as disciples and disciple-makers.

“If you’re unsure about what it means to say ‘Catholics should evangelize,’ or if you’re clear on that and just want some practical tips for how to share the faith more effectively, it’s worth the drive to Greenwood to hear Julianne in person.”

Stanz noted that the session on May 20 will be more than just a time to share information about evangelization.

“Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ means that we need to be transformed,” she said. “Information is important, but an experience of being transformed by his love is more important. So, we’re going to pray at this event together. There’s going to

be an element that’s going to be very retreat-like with the stories and some of the prayer experiences that we will do together.”

Stanz’s presentation on May 21, “Reimaging a parish culture for evangelization,” will be directed more to pastor staff members and volunteers. It starts at 10 a.m. and will conclude by 1:30 p.m.

Ogorek said that following Jesus’ call to all of the baptized to be disciples and to make disciples of others “can sound intimidating.” But he noted that the event on May 20 and the encouragement and advice given by Stanz “can calm our nerves about evangelizing, helping us start to wade in that pool of missionary discipleship.

“Those who attend will not be disappointed and might soon find themselves to be strong swimmers in the stream of great evangelizers,” Ogorek added.

Stanz’s visit to the archdiocese will take place about two months before the National Eucharistic Congress will occur in Indianapolis, at which Stanz will be a speaker.

Having tens of thousands of Catholics coming to the archdiocese for the congress, Stanz said, “heightens the intensity of the outreach that all of the parishes are doing together. It heightens the sense of connectedness that you all have in welcoming us in as pilgrims on this journey.

“Indianapolis has been put in a special spotlight,” Stanz added. “And that tells me that God is moving there in a very special way. And I’m excited to see what that might look like.”

“The Eucharistic Revival and Congress, ultimately, are outward-focused,” Ogorek said. “Both have the purpose of equipping us to reach our friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers with the Gospel. Julianne’s ability to share how the Eucharist empowers us for ministry—including evangelization—makes the timing of this visit excellent.”

(Both presentations by Julianne Stanz on May 20 and 21 are free but require advance registration. Register for the May 20 presentation at tinyurl.com/StanzMission. Parish staff members and volunteers can register for the May 21 presentation at tinyurl.com/StanzParish.)

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