(Image courtesy Office of Evangelization)

By Katherine Long | Editor

Deacon Keith Strohm has an invitation for the Diocese of Syracuse: “If you are passionate about seeing renewal and new life your parish, come to this training.”

Deacon Strohm and the Office of Evangelization will present “Moving from Maintenance to Mission” at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Vestal Aug. 21 and at Divine Mercy Parish in Central Square Aug. 22. The daylong trainings will explore mission, evangelization, and discipleship and offer concrete takeaways to help parishes foster change. (See details below.)

A deacon in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the executive director of M3 Ministries, Deacon Strohm has almost 10 years of parish and diocesan ministry under his belt, all related to “evangelization and sharing the Gospel with others, but also training others to share the Gospel,” he told the Sun.

The first step toward change in a parish, according to Deacon Strohm, is understanding. “There’s been a lot of discussion and talk about the new evangelization and focusing on mission and intentional discipleship,” he said. “That conversation really has begun to percolate in lots of different parts of the Church and it’s beginning to filter down through our people. But nobody really seems to have a clear idea of what we mean by mission, what we mean by evangelization, what we mean by discipleship.” The trainings will explore these concepts in practical terms. The second piece of the trainings will “be to offer people some concrete steps that they can begin to take to help their parishes move in that direction,” he said.

There’s no one-size-fits-all, “silver bullet” plan for evangelization and renewal, Deacon Strohm noted. Rather, the trainings will present principles and the tools to apply those principles in individual parishes.

“My hope is that this day will give people some ways of concretely starting that journey, of being able to imagine or envision something different,” he said.

“We’re not simply trying to foster a change in activity; we want to foster a change in understanding and culture. It isn’t just about doing things differently, it’s about living as a parish differently,” he added.

The trainings stemmed from the results of a needs survey of diocesan parish Evangelization Coordinators, but they are not just for those with “evangelization” in their titles.

“Pope Paul VI said that evangelization is the church’s deepest identity,” Deacon Strohm noted. “So this is really important for us to recognize that evangelization isn’t simply what the Church does, it’s who she is, it’s her identity. Which means all of us who are part of the Church share in that mission — the mission of evangelization. So no matter what ministry you’re in, ultimately it fits into the mission of the Church.”

Moving from Maintenance to Mission
August 21: Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, 801 Main St., Vestal; 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
August 22: Divine Mercy Parish, 592 South Main St., Central Square; 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost: $20/person or $50/parish, includes lunch. Parish billing is available.

Register: Visit OurCatholicFaith.com.

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