(Fr. David Ousley of Philadelphia writes …)
One of our biggest challenges at St Michael’s has been how to get the word out effectively to those who need the blessings of full communion with the Catholic Church. The same challenge now faces the Newman Community, since it has come into full communion. This is one of the things necessary for our growth, and with limited resources, it is not always clear how best to proceed. To help us with this, we have arranged for a visit from Fr Eric Bergman, the Pastor of the Ordinariate parish in Scranton, St Thomas More.
Fr Bergman will be visiting both St Michael’s and Newman on Sunday, January 11th. He will preach, and then meet with the congregations after Mass. The plan is for him to share with us their saga of coming into the Catholic Church as an Anglican Use congregation several years before the Ordinariate was erected. He can tell us what worked for them in church growth, and what didn’t. While not everything may transfer to our situations, I think it will still be useful to hear their experience. This is also something that Fr Bergman has thought a lot about, and his reflections will be of value to us. I hope all our members will make every effort to be present.
In preparation for his visit, I asked everyone to complete a brief survey, ranking some of the important foundational elements of evangelization. I hope this will get us thinking about where our priorities lie for church growth (which is not identical to evangelization, but closely related). I am tabulating the results and will share them with each congregation. After Fr Bergman’s visit, we will discuss the priorities in the light of his comments. I’m planning congregational discussions in both parishes on January 18th, the Sunday after he is with us. Our aim is to reach a consensus on where we should put our energies first, in pursuing the particular evangelization which God has given us.